A gratuitous novelization of the episode
: Lucky ThirteenSummary
: When Xander told the creepy British guy who ran the costume shop he was dressing as a future regeneration of the Doctor so that no one could say his costume wasn’t accurate, he walked out with a sonic screwdriver prop for half list price. Apparently Thirteen wears fatigue pants, turtlenecks, trench coats, and fedoras… Pairings
: canon compliant GEN on the BTVS side. References to past Eight/Grace and Eleven/River (and possibly Eleven/River/Jack, depending on your goggles) for DW. Warnings
: Rating is earned by one instance of graphic violence – and an equally graphic depiction of the fallout therefrom – and one instance of language not suitable for primetime. Beyond that there is nothing here that wouldn’t air in an episode of either show. Continuity note
: Doctor Who
is fictional in the Buffyverse. As Halloween
takes place in October 1997 the only Doctors our heroes (and villains) are familiar with are one through eight, though the canonical lives of nine, ten, and eleven (that have aired up to 11/12) have been included in thirteen’s backstory. Apparently Janus is a fan of spoilers. Disclaimer
: Doctor Who
and it's expanded universe are the property of the BBC. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
belongs to Joss Whedon. Episode 2x6 Halloween
, and therefore all dialogue you recognize from it, was written by Carl Ellsworth. The one bit of quoted Doctor Who
dialogue comes from 12x4 Genesis of the Daleks
and was written by Terry Nation. This bit of fiction was written for fun but not for profit and no copyright infringement was intended.
Xander Harris was not in a good mood.
And to think, the day had started off so well, too. Day before Halloween and all anyone could talk about was candy, or parties, or – in several, more secluded corners – the general mayhem that would follow the ancient and revered tradition of cabbage night, mischief night, or whatever the heck you call the night before Halloween on the hellmouth. Even the teachers were getting in on act, the popular few having already promised no homework for the big night and the eventual gift of leftover candy. The absolute best part though had been Buffy telling them that, contrary to popular belief, Halloween was like the Labor Day of the demon world, a free and mandated day off, and how awesome was that? Oh yeah, Xander’s day had definitely been off to a good start.
So of course Snyder had to go and ruin it.
Before he even knew what happened the crapstick little troll had volunteered them all to chaperone a bunch of sugar-hyped little runts for trick-or-treating tomorrow night. As if he hadn't already made plans of his own.
Really it was the PTA’s fault, because of course kids shouldn’t have to wait for their parents to get home before hitting the streets in search of candy, and naturally a random high schooler they’d likely never met before was the best choice to make sure their precious offspring didn’t decide it was more fun to go play in traffic or something. A deeply flawed system, you ask Xander, and that was before you factored the hellmouth into it. Though it was possible he was just slightly biased.
Then, as if his Halloween plans getting railroaded by the Man wasn’t bad enough, he’d barely had time to let that sink in before he was very nearly pummeled by Larry, neatly saved by Buffy in full-on slayer mode, and then forced to watch as both his dignity and his temper went sailing off into the sunset without him. Pathetic. He’d spent the rest of the school day quietly steaming, burning through an odd cycle of anger and shame and indignation and guilt, and tried to keep his head down while the rumor mill tried to do its worst, once again courtesy of Larry and his collection of sycophants and cheerleaders. He wound up ditching history and ducking out of school early, just to get away from them. Which of course was bound to come back and bite him later. Skipping always did. He even went straight home, too. Waste of a good truancy.
Well, straight meaning no detours to the Espresso Pump, because Synder’s sudden bombshell meant he couldn’t afford to, not if he suddenly had to go costume scrounging, which was a shame because it was finally cider season again and he’d been jonesing for weeks now. As it was he still took the long way around, hoping to walk off the worst of his black mood. He didn’t like being mad at Buffy. She was his second-best friend, and friends had always been kinda thin on the ground for him. Besides, it tended to throw great honkin’ wrenches into his fantasy life. A guy needed
his fantasy life, damn it. Especially on the hellmouth where real life tended to suck rocks.
Thankfully the walk helped some, though finding his house empty when he got there was a nice touch, too. Dad always seemed to have a sixth sense for Xander’s shittier days and he really didn’t want to deal with the old man picking a fight. And without an audience it was easier to check all the usual spots for hidden cash to try and gauge just what he could afford this Halloween. The grand total came to… $14.54.
Xander sighed, and it morphed into a groan as he plopped down heavily on the couch whose cushions he’d just plundered for change. Well, at least there wasn’t some new Big Bad to worry about. That was a nice change from the usual around here. Though on further consideration, he discovered that he rather sided with Buffy on vampires being preferable to sugar-hyped fourth-graders running amuck. Vampires you could stake, children not so much.
But wishful thinking (if you could call it that) wasn’t getting him anywhere. Xander stood with yet another sigh and pocketed his moola. He would need to do some scouting around the house to see what he could throw together, because $14.54 would just barely cover the cost of accessories. And since his parents refused to lend him money – “quit yer beggin’ and get a job
,” had been said more than once – a home-grown costume would have to do.
A fruitless hour of searching later and all Xander managed find were the surplus store army fatigues he wore two Halloweens ago, a beat-up brown fedora that had gramps’ initials sewn into the hatband, and a shoddily patched trench coat he vaguely remembered Uncle Rory leaving here last time he was arrested. Again, crap. Crap multiplied, even.
He was just about to resign himself to an unoriginal Halloween (looks like Captain Xander gets to ride again – hope everything still fits
) when suddenly the coat and hat gave him an idea. Okay, it was less the coat and hat and more the fact he’d left the TV on for background noise. He hadn’t really been paying attention, but apparently Mom was the last one here because it was tuned to PBS. The hour must have ticked over to four, because he’d know that sudden, intrusive bass line anywhere: the opening credits of Doctor Who
. A quick glance confirmed it. Colin Baker, I could kiss you. Or at least knock you unconscious and steal your fashion sense.
With a thoughtful grin he snatched up his finds and ran back up the stairs. Ten minutes later and he’d assembled the hat, the trench, the fatigue pants, the steel-toed boots he stopped wearing after that thing with the oozing slime demon last spring, and – because oddity was the name of the game tonight – the hand-knit cream-colored turtleneck he got from Jesse’s mom last Christmas but hadn’t worn yet. (Knitting, apparently, was how she coped. Xander really would have been quite happy to never have known that.)
Well. Xander had his costume. He just needed one more item to complete the ensemble. Thankfully that new costume shop wasn’t a far walk from his house. Not that he thought they’d actually have what he needed, but still. Maybe he could get a mini-flashlight or something.
The bright day that had so swiftly turned miserable had climbed up a few notches back to awesome. The shop indeed had a sonic screwdriver prop, probably straight out of the BBC catalogue, probably because the proprietor was this faintly lecherous middle-aged British guy. His eyes had practically lit up when Xander picked the prop out of the “miscellaneous and oddities” bin, and he asked which Doctor Xander planned to dress as.
“Not that stupid film version, I hope. Whole thing was rubbish. Canadians
That last one threw Xander a bit. “I thought the guy was English.”
was. Production wasn’t. And whoever heard of the Doctor snogging his companions on camera, anyway? Bollocks! Stupid Hollywood influence.”
Xander kind of agreed, but only because the 4th Doctor was the father he always wished he had – not that he’d ever admit that aloud – and who wants to know about their parents’ sex lives? Just the thought was enough to give him a full case of the wiggins. Still…
“Oh, I dunno. If you take that as proof he can be interested in humans, as a species, then you’re free to imagine she wasn’t the first companion he kissed.” Because Sarah Jane was the mother he always wanted, too. And K-9 the family dog.
Yes, Xander knew exactly how pathetic that sounded. He just didn’t care.
“Oh, I like
you,” British proprietor guy said, even going so far as clapping his hands once for emphasis. “Now, do tell. Which Doctor will be gracing these fair streets tonight?”
Xander shrugged. “A future regeneration,” he said. “One whose outfit has never been seen on Earth before so therefore no one will be able to confuse it for a random collection of stuff found in the back of a closet in suburban California.”
British proprietor guy studied him gravely for a moment. “You, sir, have just redeemed the entirety of your narrow-minded comic-reading Lucas-loving Rodenberry-fellating thoroughly ridiculous
culture. I salute you.” Then suddenly he grinned. “And I’ll sell you that half off. Least I can do.”
Later, Xander will go back and peg that grin as a kind of gleeful anticipation. Right then he was too preoccupied with the sudden joy of buying a cheap plastic replica of official BBC merchandise for six bucks instead of twelve. Yes, the day was rapidly regaining lost ground, Xander thought, as he took the plastic bag containing his prop and headed for the door.
Then he heard Willow’s voice. “Oh, I don't get wild. Wild on me equals spaz
Xander grimaced. She was obviously talking to someone, and that could only mean—
“Don't underestimate yourself. You've got it in you
Yup. Buffy was here too. He still hadn’t quite gotten over his earlier – well, hurt wasn’t the correct word, though it was the one that first came to mind. And for good or ill, Willow chose that exact moment to notice him.
Xander sighed. He wasn’t mad at Willow, so there was no reason he couldn’t play nice for a few. He wandered over to them.
“What’d you get?” Willow asked when she spotted his bag.
Xander flashed a slight grin, one that conveyed his pleasure at the find and yet also probably the slight fear he suddenly harbored that his chosen costume would be considered yet another affront to his manliness. Who
fans were the geek’s geeks on this side of the pond, somewhere between anime nerds and LARPers on the scale of eternal torment.
“That’s not a costume,” Buffy pointed out.
Xander tried to give Buffy a glare, but the attempt fell short. He just couldn’t suffer to stay mad at her for as long as his ego demanded. You’ve got it bad, Harris...
“Yeah, well, I’ve got the actual costume at home,” he informed her. “This, though, is the pièce de résistance
. Call me the Six-Dollar Costume King, baby!” Willow beamed at him, obviously impressed.
Then Buffy turned to him. “Hey, look, Xander. I'm... really sorry about this morning.”
Inwardly Xander smiled. It was nice of Buffy to make the effort, awkward thought it was. Obviously she still didn't get what she'd done, but at least she was acknowledging his feelings about it. That was – more than he'd expected, actually. Outwardly though he feigned a grimace: appearances and all.
“Do you mind, Buffy? I'm trying to repress.”
In response Buffy leaned over and rested her chin on his shoulder. “Okay, then I promise, from now on I'll let you get pummeled.”
In one glorious instant Xander’s knees turned to jelly. The long-desired object of his affections had actually volunteered physical contact! Here she was, leaning against him close enough that he could smell her shampoo. Ooh, coconut...
Then reality set back in, followed swiftly by the need to prevent further embarrassment, and he rolled his eyes. “Thank you,” he said sardonically, but his eyes were smiling, and Buffy smiled back. Emboldened, Xander pressed on. “Okay, y'know, actually I think I could've...” handled it better, too
, he was going to say, but then Buffy wasn’t paying attention to him anymore. Apparently she’d caught sight of a costume hanging in the display and was drawn towards it like a moth to a flame. Or like a valley girl towards the display cases in a fancy-dress boutique. The dress in question was certainly fancy enough to qualify. Xander frowned, nonplussed.
“Hello? That was our touching reconciliation moment, there.”
“I’m sorry,” Buffy apologized distractedly. “It’s just – look at this.”
By now Willow had followed with the awe-struck wanderings. “It’s amazing,” she breathed.
Xander took a moment to appraise it. “Too bulky,” he told them, honestly. Though when neither of them appeared to hear him, he found himself adding: “I prefer my women in spandex,” just to see what would happen. Of course, British proprietor guy just had to choose that exact moment to appear.
“Please, let me,” he cooed.
“Oh, ah – it’s…” Buffy stammered.
Buffy tore her gaze from the dress to regard the man apologetically. “Oh, uh, I-I'm sorry. There's no way I could ever
He glanced at Xander, and winked. “Oh, nonsense. I feel quite moved to make you a deal you can't refuse.”
Buffy took the dress and held it up for admiration in the mirror, dreamily gazing at her reflection for a few moments.
“So do I have a sale? The Doctor isn’t the Doctor without a beautiful time-displaced companion at his side.”
Buffy blinked, confused. “Doctor who?”
“Well, I don’t know,” British proprietor guy drawled. “Ask your friend, here.”
“Right,” Xander said. “I know what we’re doing next Saturday.” They could even invite Giles. Wasn’t liking Doctor Who
pretty much a requirement for British citizenship?
Beside him Willow started bobbling excitedly. “Ooh! We can probably rent the movie, too. It’s been long enough I think. Coastal Video should have it.”
“I have Genesis of the Daleks
,” Xander blurted, cutting off whatever scathing remark British proprietor guy might have said. “On tape. Thank you, public broadcasting.”
British proprietor guy’s eyes practically lit up at that. “Observe the test closely, my friend
,” he said, quoting, grinning at Buffy. “This will be a moment that will live in history
Later, Xander will know exactly
what he meant by that. For now, though…
“I think I can be persuaded to negotiate,” Buffy said, and the sale was made.
Halloween was one of the few days of the year when not even the most diligent students could keep focused on their studies for long. Even Willow, who before was a paragon of focus even on the last day before summer break, seemed oddly fidgety today. Xander wondered what had her so nervous, but eventually he chalked it up to the newfound responsibility for a horde of screaming youngsters that would rest on her shoulders come four o’clock. He wasn’t exactly looking forward to it himself.
Finally the school day ended, and Buffy dragged Willow back to her place to get ready while Xander went home to change into his own costume. The hat fit perfectly, which was good, but the coat was too long in the arms and baggy in the shoulders. Made him look like a hobo, he thought, but he rationalized it was part of the effect.
“Too bad no one will know who I am,” he lamented. “Well, except Willow.” Then he was out the door.
He made it to Buffy’s with a little more than a half hour to spare before crunch time. “Hey,” he greeted when she opened the door, but then he was left sputtering and completely incoherent at the sight of her done up in the ball gown and wig. It took him a bit to recover, bit when he did—
“Buffy! Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia, I am in awe! I completely renounce spandex!”
“Thank you, kind sir,” Buffy replied in persona, curtsying before him. Then she straightened up with a satisfied smile that quickly flashed into an excitement. “But wait ‘til you see…” But whatever she was expecting, she was obviously disappointed when Willow appeared at the top of the stairs in her ghost costume.
“Hi,” she said meekly, waving.
“Casper,” Buffy pronounced, resigned.
“Hey, Will!” Xander greeted cheerfully. “That’s a fine boo you got there.”
The moment degenerated into awkward silence, Buffy being disappointed, Willow somehow embarrassed, and Xander genuinely clueless. It stayed that way for several moments before Buffy’s mom interrupted them.
“Come on guys, you’re going to be late.” She strode past them and out the front door, car keys in hand. The three costumed teenagers strolled dazedly after her.
When they arrived at the school they were met by PTA volunteers armed with clipboards, pens, and lots of warnings and instructions. They passed out nametag stickers, and Xander dutifully wrote “The Doctor” on his, much to the glare of the soccer mom in front of him. He grinned cheerfully at her, and held out an opened bag of jellybeans.
The matron scowled. Xander just shrugged and strolled away.
After check-in the volunteer (and volunteered) teenagers were supposed to stand as pillars to be recognized by their incoming charges. Xander found his designated spot and waited. Buffy was directly across from him, Willow a few chaperones over to his left.
“This is your group, Summers,” Snyder said as he approached her, gaggle of children in tow. “No need to speak to them. The last thing they need is your
influence. Just bring them back in one piece and I won't expel you.”
When he turned to leave Buffy bent down to the kids. “Hi.”
Buffy straightened up and rolled her eyes when Snyder disappeared again. Xander watched the whole scene with a mixture of sympathy and amusement – until he was interrupted by Larry the pirate.
“Where's your bodyguard, Harris? Curling her hair?” He leapt at Xander, who naturally flinched – much to his further embarrassment. Larry just laughed and stalked away. Xander pulled his sonic prop from his pocket and aimed it at the back of Larry’s head. All it did was light up in a soft blue glow. He sighed.
At least it made a nice flashlight.
“Harris!” Snyder bellowed, and Xander snapped to attention. The principal was leading another heard of youngsters his way. “This is your bunch. See to it that they return with all their fingers and toes and I won’t expel you.”
“Yes, sir,” Xander said, mock-saluting. Snyder simply glared at him before stalking away. With a heavy sigh Xander looked down at the… seven children that made up his group.
“Hi, kids.” He tried to sound cheerful.
“Who are you
supposed to be?”
Xander forced himself to smile. “I’m the Doctor.”
“You don’t look like a doctor,” that same kid accused him. “Where’s your white coat?”
“Yeah, well, you don’t look like Batman, neither,” Xander taunted right back. “He’s taller, and has more muscles.” That quieted the rugrat down sufficiently and Xander smiled to himself. He may be useless against thugs like Larry, but he could still hold his own against pre-pubescents in costume.
“Now, pay attention to the quasi-adult,” he told them. “First rule: stay together. No sneaking off and no running ahead.” Just because the vamps were supposed to stay in tonight didn’t mean that they actually would. Better not to take chances. “Second rule: no fighting, arguing, or whining of any kind. I don’t care who said what or who did what. We’ve only got two hours to get as much candy as we can possibly stuff into our sacks, and I promise the better you behave the more houses we’ll get to visit. You may be enemies on the playground, but tonight? Tonight we’re all united in common purpose – to stuff ourselves silly with candy!” This brought a cheer from his flock, and Xander smiled.
“Final tip,” he continued. “On sleazing extra candy: tears are key. Tears will normally get you the double-bagger. You can also try the old 'you missed me' routine, but it's risky. Only go there for chocolate. Understood?”
The children nodded emphatically.
“Good. Let’s go.”