Disclaimer: These are not my characters and this is not my world.

A/N: Written for the Halloween 2016 challenge at Fag Ends for the prompt "The Journey."


The moon's just rising and it's miserably grey by the time the Scoobies get to Andrew's. Buffy's legs are very cold and her nurse costume was not meant for public eyes, and if she'd realised Willow was going to meet them with no costume at all, Buffy would've done the same.

They could've just watched scary movies at Spike and Xander's while wearing pyjamas, but, no, Andrew wants them to come to his place in costumes and they all have to go and care about Andrew. Bunch of suckers they are.

Andrew's decked out in what is clearly a very expensive costume of… one of the Lord of the Rings guys and waves excitedly at them as they approach his porch. Then he looks them over as they mount the stairs and frowns. "Willow, Spike, you don't have costumes."

Spike offers no justification. Even without a costume, he was misidentified on three different occasions as two separate anime characters just taking BART out here and he's been bumpy-faced for the last twenty minutes in defence.

Willow gestures to the outfit she wore to work today and says, "I'm a witch."

Andrew looks distinctly unimpressed and turns to eyeball Xander next.

Xander's effort toward being a pirate consists of putting on a striped shirt and carrying Dawn's pirate hat in his hands since it doesn't quite fit on his head. "Argh?" he offers as a hint.

Dawn's last minute Holly Golightly costume that she'd constructed mostly from Willow's closet and the lightning bolt Giles had had Dawn mark on his forehead earn them each their host's approval, even if the cat has retreated to perching on Spike's shoulder in spite of Dawn's best efforts.

Andrew waves them all inside and Dawn takes a plastic skeleton to the head.

"Ow," Dawn complains. She reaches up to probe her updo for any damages.

"Spooky, right?" asks Andrew. He grins at all of them, even though Giles is clearly the only one into it.

"Terrifying," says Spike, prying the cat's claws out of his shoulders and shifting the animal so that he can hold him in his arms instead.

Does he not remember that Buffy works with an actual animated skeleton? Plastic on a string kinda pales a little in comparison.

Andrew points them toward the hallway. "Okay, follow the caution tape. That'll get you to the party." He steps back onto the porch and shuts the door behind them, leaving the gang to look amongst themselves.

"Party?" asks Xander. "There's partying?"

Buffy is not dressed for a party. She's dressed for things that she probably shouldn't think about right now and had been hoping she could work it for watching Halloween episodes of Doctor Who and hiding under a blanket with Spike or something.

They follow the caution tape, which leads them to cobwebs, more plastic skeletons, and a fake black cat which Xander picks up and presents to the real cat while Dawn takes pictures.

In the dining room, there's a Christopher Lee Dracula robot that reaches for them as they pass. Giles laughs in what sounds suspiciously like delight, Xander takes pictures again (presumably to rat Andrew out to the real deal), and Buffy and Spike exchange unimpressed looks.

The kitchen contains a severed head that bubbles blood, a statue of an angel, and the overflow of the music from the backyard. Willow opens the back door and… there are a lot of people at this party.

Well, not a lot a lot, but there's a solid thirty person attendance going on and Buffy doesn't know anyone else here.

"Andrew has other friends?" asks Dawn.

"Andrew has more friends than we do," says Xander.

Buffy leans against Spike's shoulder and tries not to fall out of her dress. "Halloween is scary."