Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and DC Comics characters are the property of their original owners.
The approaching man’s voice was loud enough to easily carry through the closed main door of the Sunnydale High library, all while perfectly expressing someone’s very familiar annoyance to those inside: “--and exactly what part of my instructions regarding ‘DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!’ did you fail to comprehend?”
Sitting next to each other at the central table in the school library the day after Halloween, Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg traded puzzled looks over hearing that mystifying declaration. The teenage girls’ attention was promptly brought back to the room’s door when this portal was yanked open and Rupert Giles then irritably stalked through the entryway, heading straight towards his desk. Taking his seat there, the Briton then began to moodily polish his glasses, ignoring everything else in the library. That especially included his Slayer and her red-haired friend staring with utter bewilderment at the peevish older man.
As the library door began to swing shut, an equally grouchy Xander Harris shouldered it back open during his own entrance afterwards, all while glowering across the room at where Giles was sending a truly irascible glare in return towards that idiotic boy. As a sullen Xander joined the confused females at the library table, this young man huffily deposited his newspaper-wrapped burden atop this piece of furniture. That circular object covered by several sheets of the previous day’s Sunnydale Times was about the size and shape of a large cooking pan.
Willow and Buffy both gawked in mutual astonishment at the mysterious item now being displayed before themselves on the table. During this, Xander dropped into the chair next to the girls, folded his arms across his chest, and he then fixed a very hard gaze upon Giles that was more than matched in turn, with neither of these males looking away, stirring the slightest, or saying a single word at all for the next minute or so.
As might be expected, it was Willow who broke first under the growing strain in the room, nervously babbling to nobody in particular her panicked question, “Uh, guys, did something kinda go wrong at the costume store when you tried to find out where Giles’ friend went?”
Still giving Xander an icy stare, Giles managed to produce an unique growling exhalation, consisting of vexed weariness that soon turned into an actual snarl of pure displeasure: “Oh, yes, indeed, you could say that!”
Buffy and Willow blinked at hearing that, not to mention how the Englishman went on to explain in a supremely aggravated tone, “Once we got inside the place and saw how it was completely stripped bare, proving that Ethan managed to bugger off with everything after I left him there last night, it took just two bloody seconds for Xander to come up with his bright idea to check out the dustbins in the back alley. Without even bothering to tell me about this!”
“Hey, you seemed to be busy enough, what with you down on your hands and knees on the shop floor, doing a really great imitation of a bloodhound sniffing every inch of the ground!” an indignant Xander snapped back, obviously continuing an earlier squabble between the two Scooby Gang members.
As if observing a hard-fought tennis match, both Willow and Buffy simultaneously turned their heads in Giles’ direction, just in time to witness this librarian’s gritted rejoinder, “You know quite well I was searching for any trace of that bloody Janus statuette! And I had to crawl all the way to the back door before I found the merest sliver of rock that Ethan either overlooked or lost when he gathered up all the rest of what remained of the Chaos magic in the place!”
A look of immense frustration intermixed with deep displeasure now flashed across Giles’ features, as he scowlingly regarded that offended lad sitting in his library chair over there, who was clearly resenting every bit of scolding coming from the older man.
*Well, sod him.*
In truth, Rupert Giles was mainly more furious at a now-vanished Ethan Rayne rather than Xander Harris, but if a brassed-off Ripper couldn’t get his hands upon his former friend again in order to give him another thorough thumping, the Watcher was perfectly willing to direct his ire towards the next available target. Besides, it wasn’t like that little wanker sulking in his seat was totally innocent at everything concerning the latest cock-up that had happened right after Giles made his elated discovery.
In his coldest possible tone, Giles informed a fascinated pair of young ladies, “All it took was a single bloody second for it all to turn into a complete fiasco, when Mr. Harris there kicked open the back door, which at that point nearly took off my head! But that wasn’t the worse part. Oh, no. When your maladroit comrade came into the shop from the alley, he managed to unerringly trample right onto the last remaining fragment of the Janus bust, grinding it into dust and rendering that priceless fragment absolutely worthless!”
Appalled, both Buffy and Willow turned their heads to stare at their fellow Scooby Gang member, who himself refused to meet their eyes. Instead, Xander just looked off into the distance while his lower lip protruded in a genuinely miffed pout at being blamed over something that was in no way his fault! How was he to know that G-man had been there behind the door, anyway? Or that he really should’ve watched his step when barging into the shop to show that big English jerk what had been found inside one of the mostly-empty cardboard boxes scattered throughout the alley?
All of these arguments mentally occurring to Xander then caused that resentful teenage boy to open his mouth, but what he now said had to do with entirely something else that had just suddenly come to mind, “Look, Giles, I already apologized a couple hundred times about all of it, on our way back here! Besides, you’ve gotta admit, there’s also the point things might’ve still turned out great for us over what happened right next after that!”
There was a short pause in the room after Xander’s incensed defense of his actions. Willow and Buffy glanced at each other, both worriedly sensing that even if they had no idea what exactly was going on, things were nevertheless coming to a head. Particularly after once more turning their attention back to where Giles was currently brooding at his desk, with this mature man’s face utterly deadpan and his eyes disturbingly flat. In his tone of vicious politeness, the Watcher now malevolently purred, “Well, Xander, in that case, why don’t you show your friends what you can do now? Go on, impress us all.”
Baffled, the girls watched how Xander’s own features abruptly changed into absolute chagrin. All the same, this young man reluctantly got to his feet out of his chair, and Xander then took a few steps away from the library table, stopping in his tracks at the middle of the room as he turned to face them all. However, before anything could next happen, Giles coldly informed Xander, “Not
there! I don’t want the floor collapsing under you. Stand against the far wall, if you please.”
Morosely slouching over to the point in the room where he’d been inexplicably directed, Xander glowered back at those who were watching him, which presently consisted of a very cantankerous Giles and an utterly bewildered Buffy and Willow. Giving a grumpy shrug of his shoulders, Xander closed his eyes, and he allowed a look of intense concentration to cross his face. In the very next instant, a shimmer of white light appeared over the entire body of the teenage boy with his back to the wall, and right after that, Xander Harris transformed into someone -- or something
What now stood in the library, the floorboards creaking under its substantial weight, was a massive statue of dark grey rock shaped into a lumpy, man-like form with a squat head having blank-white eyes that was resting atop a gigantic torso possessing immensely muscular limbs. This stone figure was also clad in a bizarre costume consisting of blue and yellow swimming trunks, enormous blue shoulder pads connected by a yellow collar, yellow wristbands, and short blue boots.
After silently gaping in sheer shock for several moments at this truly unexpected event where their friend had altered into that piece of sculpture, Buffy and Willow dazedly heard from Giles, who’d left his desk to come over to join them at the table. Reaching out to tear off the newspapers covering the mysterious object brought into the room by Xander, Giles wearily explained to the overcome girls watching him, “When Xander stepped onto and ruined the Janus statuette fragment in the shop, that same flash of light you just saw also appeared then over that boy -- along with what he was carrying in his arms too. Which was this.
At those last words, the last sheets of newsprint finally came off, to reveal a very odd item. A round wooden platform had attached onto this over two dozen small dolls or figurines standing on their feet atop the dais, with all of these statuettes of young men and women dressed in gaudy costumes and attire that in some cases matched equally colorful skin tints and body shapes. Despite most of these little mannikins being only a few inches high, they were all done in scrupulous detail. The gazes of Willow and Buffy followed Giles’ pointing finger to a specific carving that was a bit bigger than the others -- and which also perfectly matched the huge statue presently occupying its position over there in the library. With growing excitement, the girls heard from a glum Briton, “As Xander told me after he changed back, this being is a comic-book character named Blocks or something like that, possessing extreme durability and incredible strength far beyond that of a Slayer.”
In a tone of awe-struck wonder, Buffy exclaimed, “Wow, Giles, Xander got something even better than what he had last night, that soldier guy!” Turning her head to beam at the motionless rock thing that every vamp in Sunnydale would shatter their fangs upon during their vain attempts to bite him, the young warrior woman enthusiastically added, “Say, Xander, now that you can’t get hurt anymore, you can be a real help to me out on patrol!”
“Yeah, Xan!” delightedly confirmed an equally happy Willow, knowing that her yellow-crayon friend had always wanted to be a real superhero. Both of the girls eagerly waited for their fellow Scooby Gang member to answer them back.
The big stone statue over there remained totally immobile, not making the slightest sound. After a few seconds of this, a suddenly-worried Buffy asked, “Giles…?”
Rubbing his temples in an useless attempt to alleviate his pounding headache, Rupert Giles sighed, and then he dolefully enlightened the concerned girls staring at him. “Ladies, the whole point of Chaos magic is that you can’t ever be sure of exactly what will take place. Not to mention, as we’ve seen before, Xander’s own rather unique reactions during those previous times when he had other magic spells and enchantments laid upon him. In short, things didn’t precisely work out as that young man hoped.”
Rolling his eyes in total exasperation at remembering the lengthy rant Xander Harris had delivered all the way to the school over “It’s butt-monkey time again, goddamn it!”, Giles resignedly finished his explanation to an astonished Buffy and Willow. “Yes, Xander is indeed in there, that being,” as the Englishman vaguely waved a hand towards the stock-still statue, “but, unfortunately, his body is so heavy and dense that he can’t move a single muscle of his new form, not even to open his mouth or do anything else, except to eventually change back. Frankly, I fear that today’s events turned out to be totally useless.”
Pausing to allow the two girls to look once again at their friend, this time in real pity, Giles allowed himself a rare few moments of malicious revenge, as in an offhand tone of payback over a detested nickname, the man muttered seemingly to thin air, “Of course, there’s always the possibility that Mr. Harris could do his latest trick one more time. Which, after effortlessly persuading every one of our demonic foes to stand next to his changed body, we then use a construction crane to tip him over onto them all, where they’ll be instantly crushed to death. It’d be a real triumph, I’m sure, just the thing to tell the Council, describing the way a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes helped us to achieve our final victory, no matter how absurd it’ll be.”