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Defender of the Night

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Summary: Challenge response- Xander dresses as something inhuman for Halloween

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Cartoons > GargoylesMMcGregorFR1817113,296107119169,22110 Feb 0521 Jul 08Yes
CoA Winner

Part One

Author: M. McGregor (You can call me Mac), AKA: erstwhile_visionary@yahoo.com

Title: Defender of the Night

Summary: Challenge response - Xander dresses as something inhuman for halloween.

Rating: Okay, since apparently some people are worried about the MPAA, I'll just describe what's gonna happen and how I'm going to tag it: For now the chapters are rated "18" which means there may be mild sexuality, harsh language, and violence. Future chapters may be rated "21" for much more explicit sexuality, but these chapters will be self-contained and likely posted as separate stories. You decide for yourself if you should read it or not. (as per the guidelines of the challenge)

Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. This is fanfiction, and has nothing at all to do with the actual shows I'm stea- er, "borrowing" from.

Author's Note: This is R for now, and future NC17 parts will probably be self-contained and not entirely essential to the story. At least, that's the plan for now. We'll see how things go.

Author's (LOOONG) Note: A challenge response that happens to involve Halloween again. I implore you to set aside what must surely be by now a horrible hatred of all Halloween fics and just give this one a chance. Be warned, it's technically a crossover too. That's right, double whammy. I like to play on the edge, provided the edge hovers over a pile of very soft pillows and an unbreakable safety line has me connected to the guard railing around the perimiter of the edge.

This response is to Kail Blade's challenge posted on the I Need a Parrot site. Here is the text of the challenge:

----

1. Xander can dress as anything Non-human, but it shouldn't be too disgusting, but as I said, it can be anything.

2. If you choose to, you can make it a crossover.

3. Don't go giving everyone super weapons or even guns, because all stories like that end up stupid. You can give something like that to Xander, but no one else.

4. Don't add any non-BTVS characters. You don't have to kill off Jenny, and you can kill off other characters if you wish to, but please don't make any minor characters into big ones.

5. Xander can have any and as many powers you choose, but he has to have some challenge in beating the bad guys.

6. Xander HAS to get with at least one of the BTVS girls, or as many as you want. I really want this to be a NC-17, but I can understand if you can't write a sex story, but please try.

7. The change MUST prevent Xander from going to school or going out in the general public.

8. Buffy, Jenny and Cordelia must become closer to Xander, in any positive way you want, be it sexually or otherwise.

9. If Xander takes on animal characteristics, he must actively dislike Oz after he’s bitten.

10. No Slash.

11. Xander must save Faith from herself.

---

I'll be attempting to follow all of the rules outlined there. That means I'm playing a bit fast and loose with the characters. While it's technically a crossover, you don't have to know of the source material, all will be explained within. Although if you want to do a google search just to get some idea of what Xander looks like, that wouldn't be a bad thing.

I'm not entirely sure where this story is going, I'm just letting it flow. This one isn't high art, it's just good fun. Enjoy.

PS: Xander is kind of MIA for this first part, for obvious reasons.

On with the story!

Defender of the Night - Part One

One moment he was sleeping. The next was filled with a tearing pain that threatened to overwhelm him. Never before had he felt such a thing upon awakening. Always he was refreshed, energized, and filled with vigor. This time his roar of awakening was a scream of pain and torment, an inhuman, piercing sound that stilled even the chaos that was erupting all about him.

Goliath sunk to his knees, wings clutched tightly around him in a protective cloak, and gasped for air. The pain was ebbing, and his body was beginning to feel like his own again. He looked down, expecting to see the sprawling cityscape of New York beneath him, outshining the stars above. Instead, he saw only pavement.

"Where am I?" he rumbled, his deep voice echoing deep within his powerful chest. He rose to his feet, surveying his surroundings as he stood tall and proud. His wings unfurled, snapping out to his side, and he clenched his powerful hands.

He was no longer in the city, that much was certain. Houses like those shown on many of Hudson's sitcoms lined the streets. As if from a distance, he could hear the term Elisa had used to describe it. Suburb.

"What sorcery is this?" he wonder aloud, his tailing whipping against the air as he turned. Somehow he'd been transported from Manhattan while he slept. What of his clan? What of Elisa? She would not let him be moved, of that he was absolutely certain. She had sworn to watch over Goliath and his clan during the day when they slept as stone statues atop the clocktower above the police station.

Elisa. His heart pounded in his chest. She would die rather than let an enemy have access to them during the day. He had to find out if she was all right.

"Rragh!"

Goliath spun just in time to catch the diminutive creature in mid-air. It gnashed fiercesome and very sharp teeth at him, tiny claws swiping in front of his face. Goliath roared back at it, a truly terrifying sound that could paralyze most creatures long enough for Goliath to end their ability to threaten him or his clan. Indeed, his powerful roar stunned the tiny thing, and Goliath threw it bodily across the street. It thumped across the grass and quickly ran away, in search of easier prey, perhaps.

He was half tempted to chase after it, but he was unsure of where he was, and unsure of the situation. He had to quell his natural instinct to protect, and instead focus on what was happening to him.

"Xander?" an incredulous voice asked. A human voice. Goliath turned his head and looked down at the sleight female that stood before him. Her long red hair reminded him of many of the human females that had occupied Castle Wyvern over a thousand years ago. Her eyes held a deep intelligence, but he was unsure what this word 'Xander' meant.

"Who are you?" he demanded, taking a step towards her. Perhaps she had something to do with his being here. "What is this place?"

"It's me! Willow!"

He frowned at her. "I know of no Willow."

"Yeah," she said breathlessly, staring at him unabashedly. "I guess you don't."

Goliath shifted uncomfortably. He was not unused to humans staring at him whenever they had the opportunity to get a good look, but that did not mean he liked it. He glared back at the redheaded girl. "You know something of what has happened. Tell me. Was it sorcery? Is this another of Puck's tricks?"

"Puck?" she frowned, and suddenly seemed to understand. "You're Goliath! You're really Goliath!"

"How do you know my name?" he rumbled, taking another step towards her. She stepped back in fright, and he felt a certain satisfaction that he intimidated her. It would make her easier to deal with.

"Um, it's kind of a long story," she said. "But I'm pretty sure there's magic involved."

"Magic," he said with distaste. "Then where am I? Is this Avalon?"

She seemed to smile slightly, the kind of smile Elisa gave him when they spoke of jokes only the two of them would get. The smile of a secret shared. He scowled at her.

"N-No, it's not Avalon. It's California, a place called Sunnydale. Only- only this isn't the same California that you might know about. It's a different one, I think."

"What does that mean? How can there be more than one California?"

The girl called Willow frowned, her eyes snaking back and forth as she thought. "How come the one thing you never dealt with was alternate realities? Darn."

"Alternate realities? I have heard of such things on the television. This is an alternate reality?"

"I guess," Willow shrugged. "To you anyway. To me it's the real reality."

"So how do I get back to my reality? Back to Manhattan?"

She slumped. "I don't know. We just, we have to stick together, okay?"

"Why?"

"Because...Because you're not you. You're my friend Xander, only with Goliath in his body."

Goliath frowned, looking down at his body. "This is my body."

She shook her head. "Trust me, you're Xander. He dressed like Goli- like you, and now you're him, I guess."

"This Xander, he was a gargoyle?" He knew of pretty much every surviving gargoyle in the world, and he'd never heard of one named Xander.

"No, he's a human. It's magic, okay?"

He wanted to argue, but Goliath had his own troubling experiences with magic, and this girl seemed to be trustworthy. As Elisa might say, he was going with his instincts, and his instincts told him this Willow was a friend.

"Very well. We stick together. Then what?"

Another pint-sized demon leaped before them, snarling angrily. Goliath quickly jumped in front of Willow, spreading his wings protectively to obscure her from view, matching the creature's snarl.

"No!" Willow yelled. "Don't hurt it! It's a little kid in there!"


The demon sprang at him, and Goliath caught it by its arms, keeping its powerful claws from swiping at him. He grunted, and for a moment he fought the urge to just slam his fist into the things face. Instead he threw it much like he had the first, sending it sailing away from him.

"How is that a child?" he asked her, turning on the girl.

"Y-You know about Halloween, right?"

He nodded. The human holiday where he could walk the streets freely. Humans dressed in elaborate costumes and gave out treats to their children.

"Well somehow everyone got turned into their costumes, understand? Some spell did it. Those demons aren't demons, they're little kids who were dressed that way."

He growled deep in his throat, his eyes lighting up with a soft white glow as he stared at the creatures that kept a careful distance from him. Demons, that's what those creatures were. He had seen many things in his life, but a true demon was not one of them. Not until now.

A thought occured to him.

"Who would know to dress as me?" Supposedly he was this boy, Xander. If that was true, it meant Xander had dressed as him. How could that be, when only a handful of humans was aware of his existence?

"Alternate reality, remember? In our world you're a story. A TV show, actually."

He snorted. "The Goliath show?"

"Gargoyles."

"Then you are aware of what I am, of my kind?"

"Uh, yeah. Look, we gotta get moving, okay? We can talk about it later."

"Moving where?"

"We have to find..." she trailed off, eyes searching the area. She pointed excitedly. "There she is! Buffy!"

"Buffy?" Goliath mouthed to himself, following after Willow as she darted down the street. A woman in a frilly pink dress was pressed against the trunk of a tree, eyes wide as she stared at all around her. Willow ran up to her.

"Buffy, are you okay?"

But Buffy had no answer for her, as she instead stared at Goliath, mouth working silently before she let out a tiny squeak and collapsed. Goliath rolled his eyes and turned back to the street, growling threateningly at two monsters that seemed to be considering getting closer. He flapped his wings once, adding to his impressive presence, and they turned and ran.

"We have to get her out of here," Willow said. "Can you carry her?"

His answer was to scoop up the petite young woman, holding her protectively in his arms. Instinctively, his wings encircled her. He glared at the demons. "If you have a shelter, now would be a good time to go to it. It's not safe on the street."

"Yeah, good point," Willow said. "Come on, we can go back to Buffy's house."

***

The girl in the dress was still unconscious when they arrived at the house. He felt fairly cramped within it, his wings nearly reaching the ceiling if he tried to walk tall, and he had to crouch to fit under the door to get inside. He much preferred the large doorways and high ceilings of many of the buildings in Manhattan, where his seven-foot frame was not so cumbersome.

He placed the swooned girl on the couch and grumbled slightly as he attempted to stretch his wings. He turned to Willow.

"Now what?"

Willow frowned. "Now we just..."

A banging sound interrupted her. Goliath whirled, moving towards the door.

"Don't open it!"

"I hadn't planned to."

Behind him, Buffy stirred on the couch, her eyes fluttering open. "W-Where am I?"

"Buffy?" Willow knelt by her side. "Are you okay?"

"Why do you call me that? Who are you? This is all so strange!"

Goliath stepped back into the room. "I take it she is not herself either."

Buffy's eyes went wide and she screamed as she tried to pull Willow in front of her. Instead, her arms passed through Willow's body and she slumped to the floor, screaming even louder.

Goliath gasped. "What are you?" he demanded.

"I dressed as a ghost, okay? You've seen ghosts before, right?"

He nodded slowly. Oh yes. He'd seen ghosts before. It took him a moment to realize he was growling.

"Oh yeah," Willow said. "You have. I forgot, sorry. I'm a good ghost, so don't worry."

Buffy curled up on the floor, whimpering softly. "This is not real. This is not real."

Goliath looked at her sadly for a moment, wondering if she was always so fragile, or if it were the magic that had her so. Judging from the girl Willow's easy acceptance of the situation, he suspected it was the magic.

He stepped closer to her, and knelt down beside the girl. "This is real," he said in as soft a voice as he could manage, not wishing to frighten her. "You are caught in a magical spell along with the rest of us. Are you able to understand that?"

She stared at him, her lip trembling, and he was certain she was going to scream and run at any moment. He'd seen many a human do the same thing, particularly pampered females like this one.

"Y-You're a demon," she whispered, eyes filled with frightened tears.

"No," he said. "I am a gargoyle."

Her eyes widened. "A gargoyle?" She seemed to calm slightly. "Truly?"

He frowned. "Yes. You are aware of my kind?"

"O-Only stories," she whispered. "Great Uncle Robert used to speak of gargoyles. He would tell me stories when I was a little girl. H-He said that, that they were guardians of humans during the night."

Goliath frowned slightly. It was a simplistic explanation of the gargoyle code, but it would do.

"He spoke the truth. Gargoyles protect, so you've no need to fear me."

She swallowed, sitting up slightly. "I-I never imagined you would be such a monstrous creature."

He scowled then, his features darkening.

"He's not monstrous," Willow said. He'd forgotten she was there. She blushed at him when he looked at her. "Sorry, but you're not."

"I like not to think so," he said with a hint of humor. He stood to his full height, just barely fitting beneath the ceiling, and reached his hand down to the girl, Buffy. She tentatively put her tiny hand in his, and he lifted her to her feet. She squealed slightly as she came off the ground for a moment.

"T-Thank you, sir," she said, staring at him in awe.

"Well at least she's not screaming," Willow said, although it appeared she didn't think that Buffy's awestruck attitude was much better.

As if to punctuate Willow's words, a woman's scream echoed from outside. Goliath turned his head to the sound, springing to action at once. He bound towards the door and flung it open, racing outside. As he moved, he could hear Buffy asking, "Surely he'll not desert us."

Out on the street, he quickly scanned the area, spotting a dark-haired girl in a cat-costume running from a hairy man-creature. She looked over her shoulder as she ran, screaming, "Somebody help me!"

Goliath sprang towards her, bounding over her and blocking the hairy creature's path. "Get behind me!" he bellowed. The girl gasped and did as she was told. Goliath spread his wings wide, roaring at the creature. It scrambled to a stop and, snarling once, turned to run, clearly not willing to face off against such an intimidating creature as Goliath.

He turned, letting his wings clasp around his neck to cloak around him, and he reached a hand out to the girl. "Are you all right?"

She stared up at him. "Why aren't you eating me?"

He rumbled. "Would you prefer I did?"

She shook her head quickly. "No! No, that's fine. Uh...So, you're a good demon?"

"I am not a demon," he growled. "I am a gargoyle."

"Yeah, world of difference," she said sarcastically, but she took his hand and allowed him to pull her up. She stared up at him, nearly two feet taller than she was, wings not included. "Wow. You're big."

"No, I am Goliath," he said with good humor.

"Cordelia," she said.

"Pleasure to meet you."

A monstrous roar interrupted their introductions, and he turned to see three demons racing down the street. Without thought he whirled and picked up Cordelia, bounding towards the house.

"Hey!" she exclaimed, but he ignored her as he quickly got back inside, releasing her in the living room. "You don't have to be Mr. Grabby Hands."

He frowned slightly, but said nothing.

"Cordelia!" Willow said a moment later. Cordelia frowned at Willow, looking her up and down. Then she glanced at Buffy, who was shaking slightly, seemingly unsure whether to run from Goliath or to hide behind him. After a moment she seemed to make up her mind, and moved behind him, trusting more in her childhood stories than her current fear.

"What's going on?" Cordelia asked.

"Okay," Willow said, taking a deep breath. "You're name's Cordelia. You're not a cat, you're in high school, and we're your friends. Well, sort of."

"That's nice, Willow. And you went mental when?"

Willow frowned. "You know us?"

"Yeah. Lucky me. What's with the name game?"

"A lot's going on."

"No kidding!" Cordelia exclaimed. "First I get attacked by Jo-Jo the dog faced boy, then the incredible Hulk with wings shows up and runs me in here like I'm a football!" She held up her sleeve, showing Willow the torn material. "Look at my costume! Do you really think Partytown's gonna give me my deposit back? Not on the likely."

She frowned then, and looked around. "Hey where's Xander? He didn't get eaten by a demon or anything did he? I mean, not that I care."

Willow gave her a sheepish look and gestured to Goliath. "Uh, that's Xander."

Cordelia turned to stare at him, eyes wide. "Him? But he's purple!"

"My coloring has been described as twilight," Goliath grumbled, a little hurt. "Not purple."

"Please," Cordelia said, looking back to Willow incredulously. "There's no way that's Xander. He's like twice his size!"

"I kinda saw him change," Willow said. "Trust me, that's Xander. Didn't you see his homemade costume earlier?"

"I guess. So he doesn't remember who he is?"

"If you mean do I remember being this Xander, then no, I do not," Goliath informed her. "However, I will admit that there is a sense of familiarity about all of you."

"Wow," Cordelia breathed. "Who knew Xander could have such a deep voice."

"Whatever," Willow said. "I'm going to get Giles, so you guys just sit tight here. Then we'll try and figure out what's going on. If something tries to get in, uh, just fight it off, okay?"

Cordelia pointed at Goliath. "Totally your department."

"Y-You won't let anything get in, will you?" Buffy squeaked from behind Goliath.

"No, you'll be safe in here," Goliath promised. This was territory he was familiar with. Protect the castle. The castle in this case was this home. He could do that.

"What's that riff?" Cordelia asked, referring to Buffy's new demure attitude.

"It's like amnesia. She can't remember anything, just like Xander. Just sit tight." She turned to leave.

"Who died and made her boss?" Cordelia wondered, just as Willow passed through the wall, shocking her into silence.

"I think she did," Goliath replied.

***

Buffy stared at the photograph. "This could be me," she said with cold dread.

"It seems likely," Goliath agreed, glancing at the picture of Willow, Buffy, and a dark-haired boy.

"So you're really not a demon?" Cordelia asked, ignoring Buffy's amazement. Buffy looked up at her words, and for a moment she seemed to regain her fear of Goliath, worried that he might truly be a demon.

"No, I am a gargoyle."

"I thought gargoyles were the big ugly stone things on churches and stuff."

Goliath scowled slightly. "Gargoyles revert to stone during the day," he explained, ignoring her comment about their appearances.

"Oh, so that's why you're not ugly and stone?"

He sighed. "That's correct."

"A-And they protect innocent people, isn't that right, sir?" Buffy asked, biting her lip and stepping closer to him.

"Gargoyles protect their castle and all who dwell within," he agreed. Although he'd recently begun expanding that code to protecting all those who lived in Manhattan, and at times, the world itself. It was a new era, and protecting ones castle was no longer sufficient.

Buffy seemed to relax, and took another step closer to him.

Goliath's ears perked as he heard a soft scraping sound emitting from the kitchen. He let his wings spread out quickly, obscuring Buffy from view of whatever was coming. "Get behind me," he told Cordelia, his eyes glowing softly as he stared.

"Why, what's the pro-Ack!" Goliath cut her off, throwing her behind him as he turned to meet the incoming blur. A powerful fist slammed across his jaw, and he staggered back. Goliath roared, catching the next punch and cracking his fist across the jaw of the man that was attacking them. He was far stronger than any human Goliath had ever fought. Could he be one of Oberon's children? Perhaps one of Xanatos's experiments?

"Buffy!" the thing yelled. "Get away from it!"

"Angel?" Cordelia gasped. Goliath punched him again, rocking his head back and grabbing Angel by the throat. He nearly tackled him across the room, pressing the powerful human up against the wall, his talons around the man's throat.

"If you know this person, tell me quickly," Goliath growled, eyes glowing brightly as he glared at the man.

"He's Angel! He's on our side!" Cordelia said quickly. "And he's...Oh my God, you really are a vampire."

The man's face was deformed, Goliath suddenly realized, and he had inhuman fangs in his mouth. His eyes had a faint yellow glow to them. The man shook his head, and the features vanished.

"Good vampire," he said, struggling to remove Goliath's iron grip on his throat. "Will someone get this thing off of me?"

"This *thing* wants to know who you are and why you attacked us," Goliath demanded, slamming him against the wall again.

"I told you, he's Angel. He's on our side, you can let him down."

Goliath turned his head to look at Cordelia. She gave him a serious look, as if to tell him to get with the program. He sighed and released Angel, letting the man slump to the floor.

"Okay, I'm very confused," Angel said, struggling to get to his feet.

"They turned into their costumes, everybody's a monster, it's a whole big thing," Cordelia said. "Are you really a vampire all the time, or is it just a costume thing?"

"All the time," he admitted. "What's this about the costumes?"

She gestured to Buffy, who squeaked and quickly darted behind Goliath, assured now that he truly was dedicated to protecting them.

"They don't remember who they are," Cordelia explained. "Buffy dressed as a noblewoman, and Xander dressed as uh, Goliath, whoever that is."

"That's Xander?" Angel asked, incredulous.

"So it seems," Goliath rumbled, crossing his arms and glaring. Buffy whimpered, holding onto Goliath's large forearm and staring at Angel. Angel frowned.

"So now what?"

"Rargh!" nearly a dozen demons of various sizes burst into the room, drawn by the rumor that there was a particularly fiercesome demon guarding the house. These demons were determined to prove they were really the scariest monsters out there that night, and so decided to attack in force.

Goliath wasted no words, and met the largest of the demons with a roar of his own, the piercing, soul-shaking cry that caused everyone present to go rigid with fear for half a moment. It was a moment Goliath took advantage of, swinging a mighty punch at the largest demon's head, sending it crashing through the window and out into the street below.

"Get to safety!" he bellowed, a demon on either arm as he swung his heavy tail, batting one across the face. Behind him, Buffy panicked, and ran out the back door before anyone could stop her.

***

Several minutes later, Goliath finally knocked the last child-demon unconscious. He took a heavy breath, his wings sagging slightly. Blood trickled down his chest where he'd received a shallow cut from one of the demon's claws, but he was otherwise unharmed. He would be fine after a day of stone sleep.

He looked around, and realized that the man, or vampire, apparently, called Angel had remained with him, fighting off the demons. Cordelia was also there, although she'd done little more than bat away any demon to come close to her with a lamp she pulled off the table.

The other girl wasn't there. Buffy, the one he'd said he would protect. Without a word they all exited out the back door, intent on finding her trail.

"I think she went this way," Angel said, jogging down the street.

"How do you know?" Goliath asked in a low rumble.

"I can smell her."

Goliath frowned, but said nothing. He looked around, searching for something to climb. A telephone pole would have to do.

"I'll search for her from the air," he said. "I won't be far."

Angel looked him up and down. "You mean those wings actually work?"

Goliath smirked. "Well enough."

Then he leaped towards the telephone pole, springing off of it and onto a rooftop. From there he jumped again, this time to the top of the pole, finally he made one last leap into the air before spreading his wings wide and gliding out across the town. He might not be able to fly, but he was excellent at gliding.

"We have to find her," Angel muttered a moment later.

"She'll be okay," Cordelia said reassuringly.

He shook his head. "Buffy would be fine. Whoever she is now, she's helpless."

Neither of them noticed the vampire with the bleached-blond hair that stood behind a tree, having arrived only second ago. He grinned and looked down at the child-sized demons around him.

"Do you hear that my friends?" There were several growls. "Somewhere out there is the *tenderest* meat you've ever tasted, and all we have to do is find her first!"

***

Buffy ran, panting heavily as she held her skirts in her hands. She was scared beyond reckoning, and confused beyond even that. This new world was strange, dark, and truly hideous, and her only protector, the storybook creature named Goliath, was likely dead at the hands of those terrible demons.

She came to a stop in an alleyway, unable to run any further. She took a few gasping breaths and stepped forward, trying to figure out what she should do next. A sound came from behind her, and she turned to see a dirty, disheveled man ambling towards her, a rusty sword held in his hand. He smiled a smile full of rotten teeth, and chuckled at her.

"Ooh," Larry the pirate said. "Pretty, pretty."

Buffy whimpered and turned on her heels, intent on running. Instead she became tangled in the long material of her dress and tripped, falling to the dirty pavement. She struggled to rise, but Larry's strong fingers closed around her arm. He yanked her up and tossed her against the wall. She cried out softly, but her voice left her as his filthy hands brushed the hair away from her face and pressed his grotesque lips together to kiss her.

An inhuman roar cut through the night, and twin white orbs flared as Goliath dove down into the alley, tackling Larry off of her. Buffy stared in equal parts shock and joy, unable to believe her protector, her hideous, monstrous protector, was actually here. It was just like her Great Uncle Robert had told her!

Goliath grabbed Larry by the face, throwing him into the wall with a heavy thud. The pirate slid down the wall, unconscious before he was fully slumped against the ground. Goliath turned, the light in his eyes dying away as he looked at her.

"Are you all right?" he asked, concern etched on his inhuman face.

Buffy stared at him in awe, unable to speak. He took this to mean yes.

"Come along milady," Goliath said, slipping into the vernacular he'd once used when dealing with the Princess of Castle Wyvern. "It's not safe here." He held out his hand, his powerfully built and very large hand. She tentatively put her tiny one in his, and he closed his talons around her, pulling her towards him as he picked her up protectively. She put her arms around his neck, putting her face to his shoulder and closing her eyes as his large, leather-like wings encircled her protectively.

"Buffy?" Angel called as he and Cordelia arrived in the alley. He sagged in relief when he saw Goliath holding her, but frowned at the way Buffy clung to him.

"She's safe," Goliath said. "Come, we've got to get to shelter."

"Guys!"

They turned, and saw Willow running at them.

"Willow!" Angel said.

"Guys, you've gotta get inside," she looked behind her, and they saw Spike and his gang of demons coming down the alley. Goliath looked up, noting that there was no place to gain enough height for gliding.

Angel pointed in the other direction. "This way! Find an open warehouse."

"Lead the way," Goliath rumbled, closing his wings tighter around Buffy as she clung to him. He quickly followed Angel into the darkness of the alley, his large form well camouflaged do to his dusky purple coloring.

Spike and his demons followed at a slow, deliberate pace, but the killer of two Slayers paused for a moment as he caught the movement of the others as they retreated. He frowned. He could have sworn he'd just seen some kind of...Winged monster. Nah. Couldn't be.

"Over here!" Angel gestured for the others to follow, having found an open door. He held it open as Cordelia rushed inside the warehouse. Goliath followed a second later, holding Buffy beneath to his body tightly and shouldering the door open, his wings closed around him.

He let his wings unfurl, and knelt slightly as he carefully let go of Buffy. She continued to cling to his neck, and whimpered at the idea of him leaving her alone.

"I need to secure the door," he told her. "Stay with her," he said, pointing to Cordelia. "I have to be able to move in order to protect you."

Buffy whimpered again but nodded slowly, releasing his neck and sliding down to the floor. She quickly moved beside Cordelia as she'd been told, and grabbed her arm fearfully.

"Oh faboo," Cordelia sighed. "More clinging."

Goliath nodded resolutely and turned back to Angel. "Are there any other entrances?"

"I don't know."

"Then we secure this first. Help me move these grates."

Cordelia raised an appreciate eyebrow as Goliath picked up a heavy metal grate, his muscles rippling powerfully as he rose it over his head. She could hardly believe he was supposed to be Xander.

"He'll protect us," Buffy whispered beside her. "It's what gargoyles do. They protect innocent girls from terrible monsters."

Cordelia rolled her eyes at the naive statement. "He *is* a terrible monster."

Buffy shook her head, recalling the tales her Great Uncle had told her. "They're frightening so they may scare away the monsters," she whispered. "But there is no nobler creature than a gargoyle." She sighed, remembering how her Great Uncle had calmed her night terrors by telling her stories of the stone gargoyles surrounding her estate coming to life and protecting a girl just like her. She always knew they weren't just fairytales. Now a real life gargoyle was protecting her, a magnificent, powerful man-creature that was every bit as wonderful as her imagination had conjured up for her.

He wasn't a monster, this Goliath. He might be frightening when he wished to be, but he was also terribly gentle, and she could sense his deep caring when he'd wrapped his wings around her. He was tall, and while he was clearly not human, he had a chiseled, handsome face and a powerfully built body that was close to human in appearance. His giant wings and tail added to the effect of making him appear demonic, but now, looking at him, they seemed more graceful than demonic. Indeed, she found herself thinking that he was truly a remarkable creature to look upon. Beautiful, in his own unique way.

Goliath certainly had little modesty, that was certain. Goliath wore very little, only large leather loincloth held up by a black belt. The rest of his form was bare, revealing smooth skin that could have been polished marble, were it not for the coloring, which was that of the pre-dawn sky. He had massive, broad shoulders and powerfully built arms. His hands appeared mostly human, although they were slightly elongated with a talon-like appearance. His legs were mostly humanoid as well, save for the feet, which were formed as as claws with an animalistic look to his lower leg. A thick tail jutted out from beneath the modest strip of cloth about his waist, and it helped him balance as he and Angel piled heavy objects before the door.

She shrieked and clutched Cordelia tighter when a heavy fist pounded against the door.

"They're coming!" Goliath said, rushing forward to brace his large form against the door. He was nearly pressed back by the heavy force of the next push. "Go!" he bellowed. "I will hold them as long as I can!"

Angel looked from him to Buffy, and seemed to make his decision. He turned to Cordelia and Buffy, ushering them away.

"No!" Buffy cried. "I want to stay with him!"

"Come on!" Angel said, half-dragging her away.

Goliath grunted and braced his back against the door. Another heavy blow slammed into it, shaking it. Two more blows struck against it before he could hold it no longer, he tumbled forward, the door exploding open. Demons poured into the room, some child-sized, some adult, and all with supernatural strength. They swarmed him, and Goliath roared as he swung his arms, batting some away.

***

Spike grinned as he strode towards the Slayer. To his right, Angel was held in the grip of several demons, unable to do anything to stop him. To his left was the strange winged monster that had fought off so many of his new demon pals. He growled and struggled, attempting to break free of the grip of the demons that held him. The creature's eyes glowed bright white as he did so.

Spike peered at him. "Just what are you, anyway? Some demon?"

The thing just roared and tried to attack him, but was held back by the demons. Spike laughed and flicked him in the forehead before turning back to the Slayer.

"Look at you," he said, reveling in the experience. "Shaking. Terrified. Alone." He inhaled deeply through his nose. "Lost little lamb."

He stroked the side of her face as Buffy whimpered, pressed up against a crate. He brushed her hair away from her face and then suddenly backhanded her, causing her to cry out.

"I love it," he gloated.

"Buffy!" Angel shouted. Goliath roared wordlessly and strained against his captors. Spike grinned and grabbed Buffy's hair, bringing his mouth to her neck.

Goliath roared again and suddenly surged forward with renewed strength, his powerful arms straining. He threw three of the largest demons aside in one angry outburst, and punched another in the face before surging up, throwing the demons off of him.

"Get him!" Willow shouted. "You can kill that one!" she said, pointing to Spike. Goliath wasted no time, rushing across the warehouse floor.

In that same instant, Rupert Giles smashed the statue of Janus that was the focal point for the costume spell. Back in the warehouse, the magic faded away, reverting all to who they once were. Demons became children, ghosts vanished as their bodies came back to life, and Buffy Summers was again the Slayer.

Only one person wasn't affected in the same way. Xander Harris, for whatever reason, reverted only back to his own mind. His body remained that of Goliath, leader of the gargoyles. He frowned as his mind once again returned to him, Goliath fading from his thoughts.

"What the-?" he asked in a deep rumbling voice, staring at his hands.

"I'm scared!" a child's voice cried. "I want my mommy!"

Buffy grinned at Spike, who held a brown-haired wig in his hand and wore a perplexed expression on his face.

"Hi honey. I'm home."

She lashed out with her fist, punching him in the stomach, and followed up with two strikes to his face. Spike staggered back, nearly falling over a set of mobile steps. He grabbed a long metal pipe and swung it at her angrily. Buffy caught it with one hand and wrenched it free, twirling it like a staff before swinging it across his face and jabbing him in the gut. Spike doubled over in pain.

"You know what?" she said with a grin. "It's good to be me."

Then she swung the pipe mightily, catching Spike under the jaw and sending him sailing backwards and into Xander's path. Xander reacted without thought, catching the vampire in his new massive hands. His powerful grip bit into him, and Spike cried out in pain.

"Whoa," Buffy said, staring at Xander, not realizing he hadn't changed back. Xander stared at Spike for a second and then shoved him away, sending him back towards Buffy. Buffy, distracted by Xander, decided against toying with Spike any longer and snapped piece of wood off of a crate, slamming into the dazed Spike's chest and dusting him.

"Xander?" Buffy asked.

"Yuh huh," he replied, his voice deep and powerful.

"He's still Goliath!" Cordelia exclaimed. "Why is he still Goliath?"

"This is going to wear off, right?" Xander asked, a hint of panic in his (Goliath's) voice.

"Uh, I dunno," Buffy said. "Everyone else's wore off." She tugged at her hair, which was once again its usual unnatural blonde.

"Are you okay?" Angel asked her, stepping beside her.

"Yeah," she said, smiling up at him sadly. Angel put his arm around her, but Buffy stepped away, back towards Xander.

"We have to get you to Giles," she said. "Do you feel okay?"

Xander frowned. Did he feel okay?

"You mean besides the fact that I'm a seven foot tall gargoyle with wings?" Xander asked.

"Well yeah," she said, staring up at him. It was strange for her to appear so small to him. He stared at his large hands. He could easily have picked her up around the waist with just one hand.

"I guess so," he said, flexing his fist. He sighed and looked around. "Hey," he frowned. "Where's Willow?"
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