Code of Men Chapter 2
(Sunnydale High School)
Giles was enjoying himself, as he continued his research on things he had always wanted to check out, but never seemed to have the time for now that he was a Watcher to an active Slayer. He took a nice mouthful of tea, enjoying the sweet taste before settling back in his chair.
Of course he should have known better than to relax on the Hellmouth or think for one minute some crisis would not reveal itself. He almost jumped out of his skin as a red headed girl ran into the library.
Whilst this should not have sacred him at all, the fact that she walked right through the wall as if it did not even exist, was enough to make him nervous.
When he actually recognized the girl he really began to feel that the group as a whole was cursed. He ran a hand down his face before he downed the rest of his tea, as he considered maybe looking for a more relaxing job, considering the constant up and downs of this one, he might just go insane he thought.
"Giles," Willow shouted, as she finally got over the fact she had just walked through a wall. It was a very creepy feeling. "You got to help, something has gone very wrong tonight," she added.
"Willow you just walked through a wall," Giles found himself unable to reply with anything more, causing the red head to huff and angrily crossing her arms over her chest.
"Well I am a ghost, Giles," Willow responded. "Somehow everyone has been turned into their costumes and I mean everyone. There are now monsters running loose as well as soldiers, pirates and demons," she explained. "Buffy is of no help, as she went as 18th century noble woman and does nothing but scream in fear," she added desperately.
"I see and the others?" Giles inquired, as his mind finally began working on the problem, as it sounded bad, especially if Buffy had been affected.
"Xander is some kind of soldier. I'm not sure about what Cordelia went as, but for some reason the two seem drawn to each other, like they know one another," she answered, noticing Giles' raised eyebrow she elaborated. "I caught them making out like nothing else mattered," she added, feeling the same anger she had felt originally at seeing the scene surface.
"Possible I guess however it does not explain why this has happened, does it?" Giles said removing his glasses and polishing them, sensing the anger from the red head at this turn of events.
He was not blind to the dating dynamics of the group, as much as he wished he was. Buffy and Angel were bad enough, as it was against the Council's orders, but no matter how hard he tried to explain this to his charge, she ignored it. Then there was Willow's long standing crush on Xander, who in turn seemed quite oblivious to it and had focused on Buffy until recently.
He had noted Xander was beginning to lose all interest in Buffy in that way.
Properly for the best really he thought, as he doubted Buffy would notice anyone but Angel for some time. Oh well back to the problem at hand.
His charge had been altered by what he suspect was magic, as had nearly everyone else so what they needed, was the cause.
"Tell me Willow, where did you get your costumes? Did you get them all at the same place?" he questioned the red head, breaking whatever train of thought she had.
"Er..we had too, as Party Town is closed for renovations, which basically forced everyone to go to the new place," Willow replied. "It was called Ethan's," she added.
Giles eyes darkened as the name was given. It was a name that brought back a lot of memories and most of them were ones he would truly like to forget.
What was his old friend doing here, if it was him? He wondered. Old anger welled up inside him and he turned and shrugged his tweed jacket off. "Tell me where this shop is Willow and then locate the others and help them as best you can," he ordered.
Willow did not like the tone of Giles voice, but quickly did as he asked, before she turned and ran back out through the wall, this time ignoring the creepy feeling she got. She failed to notice Giles role his sleeves up and rub a tattoo on the inside of his left arm with a cold look in his eyes, before he also headed out of the library.
Nick had to hand it to whatever the hell he was fighting, it knew how to defend itself. The combat was intense and fast and he had to use every bit of skill he had to stay ahead of the thing he was fighting.
He lashed out again with his leg, managing to nail the thing in the chest and caused it to double over which allowed him to send his fist into the back of its neck, knocking it to the ground. Before he could strike again, it rolled over and jumped back to its feet and struck him across the face, sending him backwards rubbing his jaw.
"Xander, will you cut this out?" Angel growled. Annoyed that he actually had to work hard to fight the young boy, he had begun to dislike.
He had not meant to ram into him, but he had been running so fast to find Buffy he had not been able to stop himself. He had turned to check if Buffy was alright, as she was acting very oddly and to his surprise Xander had attacked him. From there a rather heavy fight had developed and so far he had not managed to subdue the boy, which should have been easy, clearly whatever was going on had affected the group as well.
Nick did not bother to respond to the creature, as he doubted it was a friend, from what he had seen tonight the monsters were all threats and this one had attacked him and the one called Buffy, so he was determined to kill it. He again struck, lashing out with left and rights forcing the monster back before twisting around and nailing it with a back kick. He smiled as he gained the upper hand.
"Welcome to Hell," he couldn't help saying, remembering saying it to Keefer as he picked up something the creature had dropped from its pocket.
He looked it over and noted it was a stake which was a weird weapon to be carrying around, but he decided it would do for finishing off this thing, failing to notice the red head come running toward him her eyes wide as she saw what was happening, but knowing she would not make it in time. In her panic it did not occur to her to shout.
"Nick," he looked over to where Loki was standing, holding his assault rifle and dropping his stake he reached out and grabbed it from the air as she threw it to him.
Turning around he quickly unloaded a couple of rounds into the monster, hitting it repeatedly in the face. He was annoyed to see it fall to the ground, but it was not dead and considering he had scored a head shot well that was disturbing. As he went to fire again the red head ran right through his body and came to a halt in front of him.
"Stop it right now," Willow screamed, pleased to see Angel had not been killed as she first thought. That would have been very bad, especially once Buffy found out she knew. "He's a friend," she added, at the disbelieving look Nick sent her.
"Are you out of your mind lady?" Nick demanded to know. "That thing is a monster," he added.
Angel groaned, as he began to heal from the bullet wounds, wishing they would not sting so much. He was at least thankful that with Willow here he would not have to deal with whoever Xander currently was, it was now clear to him he was not the same person he had grown to dislike.
"He is not like the others alright? He has a soul," Willow argued. "He has been helping us since we got involved in this mess," she explained.
"A soul does not make one good lady, not in my opinion," Nick grunted. "I've seen plenty of human monsters, all with souls, butcher people just for the hell of it," he informed her, noting how that caused the red head to pale. "What makes him so different?" he asked getting in her face.
Willow did not like the way Nick spoke and she desperately hoped when this was all over Xander would not remember a thing about it, like with the hyena possession last year. She quickly thought over everything she knew about Angel before responding
"He has helped save lives since we met him, ok? He has saved Buffy's life and mine, Xander fought side by side with him. He's a good guy no matter what he is," she argued, twisting things a little, as she knew Xander had only reluctantly fought alongside Angel to protect Buffy during her fight with the master.
Loki listened, as the argument went on, before she made a choice. She moved over and laid a calming hand on Nick who slowly looked at her. She gave him a small nod of her head, before conveying they should move on. She was unsure about actually trusting the monster, but the red head seemed convinced he was going to be helpful.
"Fine," Nick said finally. "He lives. Now did you find the help you went looking for?" he asked, before shooting another monster as it got close to Buffy who screamed and ran behind him, making him roll his eyes.
"Yes, Giles is looking into the shop where we all bought out costumes. He'll stop whatever this is and then you should go home," Willow said brightly.
She really could not wait until these spirits were gone, as the levels or trust and intimacy Nick and Loki were showing was getting more disturbing to her, especially as it was Xander and Cordelia's bodies they were using. She was just going to turn to lead them to the school, when she noted who was coming towards them. Angel cursed as he also noted Spike's presence.
"Run," she shouted and took off and thankfully everyone else complied as well.
(Ethan's costume shop)
Giles entered the shop, careful to ensure he would be quiet. The shop was dark, but he could still see clearly. He quickly began to look around, before coming to the back room and noting the bust of Janus on a pedestal. He felt a chill as the magic that swirled around it brushed past him.
"Janus, two headed god of chaos, doors and changes," he stated to himself before he registered another presence behind him.
He turned to find that it was indeed Ethan, his old friend, standing behind him with a wide grin on his face. "Indeed, hello Ripper," Ethan said, his grin deepening.
"Ethan," Giles responded coldly. "This idiocy reeks of your work. I should have known," he stated, moving forward a little.
"Yes you should have old friend," Ethan responded enjoying himself.
"Break the spell," Giles commanded. He was in no mood for games. "Your spell has endangered my charge and a lot of other people out there," he went on. "End it now," he ordered, glaring at Ethan.
"Why should I?" Ethan asked cockily. "Chaos is what I live for and this is pure chaos," he added.
Giles did not respond and quickly moved forward and rammed his fist into Ethan's gut. It knocked the wind right out of him and made him fall to his knees. Ethan grunted at the pain he felt, but was determined to draw this out a little.
Nick was not a happy person, as he watched the blond bleached vampire taunt them and hyped himself up. They had finally been corned by the blond and his followers in this ally and he had run out of ammo for his assault rifle. They were trapped, but not finished yet. He was just waiting for an opportunity to strike and it seemed so was Angel.
Finally the blond got a little to close and he struck, making sure to also nail the monster that had a hold on Loki. Quickly a fight broke out, but even he knew it was a losing effort.
(Ethan's Costume Shop)
Giles stood over Ethan and looked coldly down at him, as he waited for him to reply to his command to tell him how to stop the madness he had caused. He was getting a little frustrated with Ethan's refusal to give in.
"I guess you are not as reformed, as you liked to think Ripper," Ethan taunted his old friend, knowing he was getting to him.
Another kick to his guts quickly shut him up and he tried to protect himself better, but he knew there was no point, another kick and he coughed and rolled over trying to hold out just a little longer.
"I won't ask again Ethan. Tell me how to break the spell now or I will make you truly suffer," Giles warned him.
Ethan shivered as Ripper's voice finally became deadly and he knew that his friend had finally reached the point where things would get bloody. It brought back very bad memories and he quickly sighed and gave it.
"Ok you win," he said. "The bust of Janus, just smash it," he explained, getting ready to make a run for it.
Giles stared down at him for a few seconds before he turned around and headed for the bust. He picked it up and counted to three, and then he threw it down on the ground, smashing it with ease. The backlash of magic he felt, quickly confirmed the spell was breaking.
Turning back to where Ethan was he growled, as he noted that his ‘friend' had legged it. He knew he would be back, but for now it was over and luckily the others did not know about his past, so that was something at least.
Buffy shook her head as it felt like she was waking up from a very bad dream. She quickly noted Xander and Angel fighting two vampires, as well as a bunch of crying kids. Finally the fact she was in Spike's clutches hit her, as he pulled the black wig off, she had been wearing. Noting his confused expression, as well as his lack of attention she quickly nailed him in the face, knocking him away.
"I'm back," she said with a smile, as she quickly went to help Angel and Xander, who surprisingly was holding his own.
Spike growled, as he realized he had missed his chance and quickly fled out of the alley, vowing he would get his revenge and he would finally bag his third slayer. He hated how luck seemed to always help the white hats so damn much.
Cordelia watched as Buffy helped dust the remaining vampires, who had not noticed their leader running away, before contemplating what had happened. Strangely enough she remembered everything about the person she had become. Loki was a native of a very beautiful island who had seen many come to try to possess it, then Nick Gunar had come with his men and at first she had been so sure they would destroy everything she held dear.
Instead Nick and some of his men had helped them defend their island and way of life against his comrades and former commander. It had cost many lives, but in the end they had won. She had truly seen the world weary soul inside Nick who like her father had grown tired of killing and just wanted to rest, hence Nick's choice to remain on the island. They had married soon after and a few months later Loki had become pregnant with her second child, having already had one by her dead husband.
The strange thing was she truly no longer felt like herself. Loki's beliefs and outlook on life seemed to have stayed with her, giving her a new way of looking at the world. She noted Xander staring at her and when she took a few steps closer she was not surprised to see the same weary look Nick had had once in his eyes, which told her the changes had also affected Xander.
"Cordelia, can you and Xander take these kids back?" Buffy's voice broke her out of her revive
"Yeah sure," she replied, before gathering up the upset children along with Xander and finally got them heading back to the school.
Xander was quite as they walked back to the school, as he tried to overcome the changes he felt he had undergone from becoming Nick Gunar, but the weary feelings refused to leave. His outlook on the fight was very different being colored by what Nick had lived through and been forced to do in his life. He didn't know if he would continue on as he had done before.
He noted Willow running up to them, he tried to act normal, but doubted he was successful.
(Ethan's hideout three days later)
Ethan was lying on his couch, thinking about his next encounter with Ripper. He wanted to go back and get a little revenge for the beating he had gotten and he was already making plans.
He suddenly felt a cold feeling envelope him and he jumped to his feet, as a glowing figure appeared before him looking very pissed off.
"Can I help you?" he managed to ask, as calmly as he could.
"Ethan Rayne you have interfered with our plans and now must be punished for your crime," the being responded, startling him. "Your actions on the Hellmouth have had unforeseen consequences and it has caused us much trouble," the being added. "Your punishment will begin the minute I leave," he added.
"What punishment?" Ethan asked, beginning to realize he was in deep shit.
"You will find out," the being responded before it vanished.
Ethan stared at the space for a few seconds before he doubled over in pain unlike any he had felt before. He curled into a ball and screamed as images began to pour into his mind. Things that made him want to rip his own eyes out. He would continue to scream for some time, and at this time everyday he would suffer this punishment again and again.
(Sunnydale High School)
Buffy and Willow charged into the library almost in a panic, as they could not find Xander anywhere. A check at his house had shown no clues and now Cordelia also seemed to be missing. If what her friends had been discussing was any clue.
"Giles have you seen Xander or Cordelia?" Buffy demanded, hoping nothing had happened to either.
"I'm afraid both are gone Buffy. They've left Sunnydale," Giles responded, deciding to get it out of the way, knowing neither girl would like this news.
"They left a letter detailing why they are doing this. I am sure you've both noted the changed personalities of the two since Halloween?" he inquired of the two now pale girls.
"Yeah, Xander has been very bleak on his outlook of the fight. He refused to patrol, although I am kinda glad as that means he won't be at risk anymore," Buffy finally responded.
"It seems Halloween changed them both more than we could imagine. Xander stopped patrolling because the man he became, Nick Gunar, was a veteran of many missions and even a war or two. He was Special Forces and a mercenary at the end," Giles explained. "Nick, it seems became weary of his lifestyle and was looking for a place to retire and escape the darkness of our world. He found it during his last mission and this all was transferred to Xander during Halloween and I'm afraid it changed him," he added.
"What about Cordelia?" Willow asked, trying desperately to stop herself bursting out crying.
"She became Loki, a native of the island Nick was sent to on his last mission. A vastly different woman to Cordelia and yet as with Xander her personality and way of life seemed to be transferred to her, changing her greatly," Giles answered. "I do not know why those two were affected like this, when everyone else seems to be easily forgetting their experiences, but the damage has been done," he sighed. "They have gone to live on the island, away from the darkness of our world permanently. They will not be back," he stated sadly.
Buffy and Willow stared at him for a few minutes before bursting into tears and fleeing the library. Giles sighed and removed his glasses and rubbed his suddenly tired eyes. He got up and headed into his office and poured himself a glass. Wishing Xander and Cordelia luck with the peace they sought.
(Island, a month later)
Xander sat on the beach as he usually did at this time of day and stared out across the blue sea with a smile on his face. Here he did not feel the burden of his past, even if it was not truly his past and he also did not have to fear vampires or demons on this island. They had true peace.
He sighed as Cordelia joined him and snuggled into his side. He wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer. Their relationship had quickly changed since that fateful Halloween and now they were a couple. It seemed the imprint of Nick and Loki had brought their burgeoning feelings for one another to the surface and intensified them, not that either minded really.
They had arrived on the island with very little, having used only Cordelia's money to get where they needed to go and then hire a boat to bring them here. They were not surprised to find Nick, Loki and Po, Loki's brother, waiting to greet them. It had been a very strange meeting and yet it was almost as if they had known each other for a life time. Po had found the whole thing amusing and thought it would make a great story.
Looking up they noted Nick and Loki of in the distance, also holding each other and wondered how their live might be, had Halloween happened differently, before discarding the thought. This was their life now and they loved it. Exchanging a deep passionate kiss they watched as the sun set and as was normal now felt no fear of the dark.
The Powers were forced to alter their plans to ensure things did not become unbalanced and so tapped new people to join their chosen pawns and take on the roles of the future seer and the one who sees. They made sure Ethan never forgot his mistake, as his punishment continued for the rest of his life.
They had been planning to force Xander and Cordelia back to Sunnydale, but god and the voice had appeared and commanded them to leave the two alone.
The voice had looked very pleased, as he told them to stick their ideas up their behinds and forget them.
God had simply smiled at them, but each of them could tell she was deadly serious and so they had left the two alone.
Xander and Cordelia would go on to marry and have three children, a boy and two girls, whilst Nick and Loki would have a boy and girl. They all became a family by choice if not by blood. The island remained separate as if protected by something. No one else came to the island with bad intentions.
Author's notes: Yes I changed the ending a lot, but I really wanted to do something different for this Halloween story and I like it very much, thoughts and ideas would be welcome.
Additional Disclaimer: The Voice and this version of god are out of DOGMA and of course don't belong to me. They belong to their creator and who did he an awesome work with that movie.