Faces and Facets
Disclaimer: I own no intellectual property that anyone would want and what I do own probably can be used as evidence that I need to be medicated.
Cue standard Halloween beginning, Buffy forgetting Xander in mid 'make up scene' to go coo over a dress that she thinks will attract Angel's attention in three… two… one…
Xander sighed. Once again he was interrupted in what should have been a meaningful conversation by Angel, and the damn vampire wasn't even here! He took a look at the discount bin just in time to see a kid grab the last gun. 'Well so much for going as a soldier.'
"Can I help you?" came the oily voice of Ethan Rayne, startling Xander, who spun around and almost ended up falling on his ass.
"Don't do that, I almost had a heart attack!" Xander said.
"Sorry, my dear boy, I was just checking to see if you needed any help," Ethan said with a glint of amusement.
"Well, now that we know my ticker is fine, I guess I can use a little help pulling a costume together."
"What can I do to help?" Ethan asked.
Xander's eyes widened as Ethan's British accent gave him an idea. "A dirty trench coat, short blond wig for a male, a pack of Silk Cut cigarettes, and some make up that can make it look like I haven't shaved in a day or two."
Ethan blinked and mentally went through the inventory in his head while collecting the requested items. He frowned and pulled out a rumpled, half empty pack of cigarettes from his pocket. "I'm afraid I smoked about half of them. I don't normally carry cigs as part of a costume."
"That's perfect." Xander grinned.
*A neutral plane*
"NO!" resonated a powerful voice.
"I quite agree," a voice like the buzzing of insects joined in. "Fun is fun, but letting HIM loose on a Hellmouth is not the brightest of ideas."
"Free will is free will," a voice with the accent of a Brooklyn native reminded them.
A pair of voices, male and female, spoke as one, "a simple time fold and a few items removed would take care of the problem without affecting his will. He will have to choose, whether to buy the rest of the items elsewhere or simply choose a different costume, but it will still be his choice."
"And what's the problem with him dressing as Constantine, if I may ask?" the Brooklyn accented voice asked respectfully.
"Observe," the powerful voice requested/commanded.
"You're not Ripper," the chaos mage accused.
"Yeah, I noticed that. I don't carry a knife for cutting up poor honest working girls and I don't come from the Eighteenth Century. Not far off White Chapel though," the initial voice said thoughtfully ads he blew a cloud of smoke in Ethan's face.
Ethan waved the smoke off and looked away. "What are you here for?"
"Well I thought I might stop by and offer you a deal."
"What kind of a deal?" Ethan said while inching towards the counter, where he'd had the foresight to stash a sawn off shotgun.
Ethan dashed for the counter just as the trench coated figure blew a mouthful of smoke, saying "Signus, hexes, levit."
Ethan didn't make it two feet before he found himself hanging in midair from a noose formed of smoke that his fingers passed through to no effect.
"The kind of deal where you agree or you die," he replied looking behind the counter and finding the shotgun. "The more you struggle the quicker the end."
Ethan stopped struggling, realizing it was useless and waited for the 'deal' hoping it was one he could like through.
Prying open a couple of shotgun shells, the trench coated figure cut his finger and added a drop of blood to each one before sealing them back up, maddeningly slowly to Ethan, who was trying not to black out from oxygen deprivation. After casually loading the shotgun he snapped it closed and put his cigarette out on the counter, dissipating the noose that was holding Ethan up.
Ethan hit the ground hard and gasped for breath.
"So do you want to deal?" the man asked casually.
"Yes! Yes! Bloody hell yes!" Ethan gasped out.
"How do I break the spell?" the man asked, as the click of a safety switch being flicked off echoed loudly in the room despite the sounds of screams and roars from outside.
"Statue in the back room, a bust of Janus, break it! Whoever you are!"
The man nodded and swept aside the curtain to the backroom easily spotting the bust with the glowing eyes and aiming the shotgun at it with one hand. "The name's Constantine, John Constantine," he said, just before pulling the trigger.
Giles found Ethan passed out in a pool of his own piss and the lingering smell of cigarette smoke when he arrived a couple of minutes later.
Spike lay there, blood dripping off his torso from countless cuts. He wasn't sure he could hold out for much longer. He'd done his best, but a man had limits and he just about reached his.
Drusilla leaned down and sank her fangs into Spike's shoulder as they finished what they'd started about five hours ago.
Spike completely forgot Buffy and indeed Slayers existing for about three months and by the time he did remember, he decided it was too much trouble to bother with when he could be spending that time with Dru.
"That doesn't seem so bad," Brooklyn said.
And if you put a drop of blood there and will them closed…" Xander said pretending Dawn was just curious and not taking notes behind him, as he explained the large design inscribed in the ground. "Of course if you wanted to protect yourself from something like a hell goddess you'd want to seal off the powers above as well as below," Xander said thoughtfully lighting a cig and getting exactly two drags before Dawn snatched it from his mouth and stamped the hell out of it. "As I was saying," he continued as if nothing had happened. "To seal off the powers above and below you put a drop of blood in the center of the pattern."
"Wouldn't sealing off the powers above be bad?" Dawn asked.
"The let the powers below do what they wish, while being strictly hands off themselves, so really except for lacking prophecies telling girls to rush off and get killed we'd be about the same," Xander said thoughtfully.
Dawn's eyes narrowed as she rechecked her notes. Buffy rushing off to get killed was still a sore spot for her.
"OK, that is bad. Well, even with a time fold we can only change it once, so I'd suggest someone try and set him to dress as a normal human. A detective of some kind would be good, a little more in the grey matter could make him more useful to us," the Brooklyn accented voice wheedled, wondering if he could get away with Batman or Sherlock Holmes. The kid had given Angel the kick in the ass needed and he owed him for that, besides the kid was a snappy dresser.
"AGREED," all the voices chorused.
"But not Sherlock Holmes," the powerful voice resonated.
"Or Batman," the buzzing added.
"We have no preference," the male and female voices chorused.
"I'll find someone useful," Brooklyn said cheerfully before going about his task.
"How about this one?" Ethan asked, showing Xander a dirty ragged trench coat with a while full face mask.
"I don't recognize it," Xander replied wondering why he was dying for a cigarette.
Placing the mask on the counter Ethan rested his hand on it for a moment, before lifting if off to show what looked to be moving ink blots.
"Magic," Xander half asked half stated.
Ethan shook his head. "Heat sensitive material, so it matches the changing patterns of the hero's mask."
Xander looked at him and raised an eyebrow just waiting.
Ethan finally sighed. "Ok, a minor glamour, cause the material needed to make the mask do that, costs a pretty penny and isn't nearly as impressive."
Xander grinned. "Cool. Wait a minute; I think I know this guy, limited series based partly on DC characters… Rorschach!"
Ethan grinned. "Yep. A master detective with a bit of a dark streak, not afraid to get his hands dirty and will not compromise, even in the face of Armageddon. Harm the innocent and your number is up, no excuses, no escape, no mercy."
"How much?" Xander said, as enthralled with the white mask and dirty trench coat as Buffy had been with the poufy dress.
Ethan glanced around to make sure no one was watching. "The most expensive part of the costume was the coat and I picked it out of Goodwill for three bucks. Let's say ten total, but you'll need to get your own boots to go with it. I couldn't find anything for less than thirty that'd fit. Boots are always the most expensive bit."
"I got a pair that would be perfect," Xander said. "Steel toed motorcycle boots from when my Uncle Rory thought he was going to be a stuntman before he found out you needed training and had to be sober."
"Really?" Ethan asked curiously, as he'd always thought stuntmen were just whoever you could get drunk enough to let you blow them up.
"Yeah," Xander nodded. "He decked himself out with an outfit that had everything reinforced with Kevlar he could, also fireproofed and warm enough for the Arctic. I think he got superhero mixed up with stuntman."
"I wish. He gave the entire kit and caboodle to me. Said I'd grow into it. It's been four years and the only thing that fits so far is the boots!"
"Sounds like it's the perfect thing to round out Rorschach's outfit. Just add some padding and it'll make the character a little more believable. I mean, he took a heck of a beating before going down, enough that some personal body armor would fit," Ethan suggested deciding to give the kid a shot at surviving the night.
"It'll also make me look a lot more buff," Xander said beginning to grin.
"That's the spirit," Ethan encouraged him.
"I don't suppose you've got any odds and ends for demonic defense that'd work with my costume. I know Halloween is supposed to be dead, but this is Sunnydale."
Ethan nodded, smiling at the thought of the amount of chaos a Rorschach aware of demons would cause. "I've got some small items and some fakes too, so the real ones don't draw attention."
Dru sent Xander a thank you note, for the conversation she and Constantine would have had about putting the magic back in her sex life, if she hadn't convinced Spike to stay in.
Convince, tie down, potato, pottato.
Xander thought it was a very nice touch for Dru to do so and sent her a spell that would awaken the souls of their cursed line without turning them into complete wankers. The gypsies had been a bit more subtle when cursing the line, read subtle as ineffective. The souls were connected to the vamps of the line, but ineffective in controlling the demon, with the spell Xander sent her they'd be about equal in power, meaning less mindless killers and more picky predators, hopefully without creating too many Lestats, one overly whiny vamp was enough!
Typing by: Last Primarch!