CH 20: Protector
CH 19 Costume:
Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond
AN: This is a Dawn Summers Special
"Hey Xan, need help with your costume?"
"Nah. I'm good, Dawn-patrol cornered me last month."
Said teen let out a whuff of breath as he was tackled. Dawnie was getting a bit big for the tackle-hugs, nice though they were.
"What do you want?"
"I can't just be happy to see you?"
"When you're vibrating like you had three mochachinos and I know Buffy's been keeping those to herself?"
"Oh alright, alright. Would you pleeeeeeease let me do your costume for Halloween?"
Xander took a token moment to gape.
"You've been hanging out with Will on the frappachinos, haven't you? What's the costume?"
"Ummmm, kinda my take off a popular anime series?"
Dawn winced, realizing that might kill any chance right there.
Instead of screaming, Xander just sighed and rested his head in his palm.
"For you? Not at all. You'll look great! Not to mention the girls will drool. Uber bishie!"
One solitary eyebrow rose towards his bangs.
"Hey! I mean it, even mom says it looks good!"
Dawn's nod could have put a bobble head to shame.
His ears were still ringing from her shriek an hour later.
And what the heck was a 'bishie'?
"So what are you going as?"
"Dunno. Joyce said it looked good and helped make sure everything fit, but apparently I'm not allowed to see until trick-or-treat night."
"Hope you don't regret it."
Xander grinned. If Mrs. S's blush was anything to go by, he was fine.
"Dawn! You look great!"
Willow's voice was a little garbled by the ghost-sheet, but still audible. Buffy turned and had to admit her sister looked cute. Red tai chi like pants were loose and flowy. Her feet were covered by matching red slippers, her top was a bit lighter and edged in white, a little red cape sat around her shoulders. There was a bag at her side with a little pale gold wolf plushie sticking out. Topping off the outfit was a red and gold staff that had a stylized star on top with wings.
Dawn grinned, pinning around once to show off. The cape flared enough to show a deck of cards tucked into a slot on the pouch's strap.
"Wait until you see Xander."
"What about me?"
Willow might as well have been a statue when she caught sight of her best friend.
He looked regal. His suit was a dark blue that was almost indigo lined with silver. On one lapel was a silver moon and on the other a star. Dark gloves poked out from white cuffs, hooking around his middle finger with a tiny silver gem. His feet had similar pieces attached to flipflops that made him look like he was going barefoot. He had allowed Dawn to attach a fake braid after his hair had been pulled loosely back, letting a few curls fall forward. Brown eyes were hidden behind dark blue contacts. What tied it all together were the wings. From his back two enormous wings flared slightly, glittering silver with ebony tips.
Xander gave them a delighted grin.
"Dawnie, you can dress me up every Halloween if the results are this good."
Buffy and Willow exchanged a look. They were going to corner Xander later for a thorough 'inspection'.
Dawn grinned, tucking herself under his arm as he started walking over to the group of kids he was to lead for the night. He was the object of more than one roaming eye.
Xander was quiet as he walked next to the girls. As far as they knew he hadn't retained a thing from Halloween. He was happy to keep it that way.
Dawn had been rather meticulous designing everything, including the background to the façade he wore.
A protector, a guardian, a friend.
He finally felt balanced, at peace with himself. He could step back from his memories and see things more clearly and understand what had and had not been his fault. It was likely he'd never stop missing Jesse but he understood now that it was not his fault he was gone.
That took a great weight off his shoulders.
Dawn came in, sidling up to him and tucking herself against his side. He felt a little bump and a tug at his shirt and knew another little guest was tucking himself into one of his cargo pockets. Xander smiled softly, feeling closer to these two than he had to almost anyone else.
A damp bump against his hand and he looked down to see a little golden wolf head tilted in confusion. He gently pushed it back in the oversized pocket, one finger following to scritch between its white and gold wings. Dawn laughed a little at the happy growl.
"Why the heck did you pick that name anyway? It seems kinda mean."
"It means 'the wolf'. And it fits."
"I like it."
He couldn't argue that when wolf and girl agreed.
Still smiling he followed the girls around town, Dawn tucked up against his side as if she were his sister.
The others never really noticed that once dark brown eyes were now night-sky blue.
He wasn't just Xander anymore. He was Alexander, Protector of Man, one of the protectors of the Key Holder.
Sun and Moon. Day and Night.
The little wolf poked its nose out again and Xander grinned as he watched Dawn eye one of the element cards from her deck, Fire, thoughtfully.
The protectors shared a grin.
Evil didn't stand a chance.