Well, this is the first fic I am posting here. I am aware msot of you folks don't know what Tsukihime, or TYPE-MOON is, so I am going to try and make things as understandable as possible.
Now, without further ado...
All Hallows Eve.
Ethan Rayne glanced at the young man before him. He was dressed in a haphazard manner, something only an American could do and not be considered mentally damaged. In his case, though... in his case he was taking it to the extreme.
“Ahhh, yeah, er... I wanted to know if you had a toy gun?”
“A toy gun?”
“Yeah, for a soldier costume, I have some fatigues back home and…” oh no, lamented the Englishman, not another. It seemed most of the teens didn't have a creative bone in their body. As much as he'd like to see the boy before him squished like an orange... no, he was not that petty. And chaos needed diversity.
“Sorry... I can’t help you with that,” he said, pointing at the empty bin by the counter. Predictably the boy seemed a bit depressed. “However, it would be poor form for someone in my position to let you go empty handed.”
“Uh... what do you mean?” Suspicion was evident in his voice. Maybe... hmmm... it had potential.
“Well, it seems some of my sections haven't been doing too well, particularly cosplay. Few costumes have been removed from that rack.”
Ahh... there it was, the question...
“Yes, ahhh… it is a more elaborate form of costume. Pays a bit more attention to detail than your average Halloween 'costume'.” He made certain to properly accentuate the last word. “Most of them are based off Japanese animation and games.”
Hah, it amused Ethan, in how easy it seemed. Just give them the right words, present them the right scenario and they will gladly march to their deaths.
“But I do believe I have the perfect costume for you; what is your opinion of demon hunters?” There was a small smirk on his face as he spoke. That caught Xander off balance.
“Yes, from a quaint little story, a rather cheerful young man with the ability to see death. It's from a game called Tsukihime.”
Ethan blinked at the mangling of the word and to yet another proof of the American educative system, or lack there of. It was, ultimately, not of his concern.
“A rough translation would be moon princess, an allusion to one of the characters, I believe.” They moved through the store towards one of the more isolated racks
“Now, let's see,” he said while moving his hands though the costumes. “Ah, here it is.”
“That's it?” Xander said, pointing at the school uniform.
“Ahh... you were expecting something more grand, weren't you?”
“Well, maybe.” True, most of the other costumes seemed to look extravagant, some even cool, but...
“Heh, maybe I'd would have too... But, then again, a true demon hunter looks like anyone else. At least that is what I think.” There was that confabulatory smile on his face again.
And again, Xander wondered if the man was implying what he thought he was implying.
Oh, he wouldn't call himself a demon hunter, barely an opportunistic vampire killer, but...
“I... don't know, it looks expensive,” he said, deflating a bit.
“And it is. That is why it is not for sale, but for rent. And, just to sweeten the deal,” he said as he reached towards the costume and extracted a CD case. “Here is the game it came from, it is in Japanese, I fear, but I do have an English patch of the game, somewhere. I am sure I'll be able to have it at hand by the time you return the costume.”
“I...” he looked down at the card with the more detailed description of Shiki Tohno. It was a bit intriguing, he admitted. “Well... and how much is it going to cost me?”
“Ahh, that, is an entirely subjective matter... But for you, well, can't have too high a price, now can we? After all you only came here for a toy gun, if I recall correctly.” He smiled... he had his sale.
The spell hit Xander without warning, with the strength of a freight train. One moment he had been walking with his children and the next there was a searing pain in his chest.
His hand moved instinctively towards the pain, towards the wound. His mind raced to understand what was happening, but only could only understand the fear and the pain while his body desperately tried to force air back into his lungs as his mind tried to understand the situation.
But then the pain grew beyond what his threshold, costing him control of his body and he fell, like a puppet with cut string.
Shiki blinked, trying to clear his mind. His head ached and his memory felt clouded.
His life had never been very normal, and as of late it had taken a deeper turn towards the strange, but he had never found himself in this situation. That is to say, kneeling in a park? Garden? No, a street was nearby, but it didn't seem familiar.
Slowly he incorporated himself, he was... well, that one was a good question. Things – everything – felt weird, out of place. But it was then when he noticed the screams and growls and all doubt banished from his mind.
Time seemed to slow down to a crawl as he removed his glasses and reached for his switchblade, Nanatsuya. If someone would have been close enough, they might have noted the blue-ish hue his eyes took as Nanatsuya's blade was bathed in the pale light of the moon.
The first thing Xander felt was the headache, it was also the second and third. The fourth, on the other hand, was probably the mattress below him.
Slowly, he incorporated himself, but decided to remain sitting on his bed. He was still not fully awake and his head wasn't helping. Absently, he reached towards the nightstand for his glasses and, after rubbing his face he put them on.
Last night had been... weird; actually, it had reached a whole new level of weirdness.
He remembered being Shiki, he remembered his life and…
“How did I get here?” he asked aloud. Talking to oneself wasn't a healthy habit, but neither was living on the mouth of hell.
He remembered Halloween, at least in bits and pieces, but...
And then he realized something... He was wearing glasses, glasses he had just put on.
“What the?” And with that, he removed them.
Maybe, he decided, it would have been better if he hadn't. Correction, he really wished he hadn't. They were everywhere, in the walls, the roof, the furniture... the lines that seemed to crisscross everything in sight.
He felt an icy chill run down his spine.
His mind was still jumbled and his head felt like it had been used as an impromptu drum, but he did remember enough of being Shiki to know what those lines meant.
They were what anyone with the 'mystic eyes of death perception' could, or rather, would see.
Not knowing their meaning might have been better...
Actually, not seeing them at all would have been ideal.
“Ok Xander, this is not the time to panic, no matter how justified you think it is. This has to be a dream, any moment now you are going to wake up and feel silly...”
“Any moment now...”
Xander sighed... this was bad, very, very bad.
He carefully put the glasses back on, and sighed in relief when the lines were banished. They would return the moment he'd remove them, though.
He took a deep breath and, again, tried to get control over his still flickering emotions. At the same time, his mind tried to wrap around the events that had just taken place and their full implications.
Willow wasn’t having a much better morning. While she hadn't suffered the same shock Xander had, or any shock what so ever, the events of the night before weighted heavily on her mind. She could still recall the icy feel of her 'death', not to mention the following insubstantiality, or how it felt to go through things (and people).
But most of all she thought of Xander. He had scared her last night, even if he hadn't been Xander, anymore than 'Lady Elizabeth' had been Buffy. But...
Her mind recalled the scene, he had been in a weird stance – probably martial, he had dressed as a demon hunter after all – while a few of the transformed children stood at some distance from him, waiting to attack.
But... the feral smile on her friend's face, and the wicked gleam of the blade...
And then he moved.
“Wait, they’re humans!” Willow had shouted then, in panic and fear. Still unsure why she had been so certain that it was he, and not the children, was the one true danger there.
She had held her breath as he moved forward, even as he flicked his wrist and the gleam of the knife banished from sight. Even as he dealt with the knee-high monsters and even after they had been routed.
However, it had been something that had happened much later that left her in her current state.
When the spell was broken she had found herself in the place she had 'blacked out'. But when she caught up with Buffy and the rest, she had seen Angel carrying an unconscious Xander slung over his shoulder. He was unconscious and, as far Giles could say, didn’t have a concussion.
Apparently, Buffy thought he had been knocked out around the time the spell broke, but she wasn't so sure about it. She had seen him fight and, as far as she knew, the spell’s victims had come back no worse for the wear.
At least they had all had seemed to be fine, all but Xander.
She took a glance at the phone, and hesitantly she picked it up. She needed to talk to her friend.
“Oh hey. Hi Wills... how are you?”
“I... I’m fine, Xand, you?”
“Eh... guess I’m fine too, at least given the circumstances... say, Wills?”
“I know this might sound kinda weird, but I kinda have gaps in my memory and, well, I wasn't too sure how things ended last night.”
“Ahh... that, well, Buffy told me she found you out cold, in the warehouse,” Willow nearly babbled.
“Weird, don't remember being hit.... But I did wake up with a headache,” he added pensively. Not so weird then.
“Not... not to bad?” Concern was back.
“Nah, had worse on patrol. So, you know how I ended up back home?”
“That... well, you see... angelkindacarryedyou,” this time she did babble.
“Oh,” he semi-growled.
“Xander! He helped you, at least sound grateful.” Only to impress Buffy, he added in thought.
“Wills, he is a vampire,” he responded bluntly.
“A good one.” Xander couldn't help but roll his eyes at that one.
“For as long as he can fight his nature, he can’t win that...” he paused and shook his head, “Sorry Wills, you’re right. I think last night affected more than I thought.”
“Oh, uhhh... maybe you should talk to Giles?”
“I was planning to... but, I still I gotta go to return the costume Wills, so...”
“I wouldn't bother,” she deadpanned.
“Wills?” Xander couldn’t keep concern out of his voice, Willow didn't use that tone of voice, at least not without cause. And his mind was too eager to supply some possibilities for it.
“He is not there anymore, he was the one that....” she trailed off.
“...” Was Xander’s more than eloquent response.
“...That bastard, that butt-munching, shit-eating, goddamn bastard.”
“Ahhh... Sorry Wills, it’s just that... damn, he made it sound he was doing me a favor and he was laughing on my face all the time. Of course I wasn't going to need a patch, I was going to know the language. He better hope I never see him again.”
“What are you talking about?”
“My costume, he rented it for peanuts. Hell, he even gave me the game it comes from, for free, and told me he'd have a language patch for me when I returned the costume. A favor, he said. Should have seen it coming from miles away, Wills.”
“Maybe we should have, but neither of us did, Xand. We aren't perfect.”
“I guess you’re right, Wills. I guess I’m going to go have a chat with the G-man.”
“Nevermind... got his address?”
“Well, then, ahhh... would you mind coming over afterwards?”
“Good, see you then. Bye Xander.”
“Goodbye to you too Wills.”
Rupert Giles came to with an incredibly potent headache. He was in his living room, sitting in his favorite, and only, armchair. And next to it on the small table laid the cause of his current condition, an empty bottle of his ‘favorite’ malt whiskey and an equally empty whiskey glass.
After the events of the night before, he had decided to indulge in a glass or two, to help push back some of the memories the night had awoken. Or at least, that had been the idea.
Quite obviously, it hadn't worked like he had anticipated.
Now he was in need of something to wash the taste of wet cardboard from his mouth, and perhaps a shower... A long, hot shower seemed like a very good idea.
With a groan, he left the relatively uncomfortable confines of his chair and headed towards the kitchen.
Yes, he really could use that shower and maybe an aspirin or three but, first things first.
The bell caught him half way preparing his morning infusion. He tried to ignore it, hoping it would go away, but no such luck. Sighing, he turned off the gas and moved away from the stove towards the door.
“Yes?” he nearly growled.
“Wow, G-man, you look like shit.”
At first, he hadn't been able to place the face. While it seemed familiar, the glasses had thrown him off. Of course the clothes were a dead giveaway, had he noted them, but it was the infernal nickname that managed to cancel all his doubts.
“Oh, hello to you to Xander, good to see you... yes, I am fine, You? You don't say... Well, we will have to do this, some other time, goodbye” and with that he closed the door.
Inwardly, Giles swore. Yes, the boy had made a stupid comment, yes, he was not in his best mood, but he was the bloody adult. The truth of the matter was that Ripper was dangerously close to getting out again. That had been his reason to close the door, as opposed to punching Xander. But... – he took a deep breath – he was the adult, and was going to act like one, period. With that he reopened the door.
Xander was still standing behind it, a puzzled expression on his face. A part of Rupert’s mind had felt smug, almost proud for causing that expression in the boy, but it was quickly silenced by the rest of it.
“I guess you have a reason for being here at this ungodly hour, Xander.”
The teen gave a quick nod.
“Then,” he opened the door and motioned him to enter.
“I apologize for my initial reaction, Xander, but I fear that...”
“It's ok, G-man.” Giles predictably cringed at that. “Yesterday was a... Well, you know.”
“Yes, I know.” He inwardly gave a prayer for the loss of his morning tea. But, even with his headache, he understood things were serious if Xander had decided to pay him a visit on a weekend, especially on a weekend morning.
“Yeah, well... truth is I wanted to talk about last night. I know I must have missed the explanations and all that, but...”
“Hmmm, maybe we should take a seat?” he said motioning towards the table.
Once sitting, Giles again took a glance at the teen before him. He seemed uncharacteristically tense, nervous.
Luckily, he had learned long ago to operate under the aftereffects of a drinking binge. And, given the situation, he knew it was going to tax his ability to the limits.
“I take you have come for more than an explanation of last night, Xander?”
“Yeah, I... yes. I wanted to know, well, if there could be side-effects to the... spell?”
“Well, Buffy did seem to retain a proper use of French from her costume, of course, whether it is temporary or permanent...”
“It‘s not that simple, Giles. It’s not a matter of language, or even a few memories, I think I could live with those... Have you ever heard about the 'mystic eyes of death perception'?”
“I fear I have not, but I must say it sounds...”
“Yeah, I know. Well he, the guy I dressed as, had it. It’s a weird ability, dangerous and deadly. Let's you see the weak spots on things as lines, like cracks, that run through everything and everyone, makes it looks like it all is ready to break away and collapse. And that is because everything is. It’s just a matter of tracing the lines and,” he trailed off.
Xander's expression had become almost morose, depressed. It was a weight nobody should have, but obviously...
“I take you have retained this ability?”
The teen nodded.
“But that's not the only thing I kept,” he said, touching the frame of his glasses.
“I had noticed the glasses, but... You kept the costume's poor eyesight?” No, it wouldn't be something so simple, but one had to hope.
“Poor eyesi- Nope, not at all, these aren’t prescription,” he said taping the rim of the glasses, “at least not in the common sense of the word. They are meant to suppress the ability to see the lines.” Xander paused for a second, how had sensei called them? Ah! “Mystic Eye Killers.”
“I guess it is my one lucky break out of this mess, except...”
“Except, nothing is so coincidental around here,” finished the englishman.
“Well, then. Perhaps you should let me have a look at your glasses, I have a friend or two that could give...” he stopped in mid sentence, seeing Xander's expression. He had grimaced and shook his head.
“Don't think that's a good idea. When I said these were a lucky break, I wasn't kidding. Being without them is bad, I-I don't think I'd be able to take it for too long, it can be overwhelming.”
“You do realize that, what you have just said makes them even more suspicious.”
“Yeah, and it worries me, but the eyes worry me more.”
“Because, as far as I know there’s no way to magically replicate the effect.”
“Xander, please, keep in mind that they do belong to a costume, not a real person.” Or rather, as far as we know, Rupert chose not to add. Xander was disturbed enough as things were.
“I know, Giles. I’m not that far gone. But, so far, I... they're the only thing I have on this.” He sighed. “To be honest, I'd rather they'd be wrong.”
“Because of how he got these eyes.” Xander felt almost out of breath as he spoke on.
“And how was that?” Rupert knew he would have rather not known but at the same time he needed to.
“He died, Giles.”
Comments, criticisms, suggestions are welcomed, flames are not.
That aside, I'd really apreciate any feedback.