Joyce Summers' welcoming smile congealed into a baffled stare at the strange figure standing on the Revello Drive house's front porch several hours before Halloween night officially began. This person who'd just rung with some difficulty the doorbell which brought Buffy's mother to greet her visitor was currently wearing a midnight-hued plush jumpsuit. This strange full-body costume included an attached black tail in the rear, a mane running down the neck and upper back, and long sleeves with black 'hoof' flaps to cover their hands. Topping it all off was a realistic horse's head hood with flaring nostrils and lustrous black eyes.
Under his equine headgear, Xander Harris' glowering face peered through the opening set at neck level of this animal costume. Before Joyce could say anything, it was Xander who spoke first with a genuinely irate snarl, "I lost a bet, okay? With your daughter! So, I've gotta wear this damn thing the rest of the night instead of what I planned, a for-sure manly soldier outfit."
"Is he finally here?" Joyce heard Buffy call out from deeper inside the Sunnydale home. Glancing over her shoulder, this mother saw her daughter clad in a French noblewoman's gown standing in the hallway, a malicious smirk now upon this young lady's pretty face. Hanging back uncertainly a few steps behind Buffy was Willow in her own ghost costume.
Shaking her head in barely-hidden amusement, Joyce moved aside to let the pair of girls see how a truly grumpy Xander was dressed up in his horse costume. This soon produced from that teenage boy a superlative nasty look directed at his female friends who were one and all whooping with real laughter at him. Even Joyce was caught up in the merriment, though she managed to control herself somewhat when Xander turned around, his back stiff with offended dignity, and crossed his arms together on his shaggy chest.
Joyce then waved goodbye to the trio as they went off together to the high school for their escort duties tonight. Though, after she closed the front door, this woman took a few moments to laugh again at the top of her lungs at how Buffy was last seen imperiously prodding the shoulder of a sulking Xander in front while telling him, "Giddyup, Blackie!"
Her dearly-beloved child evidently hadn't ever gotten completely over being denied a pony by Hank Summers every consecutive Christmas for several years after Buffy had first read The Black Stallion in third grade. Weekend riding lessons for his pouting princess had still been demanded from this father, though. Much to Hank's relief, Buffy soon decided that being a superstar ice skater was far cooler than winding up as the first girl jockey to win the Kentucky Derby for real. Smiling to herself, Joyce went to prepare for her business trip to Los Angeles which would take this owner of a Sunnydale art shop out of town on Halloween.
Even in the chaos created by a Janus-worshipping mage later that night, a half-ton horse possessing a powerful bite and the ability to kick through any barn door was more than capable of taking care of himself plus his friends. A blond vampire limping frantically away in absolute agony with a broken coccyx had to learn that on his own, when an iron horseshoe moving at its maximum velocity almost inserted this hoofwear where the sun definitely didn't shine.
The next school day after Halloween, Rupert Giles frowned at where Xander Harris was sitting in the library closely surrounded by a dozen of the prettiest girls in school. None of these young people were paying the slightest bit of attention to the Englishman's annoyance. Instead, the girls were adoringly gazing at where Xander was basking in their rapt attention. Eventually, this was interrupted by Giles' impatient cough which diverted only a high-school male into looking over at where the G-man seemed about to lose his temper any second now.
The older man stiffly informed his listener, "Xander, I'd prefer some privacy among us when we, er, discuss what happened last week concerning…my friend Ethan." Giles stared expectantly at Xander, hoping the little blighter would get a clue and also get rid of those clinging examples of yet another weird Hellmouth occurrence.
Rather than carrying out what the former British Museum associate was hoping for, Xander just shrugged and waved a hand around at the unnoticing feminine crowd. "Relax, Giles. Does it look like any of them are even aware you're here?"
Giles had to admit, however implausible it appeared, the boy had an actual point. Why in heaven this should be so was something to be further investigated in full detail much later. For now, he had to find out an important issue having to do with possible consequences of Rayne's bloody idiotic spell. "I haven't had a chance yet to speak to Buffy and Willow today, just you. Did they say anything to you after Halloween about retaining, to whatever degree, some sort of ability or physical changes due to the costumes they were wearing?"
Xander firmly shook his head. "Not really, Giles. The Buffster owned up to understanding French a lot better now, which can only help her grades in that class. She's also for some reason thinking about taking up embroidery, but that's all. As for Wils, after a couple of failed attempts of walking through doors and walls gave her nothing but bruises, she won't try again, even if you ask."
After saying this, Xander sneaked a quick glance around at where his doting fans were still lost in their veneration of someone who'd had much more alterations from his normal body happen to him on that bizarre Halloween than any of the other Scoobies. A very sheepish look suddenly appeared on the young man's face, as he realized this was the perfect time to come clean with Giles, no matter how embarrassing it might be. Drawing upon all his courage, Xander hunted for the right words.
"Uh, Giles, not wanting to overload your brain or anything, but I've gotta say, there's also been a much bigger change with me 'cause of your rat-bastard friend who even though I still want to punch his face in, I'll shake his hand first before doing that-"
"Of course!" exclaimed Rupert Giles, who was now bearing on his own countenance a proud expression of insight after realizing in advance what that youth was attempting to explain to him. "It even accounts for your sudden popularity! Don't worry, your newest talent is rather amusing, though I've seen its like many times before."
Xander's mouth opened and closed soundlessly before he managed to gurgle, "You…have?"
"Oh, yes," Giles nodded. "I learned to ride as a child in England, and everywhere at the stables where I was taught, there were horse-crazed girls obsessed with those beasts. They'd even volunteer to muck out the stalls, just so they could get closer to what fascinated them. Somehow, your admirers are being magically affected by the remnants of Ethan's spell so that they're experiencing an appreciative sense of what possessed you on that night. I doubt that it'll last much longer, seeing how no one else was permanently influenced by their costumes, so you don't need to be concerned. It should end fairly soon in my opinion, if that makes you feel better."
Feeling quite pleased with himself for deducing so quickly and thoroughly the minor repercussions to Xander's Halloween adventure, Rupert Giles rewarded himself by taking off his glasses and giving these a methodical polish. This meant the librarian missed how Xander Harris was currently regarding the older man as if he were a living example of the theory that excessive tea consumption lowered to moronic levels the IQ of those imbibers.
Hurriedly deciding that he'd keep his big secret to himself for now, Xander muttered, "Thanks, G-man, see you later." This brought an absent nod from the Watcher who was scraping with a fingernail at a stubborn spot on one of his eyeglass lenses, which again made how Giles failed to notice that Xander reached with both hands towards this boy's lap.
Making a quick adjustment to what was now barely contained under his stretched and formerly baggy cargo pants, Xander got to his feet. Swaying a fraction in his upright position as he got used once more to his different center of gravity, the most…gifted teenager in Sunnydale High (and now also including the entire porn industry) walked out of the library, followed by his new harem.
Alexander LaVelle Harris could then pinpoint in his future best-selling memoirs as this being the exact moment when he understood that he was no longer the Boca del Infierno's butt monkey. In fact, it was this dimensional nexus' turn to protectively clamp their non-existent hands onto their rear end and back up in fear, lest Xander decided to one day inflict a karmic reaming upon the Hellmouth.