Disclaimer: I don't own BTVS, that’s Joss' baby. And I hope to god
called child services on his ass. All I own is this story, and I have
money so suing would be...a useless idea.
That Old Black Magic
Ethan's Costume shop, 1998
"Please don't touch that."
Ethan said, his voice becoming stoic. When he'd decided to curse the kids of Sunnydale he obviously hadn't really thought it through. Because to do that, to sale the cursed costumes, he'd have to talk to the little buggers.
And they were grating on his last nerve. Like the kid in front of him right now. He was 17 years old and bouncing around like a 5 year old on a sugar high. And he just wouldn't shut up with his Star Trek comments.
On and on he went about that show, and if he didn't shut his mouth soon Ethan was going to turn the boy into a frog, then cut his legs off and have himself lunch.
"I mean Mister Spock is so much cooler then The Captain. With his pointed ears and rugged good looks." The chaos mage did his best to ignore the boy as he prattled on and on.
After a half hour with this child in his store talking, and NOT buying anything Ethan was ready to murder the little bastard. "Enough, here take this costume and get bint!"
The English man threw a storm trooper costume at the kid and pushed him out of store.
He ignored the kids pleas, "Hey, this isn't Star Trek this is Star Wars!"With a surge of strength the mage threw the kid and slammed the door behind him.
Outside Andrew could only whine about his costume, not that there was anyone there to hear him. And threaten to send evil flying monkeys to attack his store.
Later that day, the whole scooby gang was at Ethan's to buy their costumes. Buffy and Willow were too busy looking at an 18th century dress to worry about what Xander was getting; he had been planning to go as a soldier but had changed his mind at the last moment. Not that he knew what he wanted to go as now.
His dear parents hadn't really given him enough money to buy anything really great, nothing like what the slayer was getting.
"All for dead boy." He muttered bitterly to himself. That still pissed him off, the fact that Buffy was drooling all over a 250-year-old corpse but still refused to give him the time of day.
She was a slayer for Christ's sake. Wasn't it her job to stake the vampires, not the other way around? He tried to shrug off the negative thoughts about one of his few friends, but it was difficult. Even more so because of earlier today.
Didn't she know it made him look like a total and utter loser when she'd fight his battles? It wasn't like he couldn't have put up a good fight against Larry.
But no, she had to ride in and make him look like he was hiding behind her skirt. "Find anything special?" A voice from behind him called, causing him to jump straight into the air.
"Dude! Don't do that in this town, its just.....tacky." The dark haired teen grumbled trying to get his heart to slow down to normal speeds.
The man only seemed to smirk more, "So sorry." He didn't sound sorry at all.
"So do you need help? You've been staring off into space for almost ten minutes." Ethan complained.
The sooner all these kids where out of his store, the sooner he could curse the little bastards then get to watch the chaos that his spell would ensue.
Xander shook himself out of his own musing. He hadn't known he'd been brooding over it that long. "No, sorry. I'm just looking around." Turning towards the tweed suit in front of him.
"Well, you don't really want to go as a librarian, now do you?" The mage groaned inwardly at the thought. ‘Ya, that'd be real chaotic, a mad librarian on the loose. Ladies lock up your daughters.’
Ethan then watched as a slow smirk appeared on the young man’s face before him, "Ya, wouldn't Giles love that one." Ethan almost choked; it couldn't be....no, but he had to ask.
"You wouldn't be talking about Rupert Giles by any chance?" The kid didn't even need to answer; it was clear on his face he was talking about Rupert.
"You know G-man? Wow, England must be a smaller place than I thought." He joked.
For the first time since he'd come to this hellhole, Ethan Raine smiled. Of course it was mostly teeth, like a wild animal would bare its fangs.
But it was the closet thing he had to a smile, and smirks don't count.
"Oh me and Rupert go waaaay back. In fact I have something you might want to look at." Making up his mind at once, the chaos mage showed the dark haired young man to the back.
Where he'd been hiding his more personal items. It wasn't hard to enchant a coat with the curse for tonight, in fact the mage's power seemed to flair at the very thought of enchanting it.
So much so that more power was pushed into the old leather then he'd put on the other costumes.
"Here, wear this the next time you see old Rupert. I'm sure it'll bring back all sorts of......old memories."It was a battered old black leather jacket, still in good shape.
Ethan had been keeping it as a souvenir of his old friend. In fact he'd been planning on using it to curse his old friend.
This would just be doing the next best thing.
Of course, Xander couldn't go with the jacket alone. And with a little help from the costume shopkeeper the two of them had created a total look.
Torn white t-shirt underneath the leather jacket, old faded blue jeans, and to top it off he let Ethan pierce his eyebrow. Something that Giles had never done in the 70's, but it went well with the more modern punk look.
"There, all done. I'd love to see the look on Rupert's face but I really most be closing up soon."
"Ya, right then. How much do I owe you?" The teen dreaded this moment. He'd look like a fool after all the shopkeeper's hard work if he couldn't even afford to pay for the stuff.
Ethan could only waved his hand in dismissal, "No charge. Just tell Rupert who it was that gave you the coat and we'll call it even."
The look on Ripper's face after tonight would be enough to keep the mage on cloud nine for decades. His God Jonus' will would be done, chaos would run through the city, and Ethan got to have a bit of fun too.
Tonight was working out to be the greatest Halloween in years. And he owed it all to one young man who couldn't help but let it slip that he knew the watcher.
Yes, the greatest Halloween ever.
Like a splash of ice water Willow staggered back holding her throat, she couldn't seem to get any air in her lungs. Not even enough to scream for help.
But just as it started the pain ended and she found herself wearing the costume that had been underneath her ghost's robes.
"Wha? Buffy, Xander?!?" The red head yelled out in fright. Something was wrong, she could just feel it. Spotting her childhood friend in the middle of the street, Willow ran to him.
"Xander! We've got to find Buffy, something’s wrong!" The leather clad computer geek told him. She turned to look for the wayward slayer only to see a demon with a long dagger running towards her.
"Ahh!" She screamed.
But before the monster could slash her with his long dagger, Xander reacted. In one fluid movement the dark haired teen snatched the long blade from the demon, then drove it hilt deep into the monsters skull through its left eye.
"Gahhhh!" The creature yelled out before dropping to the ground dead.
"Ugly little pounce, now isn't he?" He spat out with a distinctive Cockney twang to go along with his British accent.
"Xander! What have you done?" The red haired young girl demanded. Her friend had just killed the demon in the most violent of ways; a demon that was more then likely a person transformed into his costume.
Something she'd figured out his blade had slashed right through her, but hitting nothing. She was a ghost just like she'd dressed up as. The only problem was now, who did Xander dress as?
"Xander?" She watched as her friend dug around in his pockets for a few seconds before turning to her, "Bloody hell. Who the fuck stole my sodding lighter?"
He then reached down and pulled the knife out of the demons face, the blade made a distinct slurping sound as he did so. So much so if Willow had had a body she might have been sick. "Wh......who are you?"
"Just call me Ripper, luv." He told her with a superior smirk on his face. The screams of people around them caught his attention and instead of looking sickened or distressed in the least, his smirk only deepened.
"Marvelous, Ethan's work no doubt. Him and his damned chaos kick." He muttered to himself before starting on his way down the street away from Willow.
"Hey! Come back here. We have to find Buffy. She'll know what to do." She called out to him as she followed.
"Oh luv, I know what to do. I'm going to have some fun. I'd ask you to join, but...." He trailed off as he waved his hands through her. "You wouldn't be able to help with the fun I have planned."
His smile just seemed to make her skin crawl. It seemed obscene in some way.
Not like he was just undressing her with his eyes, no. He was fully fucking her in his mind.But that didn't matter right now, she'd freak out about that later.
Right now they had to find Buffy. "Come on! We have to find Buffy then we need to get to Giles!"
At once he stopped and turned to her, "Giles? Giles who?" She could see his dark brown eyes and they were stormy. Something was going on in his mind, and it had nothing to do with sex at the moment.
"Errr, Rupert Giles. You know, Buffy's watcher?"
She could only jump back in shock when he bawled up his fists and screamed into the night air, "Fucking pillock! No way I let that bastard turn me into a damned nancy boy in tweed!"
He then turned and before she could say a word he'd snatched out the demon's blade and pressed it to the throat of one of the people trying to run to their cars.
She heard him demand the guy’s keys before Xander backed handed him to the ground and stole his car. Willow would have tried to chase after him but beside the sidewalk she saw Buffy walking in something like a daze.
"Buffy! Something’s wrong, what do we do?" The crimson haired young girl asked excitedly.
Only to have the slayer faint.
A half hour later Willow had gotten Buffy, Angel, and Cordelia to the Library.
"The ghost of what?" The watcher asked after hearing her description of everyone being turned into his or her costume. And it was a valid question, not that the red head was willing to answer.
"That’s not the point! I dressed as a ghost and now I am a ghost. Buffy dressed as a 18th century noble women and now......" She gestured to the dark haired slayer who was now passed out from fear.
Not from the fact that Angel had vamped in front of her, she'd yelled and screamed a lot after that one. But the car ride over had scared her. She refused to believe that the automobile wasn't some foul demon from hell.
"And Xander, well I'm not sure who he dressed up as. But it was horrible! Giles, he shoved a knife through a demon’s face! And he sounded all weird, very deep accent." She went on.
But it wasn't until she mentioned that fact that he'd called himself Ripper, did Giles really start to look concerned.
"Ripper!?! Are you sure that’s what he called himself?" He demanded.At her silent nod, the watcher paled quit a bit. Could it be? No, he couldn't even think on it, no. There just wasn't any way that Xander had dressed up like him in the 70's.
He quickly turned back to the ghost, "What else did he say? Did he say anything more than what you told me?" If it was true then Giles had to get out there.
Ripper’s loose on the streets of Sunnydale? The logical part of him was appalled at the very thought, but deep down his darker self, the true Ripper was laughing his ass off.
"He said that this was Ethan's work, something about him and his chaos. Oh, he freaked when I said your name. Said someone had turned him into a nancy in tweed? But that’s all I know! Giles please, is Xander in danger?"
She asked fearfully.
The watcher had to stop himself from scoffing at her, Ripper in danger? More around the lines of the town is in danger from him. He schooled his face back to normal before answering, "Ethan? Isn't that where you got the costumes?"
Of course his old running buddy would have kept something of his just for the purpose of cursing some poor kid on Halloween. It was just the sort of twisted thing Ethan would do. He totally ignored being called a nancy.
"I'll be back! Stay here until then." He ignored them as they called after him.
He had to get to Ethan's and stop the spell before Xander did something that they'd both regret. Why the devil had the young man dressed up as him anyway, his mind raged?
Across town someone had already beaten him to 'Ethan's Costume Shop'.The chaos mage turned to see the smirking young man before him that he'd cursed. "Ripper?" He implored. It had been so long since Giles and he had been friends.
Xander walked over to the kneeling mage and in one quick move punched him in the face, blooding his nose. "Hey, gov." He told the injured man with a laugh before grabbing him by the arm and helping him up.
Instead of being angry, Ethan pulled the younger man into a quick hug. "Always trying to make an impression." He rubbed his nose with his left hand, "I think you broke it, you git." His tone was level, not angry.
Ripper chuckled a little before taking a seat a few feet from the mold of Jonus, God of chaos. "So, how long is this spell supposed to last?"With those words, Ethan's good mood wilted. "Until sun rise." The English man swore to himself, it wasn't fair.
Only a few hours to do any real damage with his old mate.The younger man could only shake his head. "You met my older self?Tell me he isn't a bleeding watcher!?!" He demanded.
It couldn't be true. The red head had to be wrong; there was no way Ripper would have allowed himself to become a damned watcher. There was no way he could follow in his father's footsteps.
"Sorry, old boy. It was a shock for me too. Giles, what he’s going by now, has turned into a complete git. Joining the watchers, broken up the coven, hell he even has a slayer." A sour look passed over Ethan's face.
He knew Ripper wouldn't take the news very well. He hated watchers, the council, his father most of all. And to learn that was what his future held, it wouldn't be a pretty sight when he went off.
The young man's brown eyes darkened, going from a soft brown to a murky black. "Fuck that!" He shouted. And around him the curtains and a few of the unsold costume's burst into flames.
The chaos mage of course wouldn't like having to explain to the bank, whom he'd rented the store from how it got burned up. But just seeing Ripper let loose some of that dark magic of his made Ethan's whole night.
It had really been too long, and Giles's had cleansed himself of almost all of his dark energy over the years. Hell, he could barely do simple spells anymore.
The enraged young man turned to the older man, "What you are going to do is make this spell permanent, understand? I wont be blown away like vapor when this spell ends."
"Oh, I rather think you will." The two of them turned quickly towards the door. Which was where Giles stood looking very grim.
Ripper just sneered, "And how will you be doing that, you poof?"The chaos mage did the only smart thing he could and backed up further, not wanting to get caught between the two men when they started trading blows.
Giles, Ethan thought with a smile, Giles might have given up his dark magic but he was sure there was still a bit of Ripper still in him.
The two men looked at one another for a few seconds in silence, and then like some silent understanding passed between them, they attacked.
Twenty minutes later both men stood a few feet away from one another, both beaten and abused.
Giles's glasses lay broken on the floor, his left cheek bruised badly and clutching his right arm. "I wont let you take this young man’s body. You have no right to be here anymore."
Xander the worse for wear. His lips busted and his nose is bleeding, and he’s having a hard time keeping up right. "I wont let you lock me away! You sniveling, cowering, watcher! Is that what I became?" He slurs.
"I'll break the spell." The tall English man tells him with more confidence then he’s really feeling.
Ripper can only sneer, "Ah, but you don't know how, do you old chap? To many years behind a desk I bet. You've lost your edge old man."
Before the younger man can say anything else, Giles surprises him with a punch to his gut, followed up by a backhand that lays the younger man to the floor.
The remaining scoobys in the library were doing just as Giles had asked, and everything was going as planned. That is until Spike showed up with a band of mini demons looking for the powerless slayer.
"Well, the fun just never ends." The 120-year-old master vampire tells them with a leer before attacking. His hordes following up moments later.
"Cordelia, get Buffy out of here!" Angel yells as he engages his grandchild.The spandex-wearing cheerleader doesn't need to be told twice, she grabs the confused slayer by the arm and pulls her towards the stacks.
Willow, still being very much a ghost can't do anything else but watch on in horror as Spike and his mini monsters start to gang up on Angel.
And even he can't fight that many odds.
Buffy, could do nothing but cling to Cordelia's arm, she having lost all her powers when the spell happened and she became an 18th century noble women.
"Is there no more men to add us? Surely there has to be someone who can protect up from these.....these.....monsters!" She cries out.
"Shove it slay gal, we have to get out of here!" Cordy then manhandles the smaller woman up the stairs towards the bookshelves where she’s seen Giles come out of before.
Spike throws his grandsire to the floor where five mini monsters hold the vampire down, "Guess it just isn't your night mate."
Xander lies on the floor, his face badly bruised and beaten. "Hmpf, and I thought you'd turned into a complete pansy." He laughs before winching at his injured ribs.
"Tell me how to break the spell." Giles asks calmly as he picks up the broken pieces of his glasses from the floor a few meters from his foe.
"Suck my dic...." He breaks off as Giles kicks him in the stomach.
Cordelia and Buffy scream out in fear as a large movie monster steps out of the stacks and pushes them back down towards the battle. That’s when Spike notices the slayer's scream.
The leather-clad vampire ignores Angel's curses, as he walks over to the frightened and defenseless slayer. "Well look at you, shaking, terrified, alone, lost little lamb"
Buffy the slayer would have kicked his ass already, but Buffy the 18th century lady can do nothing but tear up as the powerful vampire taunts her.
Unexpectedly, Spike backhands the young girl and laughs, "I love it."
"Get away from her!" Angel bellows, but can't move to help her from the monsters holding him down. He can only watch on as it takes place.
Cordelia surprisingly enough punches the movie monster in the balls and makes a run for it as he holds himself. She almost made it to the door, but one of the younger monsters, one that was more then likely eight or nine grabs her and knocks her to the ground.
Spike ignores all this, his whole existence honed down to one thing, the slayer before him. With super human speed he grabs her by her newly dark hair and pulls her neck sideways and quickly descends on her throat.
Giles stands tall, his right foot lying on the dark haired teens throat as he struggles to breath. "Tell me how to stop the spell." Defeated, Ripper can do the only thing he has left, "Break the statue." He spits out between gasps for air.
Without hast the watcher releases Xander and walks over to the statue; then lifts it high above his head and smashes it against the floor.
"Oh god." Willow mutters out before she disappears from the Library. The movie monster, and mini demons all quickly turn back into children.
They look around the room and some even start to cry, "I want my mommy!"
No longer having anyone holding him down Angel gets up and makes his way over to Spike and Buffy. Just as it seems the slayer becomes herself again.
"Hi honey, I'm home." She taunts before backhanding the blond vampire into Angel. Who grabs the disoriented master and punches him in the face, before roundhouse kicking him away from the group of kids and Buffy.
Seeing that his chance has been blown, Spike knocks a few of the kids out of his way and makes a beeline to the door.
Without a threat in sight, Buffy huddles the kids together and checks for injures. Angel walks over and helps Cordelia to her feet. She gives him a thankful smile before also looking over at the crying kids.
Buffy seeing as no ones hurt, turns to her friends. "Hey, where’s Willow?" She and the others look around but it seems that Willow the friendly ghost is nowhere in sight.
"You remember what happened?" Angel asks worried.
"Ya, it’s giving me a wiggins. I could see everything going on around me, but I couldn't do anything about it." Her vampire boyfriend nods in understanding.
That was how it felt for him and Angelus. Being trapped inside and watching as his evil counterpart killed and maimed around him. And there was nothing he could do about it.
Cordelia snapped her fingers trying to get the two lovebird’s attention, but gave up when it seemed that was impossible. "Guess I'm stuck with the brats."
She hurried the kids out of the library towards the school office where she called their parents and told them where to come pick up their kids.
The next day two scoobys gathered to talk about their Halloween. Buffy and Willow were in the Library talking about what all Buffy could remember from 'noble lady'.
"It was creepy. It was like I was in autopilot, someone else was behind the wheel." The slayer shuddered just thinking about it.
"But on the plus side I don't need to study for French class anymore, petite belle. I remember enough that I can just fake it." She grinned at her friend.
"So how did it feel being a ghost?"
Willow shook her head, "It was like......well being dead. At first I couldn't breath and I felt like someone had dumped me into an ice water bath. Then when I was up and walking it was frustrating to not be able to touch anything."
Not at all something she would like to go through again. "Hey, have you seen Xander today?" The red head was worried about him. If it hadn't been for Giles telling her he'd seen the younger man home, she would have called him the night before.
"Nope. I haven't seen him since before the whole 'become your costume thing.' Why?"
"He turned into some dangerous English guy. I mean, this 'Ripper' person Xander dressed up as was a total lunatic. Even if his accent was sorta hot." Willow blushed at the last part.
"Willow, you slut!" The blond slayer joked. "So you have a thing for English guys, huh? Giles better watch out." If anything the red head blushed even deeper.
So much so that something clicked for Buffy, "Oh my god! You have a crush on Xander AND Giles?" By this time Willow's face was as red as her hair.
"Its just, Xander is just so darn cute! And Giles? God I just love the accent. Makes me all tingly." She told her friend, and laughed freely at the look of shock on the slayer's face.
But after a few moments she finally got herself under control. "Wow, tell me more about this 'Ripper' guy. Xander with an English accent might be interesting......" She quit after her friend hit her.
"None of that! He’s mine." Willow said strongly. Which only made Buffy want to tease her even more. "Fine, fine, but where is Xander? We didn't skip school, why should he get to skip and where’s Giles?"
Across town at the Harris's home, Xander was lying in his bed. Giles had taken off work for the day to help the young man around. Mostly out of guilt, lots and lots of guilt.
Even after 'Ripper' left Xander, the young man could still remember everything. All his old memories. Everything the watcher would rather no one ever knew.
That and the dark haired teen was still pretty beaten up. Giles hadn't held anything back during his fight with his younger self.
The teen before him was bruised and badly beaten, not that Xander cared too much about that.He didn't care too much about his body's pain; his mind was too busy going over everything he'd learned from Giles's younger self.
Things that he didn't want to know.
Ripper hadn't just been some punk kid with a bad attitude, he'd done black magic, raised demons, killed, raped. Things that he just couldn't wrap his mind around Giles doing at any age.
Not that man that he'd began thinking of as a father. The watcher had always been so.....boring. And Xander liked that. Giles was all proper, with his musty old books, and teatime.
He'd always been a man Xander wouldn't mind becoming one day. He'd been so different then his real father. And now? After everything he'd seen through Ripper's eyes?
Giles had been worse then his father had every dared to be. And if he had a choice Xander wouldn't be in the same room alone, let alone allow Willow anywhere near him.
But he didn't have a choice.
Ripper had done a simple spell in Xander's body; causing a good bit of Ethan's shop to set on fire for a few moments. A simple spell, but dark magic never the less.
And because of it the teen had been changed. The memories for everyone else would fade over time with no magic to back them up. It'd be like getting a mystic tan, it'd fade away.
But because of Ripper's use of dark magic, Xander's normally low to nil level of other worldly energy had gone from a 0 to 10 in one swift move.
Giles explained it the best he could as he tried to stay as far away from the teen as he could. The memories wouldn't fade. His magical abilities weren't tapped like Giles's had been in the dark arts, but they still existed.
Hell, even the accent had stuck around. Which given other circumstances, the watcher might have thought funny. But now it was just a more blatant reminder of who he used to be, who was still lurking around in the darker parts of his mind. And now in Xander's.
"Xander, I know that saying I'm sorry for the things I didn't want you to know will change anything. I know that. But I've changed, I'm not the same man I used to be." The older man explained.
"One day I just looked into the mirror and was disgusted at what I saw." He pleaded. Giles needed Xander to understand, needed someone to......to.....he didn't know what.
"And Eyghon had nothing to do with it?" The teen’s accent was thick; he ignored the watcher flinching at the name all together.
"Why, yes. It had a lot to do with it too."
"I can see that. Getting one of your coven possessed by a demon then killing him, that'll make anyone want to repent." He spat disgusted.
The older man sighed. There wasn't anything left to say, Xander knew all his darkest secrets and judged him guilty. And it wasn't like he was wrong.
Giles knew very well that he'd burn for the things he'd done. But that was beside the point.
"You'll need a release for the power. Some......well, you won’t want to be a demon raiser or become a chaos mage. But you'll need something as an outlet for these energies." Ya, guilt was really piling up in Giles corner.
The energies were dark and they'd need a dark outlet. Not necessarily evil, but dark never the less.
"Fine, whatever gov." He didn't even spare a glance at the older man. There wasn't anything to say. The man he'd envisioned, as a guy he'd one day be proud to become like had been such a heartless bastard.
Defeated Giles did the only thing he could, "I'll....see you tomorrow."
He left quickly not wanting to force his presence on the youth any longer. He was a failure. The English man was certain he'd never have children, but he'd thought of Buffy and the scoobys as his kids. Willow, Xander, they were his kids as much as Buffy.
And now the closet thing he'd ever had to a son couldn't look him in the eyes without wanting to spit in his face. He'd failed. But Giles swore to himself he'd help the boy, and find a way for him to the channel his dark energies.
He'd save his son from the darkness that consumed him for so long.
It was too late to save the boy's innocence now; the teen had seen the darkness head on through Giles's eyes.
No, he couldn't save Xander's innocence from that. But he would save the boy's soul, even if it killed him. He owed one of his kids that much.
Just as much as he owed Ethan a slow and painful death for his crimes. Today was shrouded and dank, but maybe just maybe tomorrow would be better.
They would only hope.