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Summary: It’s Halloween, and Xander lost a bet. Unfortunately, Willow has an idea to help him out.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Xena-Hercules > Xander-CenteredDianeCastleFR1563196,03740683210,80823 Oct 1212 Jan 15No

Halloween, part I

Disclaimer: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and all associated characters belong to that wacky Joss and Mutant Enemy Productions. “Xena: Warrior Princess” belongs to Renaissance Productions.
Spoilers: Buffy season 2 up to "Halloween"; Xena, nothing specific
A/N: A lot of the dialogue is taken from the episode or modified from there; this blatant thievery will be reduced over time as the story goes AU.
Comments: I welcome all of them, good or bad, as long as they are constructive, because I know I have room to improve; it’s not like I’m William Faulkner, y’know.
A/N2: I’ve read a *ton* of YAHF stories. Some are excellent. (Go read “Echoes of the Fallen” if you haven’t yet.) Some are not. It occurred to me that it would be possible to write a decent YAHF in which Xander only keeps some memories, rather than superpowers.

Xander looked around the place. Ethan’s Costume Shop was new, and whoever ‘Ethan’ was, the guy was going for a big splashy kick in the pants to Partytown, which - up until a few days ago - had been the only decent place to buy costumes in Sunnydale. Well, that was fine with him. A couple years ago, he’d gotten one little rip - one teensy tiny little rip - all up and down the back of his costume, and had the jerk at Partytown let him have his deposit back? But NOOO!

Not only were there tons of costumes in this store, most of them way outside his price range, but there were some neat masks, and tons of accessories, and who knew what else. The only problem was his costume…

The problem was he’d lost the bet with Larry and the guys. Well, he hadn’t wanted to make a bet with Larry and the other guys, but it was against the guy code to chicken out on a bet. Even a bet like that. And when the guys in the bet included a big bully like Larry, and a couple of the swim team dudes like Cameron, and also Scott ‘Mister Cool’ Hope, and half a dozen guys from the football team besides Larry, you couldn’t say no. Him and a couple of the other class clowns were in on it too, even though he was on the loser end of the group. He hated to admit it, but it was true.

He had lost the bet. He and Scott, and Todd and Cameron from the swim team, were the Official Losing Guys. And, just to rub that in a little harder, with extra losing-age, all the losers had to dress in drag for Halloween. Some kind of girl costume. Man. If Xander even hinted about that around the old homestead, his dad would probably give him another black eye. Or maybe get out the belt. One thing you did not do around Tony Harris was mention anything faggot-ish in any way. His dad wouldn’t even watch Benny Hill reruns. Okay, there were a lot of things you didn’t mention around Tony Harris unless you wanted to get hit, but gay stuff was one of the big ones.

So Xander had gone to Willow for advice, which maybe looking back on things wasn’t the smartest thing he’d ever done. When he explained about the bet, Wills had just burst into giggles. And the more he explained about the bet, the more Willow giggled. He had really been hoping she’d use that big brain of hers to figure out a way around the bet. Instead, she said, “Oh! I know the perfect costume!” Which was so not what Xander had wanted to hear.

She’d dragged him upstairs to her parents’ room, which was safe, since once again Will’s parents were both out of town, which was like pretty much constantly. Xander hadn’t even seen Will’s dad since maybe the end of last school year, and Sheila Rosenberg had been flying all over New England on some important thing for way over a month. Not that Willow ever complained, or took advantage of having the house all to herself, or anything. The most Willow ever did was stay up late watching chick flicks and eating popcorn. That was his Will, all right.

So anyway, Willow had dragged him into her rents’ bedroom and into a walk-in closet that was almost as big as Xander’s whole bedroom, and smelled a lot fresher. Willow opened up a big clear plastic hanging box thing that was full of hanging clothes… And she’d pulled out a costume. There was no mistaking what it was, either.

Xander had gulped. Hard. “Xena? No way!”

“Yes way, Xander,” Wills had insisted.

“C’mon, there has to be something else!” he’d tried.

“Alexander Lavelle Harris!” Willow had snapped. “This is it. Look at me. See the resolve face? You know what that means!”

And he’d crumpled like aluminum foil at the ‘resolve face’, yet again. How pathetic. He’d ended up standing there in just his jeans, while Willow pulled the Xena costume over his head.

The costume had a heavy pantybrief thing, which thank God he hadn’t had to try on in front of Willow. There was a fake-leather minidress, and then to go on top of that, there was this fake plastic ‘Xena armor’ like in the tv show. Willow loved that show. They’d probably watched every episode, maybe twice.

Xander was 5’10”, but he was still skinny as a rail, like a lot of kids who were juniors. He still hadn’t filled out, as his dad constantly reminded him when he was home. “You’re as skinny as a girl!” “You look like a bunch of pipe cleaners!” “Why aren’t you as big as your cousin Jerry?” It was so totally not fair. Especially since cousin Jerry was a senior, and played football, and took steroids when no one was looking, and had a temper like a rhino with a pygmy spear up its butt.

And the problem this time had been that he was skinny enough to squeeze into the costume. It just killed him that he could fit in Willow’s mom’s old costume. Okay, the thing had been too tight around the waist. But Willow planned to squeeze Xander in the middle with one of her mom’s old girdles - ugh - and fill in the top of the outfit with water balloons. Extra ugh.

And then, the next morning, Wills had told Buffy and Cordelia in the library. What could be more humiliating than that? The girl he’d love to date, and the girl who never stopped giving him shit. Okay, you could put Buffy and Cordelia in either slot, lately. And Giles had overheard the whole thing. Giles, Mister Tweedy Stuffiness, had needed to make a huge effort not to laugh out loud. Ha ha.

At least Giles had loaned him a real sword, with a scabbard-y thing for it, and straps so it would hang diagonally across his back like a real Xena sword. Not that he needed to worry about using the sword. Giles had told the Buffster that Halloween was dead for the undead. What, they got a night off for holidays? Was that a vamp union thing?

Buff had even come up with a pair of kind-of Xena boots that actually fit, even though Xander wore a size 10 shoe. He didn’t ask whose boots they were. At least they weren’t high heels. And Cordy came up with a Xena-looking wig. Along with half a dozen snide comments. Half a dozen more snide comments.

So, instead of looking through Ethan’s for costume ideas, he was standing around while Buff oohed and ahhed over a long dress that looked like it was the in, new, hot look. About 200 years ago.

Willow called out, “Hey Xander, over here!”

Xander walked around a big display of monster masks. Man, this Ethan was big on monsters and not so big on superhero outfits, for some whacked out reason. Maybe it was just some of that good old Hellmouthyness.

Willow was holding two things. A bag with a ghost costume in it - so typically Will, she’d gone as a ghost like eight years in a row - and what looked like a Xena chakram, with a hook-like holder that would go on the waistbelt of the costume.

“Xander, look at this! It’s perfect!” she bubbled. “You’re gonna look so cute!”

“Will, I don’t really want to go with the cute, ya know,” he muttered.

“Oh come on, I’ll even buy it for you!” she smiled.

He sighed and gave in. What the hell. He already knew Scott was going as Cinderella. Well, a school stud like Scott could get away with something like that. Cam and Todd, the swim team stars, were going as mermaids from “The Little Mermaid”. Man, those were some ballsy choices. Okay, he could do Xena if those guys were doing costumes like that.

The only good part of this whole drag-costume thing was getting out of Snyder’s ‘schoolchildren safety’ program. When Snyder strong-armed Buffy into signing up, the little weasel had naturally gone after him and Willow, since they were right there, and Snyder hated them almost as much as he hated Buffy.

They had all had loved the look on Snyder’s face when Xander had grinned and said, “Perfect! You do know I lost the bet with the football guys and I’m going out as Xena Warrior Princess, right? I can’t wait to hear what the schoolboard’ll say about you sending little kids out with a boy in a dress! This is GREAT!” It was the only time he’d ever seen Snyder look worried. So he had got out of leading a pack of whiny kids around, even if Buffy and Willow hadn’t.

Then getting dressed at Willow’s house had sucked. He had to get dressed downstairs in the back bathroom, while the girls dressed up in Willow’s room. And, just to make things worse, Wills and Buff made him shave his legs, which was humiliating. But when The Slayer was standing there holding a real sword and threatening to shave you herself, with that very sword, if you didn’t shave… Well, you got to shaving.

Willow wouldn’t let him see what she was going to be wearing, which was stupid when she was just wearing that ghost costume over her regular stuff. And they sure wouldn’t let him help get Buff into that old-fashioned dress and that wig.

Getting dressed was just humiliating. He had to strip naked and pull on the girdle Willow had gotten. It was really tight around his waist, and it squeezed things in way too much at crotch level. It also had cups that stuck out in front of his pecs, and that was embarrassing too. The thing didn’t have any legs, so when he pulled on the heavy panty part of the costume, the girdle didn’t show below it. Then he tugged the fake leather dress on over his head and jerked it into place around his hips. After that came the fake armor, which wrapped around him and clipped together in back. He buckled the sword’s scabbard carefully across his back, and clipped the plastic chakram onto its hook on his hip. He tugged on clean socks and slid his feet into the boots, and he was good to go.

Oh wait, the stupid wig. He shook it out and tugged it onto his head. It draped over his shoulders and onto his back, making him feel like he needed to do a lot of scratching. Well, one good thing, as Xena he didn’t have to wear any makeup. At least, he’d talked Willow into not putting any makeup on him, since she wasn’t all that good at it. And he’d already shaved his face real close just before he came over, on Willow’s orders.

He reluctantly stepped out of the downstairs bathroom when he heard feet starting down the stairs. It was Buffy, all dolled up in that long dress and that wig.

Xander gasped at the girl gracefully mincing down the stairs. He hadn’t thought a dress like that would be sexy. But Buffy made that dress look awesome. He said, “Wow Buff, you look great! Oh great lady of Buffonia, prepare to be saved by XENA! Warrior Whatever!”

She faked a bad English accent and smiled, “Why kind warrior, how good of you to compliment me.” Then she switched back to her normal voice and said, “Into the kitchen, Xena. Willow made up something special for you.”

He sighed and followed. Buffy walked over to the sink and picked up two good-sized water balloons. They were a peachy pink color, and about the size of small cantaloupes. She stuffed them into his ‘cleavage’, while she tried not to giggle. Okay, so she tried not to giggle too much.

She excitedly told him about Willow, “But wait ‘til you see…”

And… out came Willow under a white sheet, as usual.

“…Casper,” Buffy’s voice trailed off oddly.

What was up with that? He just said, “Hey Will! That’s a fine boo ya got there. Gotta shake that boo.”

Buffy just glared at Willow. He didn’t know why. There was no figuring out girls, especially not Slayer-type girls.

They walked over to the school to pick up Buffy and Willow’s trick-or-treaters. Xander was surprised to see his fellow bet ‘losers’ walking around like nothing was wrong. Scott had gone all out. He was wearing a pound of makeup, plus a big poofy blonde wig, along with a pink princess-y dress that belled out from his waist nearly to what looked like clear plastic high heels. Jeez. It was one thing to go along with the bet, and another thing to get so dolled up that it was a little creepy. Todd and Cameron were wearing long wigs - Todd was in a red wig and Cam was in a blonde one - along with fake mermaid bodies and little shell bikini tops. And both of them were wearing lipstick and eyeshadow. Man. At least no one was going to give him shit about this night, when Todd and Cameron and Scott were all sissied up in ways that would’ve made Tony Harris go apeshit.

And here came Larry, dressed as a nasty pirate, just because the jerk quotient was getting too low with the swim team guys in drag. Larry sneered, “Arrr, it’s some little mermaids ta give a manly pirate just what he needs on a long trip!”

Todd just said, “Shove off.”

When Larry came Xander’s way, Xander pulled out the sword and said, “Foul pirate, Xena will hack off your mast if you get any closer!”

Larry sneered, “Real scary toy sword there, Harris.”

Xander gave him an evil grin and hacked through the Halloween display on a nearby table. “Nope, it’s a real sword, with a real edge and everything.”

“Shit, who’d be stupid enough to let you have a real sword?” Larry groused.

“Come on, Xander! We’ve got to get these kids around and then back here,” Willow called out.

So Xander walked away from Larry and joined his friends. Buffy was trying to herd her little rugrats about while stuck in that long dress. Willow was looking happy - well as happy as you could look under a sheet - about taking care of her urchins. He was walking along, keeping an eye on both of them, and trying to keep to the shadows so no one else would notice his costume.

Suddenly, there was a sharp gust of wind. It didn’t flutter the skirts of his costume. But it sent a deep chill down his spine. There was just something freaky about that wind. It was from the wrong direction. It felt hot and cold at the same time. It was too dry for the winds around here in October. It was just… wrong. And then he felt funny, like the costume had just decided to melt all over him. He blinked, and…
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