I do not own the characters or plots from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Final Fantasy IX, or World of Warcraft.. This is just a work of fanfiction. A/n: The first chapter is a copy of Wraithrune's story 'Exile's Birth' that establishes the plot for the challenge. The portion involving Stargate: Atlantis has been removed
Navigating a crowded costume shop was not Xander's idea of fun. But unfortunately, he was signed up for the yearly Halloween volunteer group program this year, where he would have to dress up and lead a bunch of children around Sunnydale.
"Stupid Principal Snyder…" Xander muttered, taking a gulp of his soda as he made his way towards the gun section of the shop. The miserable little man had "volunteered" Xander and his friends for the program without giving them a say in the matter.
Xander inched his way around a crowd of mothers and children, freezing as he sighted Willow and Buffy in front of him. For a moment, he stopped, wondering what he should do. He was supposed to be angry with Buffy, especially after how she had hurt his pride by rescuing him from a beating from Larry the Jerk. Xander contemplated ignoring the girls when Willow turned around, her eyes lighting up as she saw him.
"Xander!" Willow called out excitedly.
Xander sighed, there was now no hope for him to escape unnoticed. He moved forward, intending to get to Willow's side when someone bumped into him.
"Oh! Sorry!" A familiar voice said apologetically, as a tall female body tumbled onto Xander, causing his cup of soda to topple.
"Oh crap." Xander said as he looked at the mess his soda had made. Half of his soda was splashed over the front of some kind of apron costume that comes with a monster mask and a large trident, while the rest was dripping on the floor.
"Young man! What's the meaning of this?" The shopkeeper spoke sharply as he bustled up to Xander's side. "That set of costume cost forty bucks. It's one of the highlight of this shop, a character from the famous Final Fantasy IX game. You'll have to pay for damaging it."
"What!" Xander cringed in shock. He had only five dollars with him currently, especially since he had only intended to buy a toy gun from here. The day was going from bad to worse.
"Wait, I'll pay for it. It's my fault after all." The lady who had bumped into him spoke up.
Xander looked at her and blinked in relief.
"Ms Calendar!" Xander exclaimed, in partial shock and relief as the computer teacher handed forty dollars to the shopkeeper on the spot. "What are you doing here?"
"Some of the teachers were having a little Halloween party of their own and I was invited." Ms Calendar replied, smiling at Xander. "I came to get a costume from here, though I never expect to literally bump into you."
"Well since you paid for the costume, you can take it with you." The shop keeper interrupted. "Give me a minute while I clean and package it for you."
The two of them watched as the shop keeper lifted the costume off the stand and moved off.
"That's nice of you Ms Calendar, to save Xander like that." Willow said as she and Buffy moved closer to the two of them. "So you're going to be an apron wearing monster for Halloween?"
"Of course not." Ms Calendar said in mock horror. "Halloween is a night when us women folks can dress up and let loose. I intend to enjoy myself dressing as cat woman tonight."
Xander eyed the black leather suit the computer teacher was holding up appreciatively before he gave a frown.
"But what about the costume you paid for?" Xander asked.
"You can have it actually, I have no use for it." Ms Calendar said with a shrug, holding up a hand to forestall Xander's protest. "Causing you to spill the drink is my fault in the first place. What's more, the costume seems to be large enough for you. I am most certainly not going to wear that thing. You hadn't got a costume yet right? You might as well take it instead of letting it go to waste."
"Well… alright." Xander said reluctantly.
Ms Calendar gave him a smile before turning to the girls, looking at their empty hands.
"So what are the two of you planning to dress as?" Ms Calendar asked.
"I really liked that eighteenth century dress hanging there…" Buffy said looking wistfully towards the back of the shop. "But it's too expensive for me, so I'm thinking of going as something more warrior like, you know… easy fighting and everything. Giles told us Halloween is a quiet night… but I'd rather be prepared."
Ms Calendar grinned as she looked at the two girls. "Then let me help you choose your costumes. My tastes in clothes are quite good, if I do say so myself…"
Ethan chuckled as he locked up the shop once the last costumer had left. Scurrying into the small room at the back of the shop, he began to prepare the spell components he would need for the night.
Ethan Rayne was no ordinary mage. As he was fond of boasting to those in the know, he was one of the most powerful chaos worshippers in the world. Spreading chaos had had became something of an art form to him throughout the years. Tonight in Sunnydale, he was planning to cast one of his greatest chaos spell, fueled by the dark energies seeping from the Hellmouth that had saturated all parts of the town like a heavy cloak. He would not be able to channel too much of the dark energies, but even a little to boost his spell would be enough.
The Halloween spell would turn everyone wearing his tainted costumes into what they were dressing as… to a certain level of degree. A child dressing as a demon would become half demon or one-third human. Whatever that case, once the spell was cast, everyone wearing his costumes would be partially transformed and taken over by what they dressed as. He did not have the power to cast a full transformation spell, but the amount of chaos caused by even a partial transformation will be enough, and it will last till the stroke of midnight.
Ethan took out a bowl and cut his hand, letting blood flow into it. Time is short, he will have to move fast if he is to cast his spell on time, when the planets are aligned, and the dark energies around this town are the most potent.
Xander looked at his surroundings through the holes of the monster mask he was wearing. The mask had a huge red tongue hanging out at the bottom, giving him a pretty harmless monster look. After all, what respectable monster hangs out its tongue? Xander had done his research on his costume during the afternoon, so he was not altogether unprepared for questions on Halloween night. Apparently according to what he had found, he was currently dressed as Quina Quen, a character from the Final Fantasy IX game.
Quina Quen belongs to a genderless race of people from the world of Final Fantasy IX. S/he would often eat anything s/he sees, and had the ability to cast powerful blue magic. Blue magic are powerful spells gained from the monsters s/he consumed. All in all, Xander did not have any qualms about going as Quina Quen as he had actually saved the two bucks on his original idea of buying a toy gun, even if he did look a little ridiculous.
After gathering his group of children from the high school, he had proceeded to lead them treat or tricking around the local neighborhoods. The process was filled with Xander doing crowd control as he had to make sure that his little group did not wander off along the way. A few were dressed as fairies and satyrs, most dressed as little demons, and there's even one who dressed as Bumblebee from the Transformer cartoons. After close to an hour of knocking on people's doors asking for trick or treats, Xander inquired about the time from one of the children. It was then he realized it was already 5.30 p.m. Another half an hour more and he would be able to bring the children back to school.
Xander was about to lead the children down the road when a wave of energy passed through him, causing him to shudder as if he was being struck by lightning. He gave another shudder as a more powerful wave of energy rolled over him. Behind him the children cried out as they began to change, their physical form altering. Xander struggled to hold on to his consciousness but was unable to fight off whatever had taken hold of his body, his fragile grip on his body shattered, Xander descended to darkness.
Quina Quen blinked as she found herself transported from Alexandria Castle to what seemed to be a small town running amok with monsters. Her nostrils flared as she gave a strong sniff, catching the scent of powerful magical monsters all around her. If she consumed these monsters, she was sure that her Blue Magic repository would increase to the next level. There was also the fact that she was not averse to trying out new cuisine. Her stomach growled and saliva dripped from her long red tongue as she surveyed the monsters, demons, fairies, half human half goat creatures and even a metal monster with greedy eyes.
"Food!" Quina cried out as she trusted out her fork, spearing one of the little demons running past her and began eating it.
Instantly, power flooded within her, and she identified the new spell she had gained from the demon as one of Invisibility
"Next!" Quina crowled as she chased after a bunch of flying fairies. She managed to spear one of the fairies who dangled lifelessly on her trident after giving a death cry.
Uncaring of the fate of the monsters, and only caring about tasting these delicacies, Quina consumed her next meal.
Willow groaned, one moment she was leading her children trick or treating, the next moment a wave of pain had swept through her and she was floating over her lifeless body. Willow gasped as she looked down at the sheet clad body, lying motionlessly on the front pouch of Mrs Trewley's house. Willow had dressed as a ghost this year like she did every year, hiding the scandalous outfit Ms Calendar had chosen for her under the large white sheet. Willow was certain that the lifeless body lying on the ground was hers.
"I've turned into a ghost." Willow whimpered in horror as she waved her arm and watched it pass through a lamp post. She looked around her. Her bunch of children seemed to have transformed into what they had dressed as. Demons, pirates and god know what were causing havoc in the streets.
"I've got to find Xander and Buffy." Willow decided as she floated several feet off the ground, surveying the streets below her. Her eyes wondered around frantically until she saw a sight that stopped her heart. The long tongue monster in an apron that Xander had dressed as was a few streets away, tearing into the remains of a metallic creature. From the pieces of demon arms and fairy wings scattered on the street around the monster, the monster that Xander had became had apparently consumed quite a few of the costumed children.
"STOP!" Willow shrieked as she flew towards the monster at top speed, hovering frantically in its face. She was hoping vainly that Xander, who was trapped in whatever spell that was causing this would wake up. "STOP! These are children, you can't eat them!"
The monster frowned and tossed aside a yellow plated metal leg and gave a burp.
"Children? What mean you?" The monster asked curiously like a child, it did not even sound like Xander at all.
"There is a magic that turns all the children into monsters and demons, you can't eat them." Willow said sobbing at the horror before her. Her Xander had eaten human lives, what were they to do?
"There is?" The monster gave a dangerous frown. "Bad magic! It makes me eat humans! Never forgive! No wonder, Quina tasted human flesh."
Willow looked sick at the monster's words, though the monster seemed content to leave the cowering demons and monsters around it alone now.
"We got to find Giles and Buffy, they will know what to do…" Willow began faintly but was cut off by the monster.
"No! Find source of bad magic. Unforgivable! Make Quina eat humans!" The monsters wailed as it flared its nostrils and ran off down the street. "Bad magic! Must find!"
Willow watched the Xander shaped monster running down the street in despair, torn between following it and finding Buffy and Giles. Buffy was dressed as a gypsy dancer tonight… oh no! A gypsy dancer? Horror grasped Willow as she realized that Buffy would be essentially helpless, if she was also turned into her costume. Giving one last look at the departing Xander monster, Willow squared her ghostly shoulders and floated higher to look for Buffy.
The Xander monster seemed to decide not to eat anymore of the Halloween changed children. And in her non corporal form, there was not much she could do if the Xander-monster turned back to cannibalism again. She needed to find Buffy and Giles, fast.
Quina growled as she speed down the road, her nose tracking the scent of the strange magic that she now realized was everywhere around her. Magic! Bad Magic turning humans into monsters! Quina was tricked! The bad mage who cast the spell would pay!
She stopped as a scream and a bundle of clothes bumped into her, knocking her off balanced. It was a girl, a short one, with the same scent of bad magic on her.
"Help me!" The girl cried as a group of men stepped up behind her.
The faces of the men changed as they grew monstrous. Quina sniffed, no these men were not affected by the bad magic in the air, they were really monsters.
"Well, well, what had we here?' The lead monster human sneered as he looked at Quina and the whimpering human female. "I suggest you leave monster, our quarrel is with the Slayer here."
Quina pushed the cowering female behind her. She was Quina, one of the heroes of Alexandria, and she would not let a wimpy human be harmed by dangerous monsters.
"Food!" Quina grinned as she launched herself at her latest cuisine.
The vampire Spike and his minions never saw what was coming to them.
CRUNCH! SNAP! SLURP!
The human female watched with astonished eyes as Quina consumed the vampires within a few short minutes.
Ethan hummed as he watched the statue of Janus gather power, fueling the Halloween spell, glowing with a soft yellow glow. He was startled when the door to the back room of the store burst opening, letting in a monster with a long red tongue.
"I recognized you." Ethan said in surprise. "You're that game character from…"
Ethan never got a reply as the monster lifted its hand, with a large fireball erupting from it, burning him to a fiery death. The monster frowned at Ethan's dead screams, sniffing the air.
"Bad magic still here. Where is the source?" The monster said surveying the room before its eyes rested on the statue of Janus on the floor, glowing with potent magic.
"I wonder if it is nice to eat." The monster said with a gleam in its eyes, its long tongue wrapping around the statue as it swallowed the statue whole.
There was a snap that echoed throughout the room, as the Halloween spell ingloriously ended, in costumed Xander's stomach.
Xander blinked as he came back to himself, the memories of the past hour living as the monster Quina rushing into his head. Tears filled his eyes as he thought of the children he had consumed, six in total, and of the Halloween shop keeper whom he had burnt to a crisp. Only a roasted smell of burnt meat and a large black mark on the floor marked the place where the Halloween shop keeper had burnt to death.
He could still feel the magic within him, the power that Quina had consumed. Of Quina's ability to devour and turn monsters to magic, Xander was sure he no longer had that ability. However, the abilities he had gained from devouring the children affected by the Halloween spell, Spike and his minions and the statue that was the cause of the Halloween spell, those abilities still resides within him.
He know for a certainty that he possessed eleven unique Blue magic spells, each gained from the ones he had devoured. Xander was even able to identify the spells within him and what they would do when cast.
The spells lined up in his head, in his soul, murmuring with unleashed energies that scored through his body. He could name them easily.
From the three little children demons he had consumed, he gained the spells of Fireball
, and Invisibility
. From the fairy that he had eaten, he gained the spell of Flight
. From the Satyr and Bumblebee he had devoured, he gained the spells of Woodland magic
and Giving Sparks
. From Spike and his vampire minions, Xander gained the spells of Agelessness
, Enhanced Speed
and Enhanced Strength
. And lastly, from the Halloween statue, Xander gained the ability to recast the Halloween spell
, in a permanent form this time round.
All these powerful spells resting within him, yet his new powers were shadowed by the lives of innocents given in exchange. Xander weep bitterly.
How long he cried, Xander knew not, until a sound of footstep caused him to look up, seeing the eyes of a weary man dressed with a bowler's hat and long trench coat. Xander got up in an instance, sensing the ethereal energies around the man.
"I am Whistler, a balance demon, a mouthpiece for the Powers that Be, the Powers that watches over this world." The man said looking at Xander with pity. "Alexander Lavelle Harris, you are offered a choice by the Powers that Be. They would restore the lives of those you have consumed, and in return, you must give your promise never to return to this reality again."
"What do you mean?" Xander asked, feeling a little light headed. He would agree to anything if he could restore the lives of the children he had eaten. Even now, the very thought of having eaten human beings caused him to be ill.
"Due to what happened during the Halloween spell, you are now the very embodiment of Chaos, a disruptive force upon this reality. Your continued presence in this reality would disrupt the fragile balance here." Whistler said, his eyes looking away. "You'll be taken to another reality where no Powers reside, a neutral plane where you can live the rest of your life in peace. But you must promise never to return. In exchange, the Powers are willing to grant this boon, to restore the lives of those that you've consumed. Your… exile, for the lives of those you have eaten."
"I agreed." Xander said instantly, there was no further need for thought. He knew what he must do.
Whistler nodded as shimmers of light flooded the small room and the bodies of six young children, still in their costumes appeared, lying asleep on the floor. Xander was startled when he saw an additional figure appeared, an exact replica of himself next to the sleeping children, his eyes closed.
"This reality needs you as well, the version of you that is not afflicted by chaos." Whistler explained as he moved forward to touch Xander's hands. "The Xander on the floor would live through the rest of his life, without the powers within you, fulfilling his purpose in the Great Balance. And you Alexander, must fulfill the deal you've made."
Xander felt a slight disorientation as powerful energies wrapped around his body, transporting him away. In the streets of Sunnydale, the unconscious bodies of Spike and his minions reappeared. If Xander had known that they would be restored, he might have given second thoughts to his decision, as it was, he was now gone from the reality. For the bargains of the Powers that Be were vague and wily. The terms states that all Xander had consumed would be restored, and Spike still has a greater purpose to serve. As for Ethan Rayne, his death did not warrant a revival as this small chess piece in destiny can easily be replaced and will cause less trouble in the future. A/n: Grrr. So many stories, and to some of them I have writer's block, and some I changed my mind about the direction taken. I should probably set an identification as abandoned in the summary.