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31 Never Was

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Thirty One". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: 31 things Xander never was.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Ficlet CollectionsLadyAvariceFR153218,57728168,8881 Oct 121 Nov 12Yes

CH 31: Rag Doll

CH 30 Costume: Andrew from Touched by an Angel

AN:One chapter a day, every day, for a month! This hints at a fic I'm planning on writing in the future, based on a popular movie. Can you guess who it is?

Thanks everyone and enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

"Xander Xander Xander Xander Xander Xander!"

Xander grunted and blinked as he was suddenly staring at the ceiling. Huh. It had been a while since he'd been the target of a hyper-Willow-tackle-hug. They were good, but rib bruising. It was probably for the best.

Buffy just watched the pair in confusion.


Beaming like a two-year-old with a painting of her very own finger paints she held a thick envelope out to Xander.

Taking it he examined the cover and pulled out the contents. Inside were two paperback novels and a letter. The writing was loopy and scrawly in a way that would be right at home on a Halloween card.

And he knew exactly who it had come from.

His grin matched Willow's as he read the letter.

Xander, Jesse and Willow,

Good grief it's been forever! What have you three been up to? If you looked in the rest of the envelope it's kind of obvious what I've been up to. I finally wrote the sucker out! Also got the director from the original movie to take a look at it. So far he actually likes it. Woot!

Take a good look, I think you'll recognize a few characters I decided to put in. I miss you guys tons so it's a good thing my next bit of news pulled through.

I'm visiting for Halloween!

Don't worry about costumes, I'm bringing some stuff with me. I thought if you liked what I did enough, we could go as characters.

Can't wait to see you all again!

Much love and spookies,


Xander's face fell a bit as he read. Jill was someone who'd come to town years ago on a summer vacation with her parents and just seemed to instantly meld with their little group. They'd only been six or seven at the time, and they really put their parents to task. She'd come back every summer for five years before she stopped, sending letters when she could.

And he realized that he and Willow had never thought to tell her about Jesse.



"She doesn't know about Jess."


Willow slumped a bit, still sitting on Xander's stomach.

Buffy, as usual, broke the silence.

"What're those?"

The blonde slayer was pointing to the set of books still in Xander's hand.

"Ah! She was writing this story ever since we were little kids. She finally managed to make it into something coherent, or so she says. 'Scuse us!"

He hopped up, managing to right Willow as he did so, giving her a book and heading towards a set of comfy chairs in the sun.

Buffy managed to glimpse at the back of the book, seeing an illustration of four rather odd children. One looked like the ghost of a little boy, one little girl witch that almost seemed to have flames on her head, a little rag-doll boy with a patchwork shirt, and a bone pale girl smiling like there was a great joke just waiting to happen.


"Xander! Willow!"

"Jill!" Buffy and Giles looked up to see Xander practically engulf a small young woman in a hug. She was almost alarmingly pale and bony. If it weren't for the bright sunlight she was bathed in they'd peg her for a vamp or a ghost. Willow moved almost faster than a Slayer at full tilt, glomping on to the duo and nearly knocking them over.

"OhmygoshJill! It'ssogoodtoseeyou,howhaveyoubeen? What'sthewordonthebook? Thestoryisgreat! AmIsupposedtobethelittlefirewitch? Xanlookssocuteasthatlittleboy!"

The New girl interrupted Willow's speed-babble with a laugh.

"A Willow is a Willow, no matter what. As her to speak and she'll speed right on by you. Dang I've missed you! Where's Pervy?"

The girl paused as she watched the saddened expressions grow on her friends' faces.


"He's gone, Jill. It happened earlier this year."

"Oh… batnuts."

She'd always had an odd list of curses and that was a bad one. Her shoulders slumped and she let Xander pull her close for one of his famous I'll-make-it-better-hugs.

"I think we should go with your idea for costumes."

She startled and pulled back from Xander to stare at Willow. Behind her Xander nodded.

"We can get a floating collar and a tag for him. Your mom did say he followed you around like a puppy."

The girl laughed and nodded. Willow smiled. It was a good idea.

"Excuse me, miss?"

The trio broke apart, apparently forgetting that they weren't alone in the library. Buffy and Giles were staring at them in slight amusement and curiosity.

"Oh, sorry, where are my manners. Mom would have had my hide for that. I'm Jill King."

Smiling she offered her hand to the two, both noting how cool it seemed. Something niggled at Giles' memory.

"Jill King? Parents Jack and Sally?"

"Yup! You know them?"

"Not personally, but I do know of them."

"I'll take that as a compliment then. It's less worrisome."

Giles smiled and nodded, still trying to remember why those names seemed familiar.

"Hi Mrs. S. Buffy ready yet?"

Smiling the Summers matriarch stepped back, letting the three teens into the house. She had to admit they looked good. All of them were only wearing one color on their clothing, black. Willow was dressed as a witch in a short dress with cropped leggings underneath and a sparkly sash. The neckline was around her shoulders and almost seemed to grow sticks as a sort of collar. Her hat was scrunched in a manner that suggested a lot of use and being picked up and thrown on. In her hair bits of sparkly red and yellow streamers were woven, making it look like her hair was on fire.

Xander was in a patchwork shirt that looked like it had taken scraps from every kind of black cloth available and added a patch somewhere. Stitches appeared on his arms and face, as if he were patched together too, but not in a really scary way. Rather, with his hair more mussed up than usual, he looked like a well loved rag doll that made sure the monsters under the bed didn't bother his girls.

The third girl stood a bit behind the other teens, waiting to be introduced. She was dressed in what looked like a tunic and a short skirt with spider web leggings underneath that vanished into tall pointy-heeled boots. Her pointed hat was a bit smaller than Willow's and her sleeves belled out to almost cover her hands entirely. Still one hand clutched the end of a carny floating-collar that had a tag with "Jesse" clearly printed on it. Joyce had to admit the appearance of her, however friendly, made her a bit edgy. She wasn't convinced that her skin coloring and bruise-purple eyes were make-up effects.

"Hello ma'am. I'm Jill. Just visiting for the holiday."

Buffy saved what might have been a tense situation by descending the stairs in her period gown. Jill stared for a moment before leaning over and whispering in Xander's ear.

"Is it just me, or does that dress decrease your IQ by 20 points too?"

Xander made a passable attempt at turning snickering into coughing. Willow just arched an eyebrow at them.

Buffy was fussing around her watcher, driving him to distraction. Neither of them had seen Xander or Willow since the night prior before the spell took effect.

Buffy was never more grateful she had 'fainted' around a guy dressed as King Arthur. It still hit her pride, but at least the guy had been the only one around.

Just as she was working herself up to a good head of steam again Xander and Willow walked into the library, looking none the worse for the wear.

Both were promptly glomped and fussed over by Slayer and Watcher alike.

It was odd that neither of them noticed the new pendants the two now wore.

~*~One Year Later~*~

They had all agreed to have a calm Halloween at the library this year. Monitor things, get candy, and avoid costumes. Good ideas all around.

But Xander and Willow weren't there yet.

"Giles, I'm getting worried."

"I understand, Buffy. There's probably a good reason though and they'll be right along. We can worry when things to go to pot."

Buffy opened her mouth to retort when she stopped, seeming to listen for something.

"Do you hear that?"

Snatching up an ax she darted outside, her Watcher cursing and following close behind.

Neither expected to see Jill back and waiting, staring down the street in her costume from the previous year.

"Jill? Where are Xander and Willow?"

"They're coming. Just got pulled into the parade. They'll be fine."


Now there was something seriously bothering the Watcher.

"Yeah. Dad's parade. He managed to get time to come in for some special work and wanted to make an entrance."

"Jill, what did you say your surname was?"

Giles was watching her warily now, praying a bit that he was wrong, but also that he was right.

She grinned a grin that seemed more than a bit insane.

"I said my name was Jill King, which is technically true."

A few stems of music could be heard coming up the street, the parade finally visible.

"This is Halloween,

this is Halloween,

everybody make a scene,

trick or treat til your neighbor's gonna die of fright!"

"The name you want is Jill Skellington."

Laughing dementedly she rushed off to join the parade, Xander and Willow coming into view and pulling off their pendants. Willow's hair flickered with fire as a familiar ghost marched next to her, dog collar still around his neck. Xander had to quickly grab his arm as the stitches came loose. Jill rushed over, managing to keep in step and sew it back into place at the same time.

Just behind them a wooden horse was pulled by all manner of things not human, a scarecrow sitting atop it.

The music picked up and the singing got louder and the scarecrow started to burn.

"Good Lord. Jack Skellington and Sally."

Buffy looked at her Watcher in apprehension.

"The King of the Patch will come back with his Rag Doll Queen to remind all things why Halloween is kept free of evil beings, kept only for the Frightful."

A woman who looked a great deal like Jill joined them, giving her a hug before turning to the others, grinning and laughing, her own stitching coming loose from her enthusiastic motions.

On the wooden horse, the burning scarecrow started to dance.

"In this town

We call home,

Everyone hail to the Pumpkin Song!"
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