Xanbo: First Halloween
Xanbo: First Halloween
Author: Tohonomike firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners...it will start off with the Joss/ME characters but any other characters aren’t mine either and any real-life folks are clearly not mine. NO money is involved. None are mine.
October 30th, 1997
Xander Harris arrived at the costume store ahead of his friends; lots of people were looking at the various offerings the owner had out, but nothing caught his eye. For the last eight months, since Buffy had opened his eyes to the ‘real world’ around him, he’d more often than not helped cover her tracks. And learned a few things.
For instance, it seemed the longer vampires wear clothes and such, the more likely the items are to dust. Parts of vamps will just be body parts if the vampire is still ‘alive’ unless outside of a given radius, at which point they’ll dust.
Xander was surprised that Buffy, ewwww factor aside, just left the remains wherever she dusted them, except in the Bronze where she’d kick things behind tables or such. Xander as a result of making sure things weren’t noticed, starting with Jesse’s scout ring, had become well-known at pawn shops, used clothing stores and church charities.
On Labor Day, he’d moved into his parents’ basement as his own apartment. His old man had asked him where he was getting his money when handed three hundred for ‘room and board’ in a sober moment.
“Do you really want to admit to police sometime in the future that you knew?”
“Not really, but it’ll cost ya more.”
“Then I’ll live pretty well on the streets and you won’t get the money. So here’s the deal, Dad…I hand you money once a month, you pretend I don’t’ exist and both you and mom never go into the basement. Don’t’ have to feed me or anything. But if my friends come over, you don’t talk to them. Just hold the door open and let them in. I’ll make it easy. I’ll put in a separate bell for them to use that only rings down here. No, I’m not dealing in drugs and nothing illegal will be on the property.”
“You two haven’t given a damn about me in ten years. I’m making this easy on all of us by not pretending anymore. So instead of you smacking me around and ignoring me the rest of the time, I’m paying you to ignore me ALL of the time.”
“What about laundry? Chores?”
“Washer and dryer’ll go on the back porch. No chores. Like I said, I’m paying you two to ignore me until the month I graduate high school is over. Mom will sign whatever papers come from the school. After graduation, I’m gone for good.”
“Yeah, every month.”
Xander after that had moved some of the nicer furniture he’d cleared out of former vampire’s apartments…and with judicious use of shelves, bunk beds and other space savers, had quite the nice place. Including a big-screen entertainment center.
He’d initially felt dirty, but now only a little guilty, hocking rings, taking cash out of wallets, and stuff. He almost never went into apartments, never knowing whether he’d end up in a nest, but he was able to put aside enough money for a house, the transfer of two vehicles, insurance prepaid for two years (including health and hospitalization), some decent clothes and more for either college or some kind of job training.
“Can I help you young man?” the proprietor asked solicitously.
“Yeah, I like what you have, but I was looking to go as something a little more real, if you know what I mean.”
“You aren’t quite caught up in all of the Halloween stuff?”
“I used to enjoy it, but I’ve been shanghaied into escorting a bunch of little kids around tomorrow night. Hoping to find something just a bit on the real side. Thought I’d go as a soldier but I seemed to have lost the fatigues and such, and a plastic gun would look stupid. And I sure don’t want Giles to roll his eyes if I showed up with a stupid costume.”
“Yes, quite. Would that be Rupert Giles? I knew one back in London.”
“Yeah, wow, you know the G-Man? Was he always a tweed-wearing book guy?”
“No, he wasn’t,” Ethan sighed, “Once he was actually quite fun. Old stick in the mud now, eh?”
“Mostly, but a great guy.”
“Well, I’ll have to surprise Rupert with a visit once Halloween is over. Tell you what, since you’re a protégé of his, please look around my store room; I have a lot of items that were either here already or were delivered only a while ago. Give you first crack at it, and if you buy instead of rent, I’ll mark it half off. Fair?”
“Thanks, that’s great.”
Xander had found an old army officer’s footlocker in the back, and glancing at just the top layer of stuff, figured he had more than enough for a dress uniform and the works. It was a bit heavy, and so he left it and came out to find a dress catching Buffy’s eye. Before Ethan noticed the girls, Xander had asked about the trunk. The man nodded, said he’d take a quick look and bring it out. If they agreed on a price, it was Xander’s.
Xander rolled his eyes, but was glad when his two friends who were girls moved along.
“Hey…” he began as he approached, only to have the Slayer whip around and barely miss hitting him. “Whoa, I come in peace, Buff. And I did make noise walking up.”
“Sorry, Xan, just not focusing to hard…didn’t really want to do anything for Halloween.”
“”Well, you and Willow could go as Xena and Gabrielle…”
“You just want to see me in leather.”
“I am male and a teenager. So I’m thinking yes. But if you want a night off from the hero business, Willow could go as Xena and you as Gabrielle. You are, after all, a hot blonde with gorgeous eyes. If anyone can manage to make the costume hot it’s you.”
He wandered off as Buffy smiled in delight, then got a devilish look in her eye as he left to haggle with the creepy shop owner about a big box and some kind of costume with a big helmet that was vaguely familiar.
The two were leaving the store, Buffy turning to Willow, “Was that Xander driving a red convertible?”
“I think it was…and he didn’t offer us a ride. We’ll just have to have a word with mister-I-have-a-car tomorrow.”
Xander smiled as left the costume of the warrior with Angel, his feigning of disinterest covering the hoped-for prank.
Arlington National Cemetery, October 30th, 1997
General Trautman sighed as he left the funeral; he’d been surprised at the number of people who had showed up; nearly a hundred, many of them people John had helped over the years since resuming a career in the Special Forces. And a few of them his staff from the Sunnydale Armory, all that was left of John’s command of an inter-service training center after returning from Desert Storm as a one-star in spite of his long history as a lone wolf in the pack.
Sunnydale, where a week ago some kind of vicious animal attack had ended the man’s life. Trautman considered this as he got into his car, the driver closing the door and stepping around. Trautman had heard about certain things over the years, heard stories, but never could pin down how they started. And John had mentioned something about the town not being right before his death.
His aide, waiting in the car, handed him a message that told him to the effect that John’s personal effects had either been misplaced, stolen, or accidentally donated to the local surplus stores.
“Damn,” the man that had made one of the world’s preeminent one-man SF teams, “I guess it’s a good thing we’re heading back. It must be some damn clerical error. After all, who’d want to steal the personal effects of John Rambo.”