A/N: Hello everybody! In honor of Halloween I decided it was the best time to get this plot bunny that has plagued my mind for too long out of my head and typed up. This is going to be something of a passion project that I will take slowly, and to work on when I need a break from my other stories. Don't worry, nothing is abandoned or cancelled. I enjoy writing and especially enjoy everyone who appreciates what I've put out there. Every time I log in and see how many more people have taken an interest in what I've written makes my day. Thank you all!
A/N 2: Updated and changed/added a few things to smooth over that plot hole I wrote myself into.
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or DC comics.
Warning: This story contains adult situations and language.
Deep within the cosmic ether, where mortals can scarcely comprehend, in a place they could only dream of all the secrets of the universe that made up the fabric of reality as they knew it, lurked many of the higher beings. The Powers That Be liked to call this space home as they watched over their particular Earth, truly one of the most beautiful and precious blue and green gems that floated by in the vastness of space. These particular beings like to think that they are all knowing, all seeing, and all powerful; and that they are doing the Creators work in making sure everything runs smoothly. They fashion themselves as caretakers and micromanagers, ensuring order and stability are maintained.
They are not nearly as benevolent as they would have you believe however. They are surprisingly greedy, selfish, and supremely arrogant for entities that claim to be above such things. More importantly, they believe themselves to always be right and infallible contrary to the numerous times that's been proven false. Then again, if anything had the right to think that way, The Powers have a strong claim to it. Being ancient beyond belief, and usually being right more often than making mistakes gives a certain amount of leeway in such regards.
And so they content themselves by meddling in the affairs of mortals. Giving a little nudge here and a push there. Setting up the board so the dominoes fall exactly how they want with most people never realizing that their choices weren't their own.
It's not often a mortal catches them off guard and inadvertently upsets The Powers carefully laid plans. Nevertheless, it does happen every once in a great while. And on this Earth in this specific dimension, the dimension that The Powers That Be claimed for themselves, Xander Harris was one such person that bared closer scrutiny and garnered a not inconsiderate amount of cosmic attention from more than one higher being. It's not every day that someone finds a loophole to a prophecy handed down by supposedly greater beings, and neatly sidesteps destiny so early in this particular set of plans, that they are forced to redraw them and start over from scratch. All because one teenager had the audacity, the gumption, the sheer force of will to save his friend when she was supposed to die.
The Powers hands were tied. She fulfilled the prophecy and died so the Master could be free. They would never admit that they never entertained the idea that the Slayer could be resuscitated. And that was why they weren't able to stop it in time and let her stay dead. That one little act of defiance succinctly derailed everything they had set up for the immediate aftermath.
But they were ancient beyond human comprehension and they, begrudgingly, put their metaphorical heads together and hammered out a new future. They could work with this, they could adapt, and they would do so in a way that would make it seem like it was a part of their plan all along. Because they're smug assholes like that.
As mentioned before, they aren't the only higher beings in existence, and they most certainly were not the only ones to see what happened.
Xander's actions created a ripple.
At a certain level of power, seeing into the future is as easy as tilting your head in a different direction. That's no surprise really, considering how many people on Earth at any given time can have a limited precognitive ability. And so when the course of the predetermined future changes in such an overt way without any prior warning, powerful things take notice. The last time The Powers That Be decided they wanted to change the future so drastically they had the courtesy to warn other Gods of what they were doing and why. Which is why it came as such a shock that a human was the cause of this disturbance.
One such God who paid extra careful attention was Janus. He, She, It was the God of change after all. Many people, and indeed, even The Powers themselves, believed that Janus was a minor God now. Beings on their level gained most of their power from mortals belief in them. Now that the Greek Gods had faded into myth with only a few active worshippers remaining, The Powers felt that everyone else was inconsequential. That all the other Gods would just sit in their respective pantheons and be happy that they hadn't quite yet been forgotten. Janus never felt the need to correct them on this.
This is where the PTB's arrogance comes in. While it's true that most Gods only came into being, and had a modicum of power was because of peoples belief in them, didn't mean that was all there was to them. Some Gods power comes from concepts. Raw forces of nature. Fundamental laws.
Chaos is one such constant of the universe. Just as much as order, chaos is something that is intrinsically tied to the very fabric of everything.
Janus witnessed the changes that Xander had wrought; and smiled. For the first time in a long time, the God of change and doorways turned its attention to the mortal world, its new future, and one rather entertaining human in particular. Instead of just existing and relaxing in the ebb and flow of the universe, Janus decided to take a peek at what those little upstarts were doing. He, She, It looked into the near future (from this day, until its new favorite humans last) and frowned.
He, (for from this moment the God decided it would be male for a while on a whim until he changed his mind), saw Xander's future and what the PTB had instore for him. One adventure after another without receiving deserved recognition for his contributions. One love interest after another, only to have every single one of them end for one ridiculous reason or another.
The more he looked, the less he liked. It was obvious to Janus that they were punishing Xander. The Powers had decided to keep him around while he was useful, dangling the carrot always in front of him and just out of reach, while whacking him with the stick every now and then. 'Because it's funny' or so Janus assumed, he certainly couldn't think of any good reason to be so unnecessarily cruel to a human.
Such bravery and cleverness should be celebrated, not condemned, rewarded handsomely, not punished severely.
So if those fools who think they know better than everyone else wouldn't treat Xander Harris fairly then Janus would take it upon himself to make Xander's life better. And if by doing so, Janus has some fun and causes more ripples of chaos because of it, then all the better as far as he was concerned. The world could use a good shake every now and then like a giant snow globe. Watching how all the snowflakes flow and swirl is always calming and beautiful to the God of change.
He knew just where to start. In the not too distant future, a devote follower of his will be using a ritual that would call upon Janus' power in order to cause mischief on Halloween night. The spell in question will swap the minds and characteristics of people with whatever or whomever they dressed up as for the holiday.
If Janus had been in a physical form at that moment he would have grinned wickedly as a plan manifested in his mind. The anticipation was building as his thoughts raced, he hadn't been this excited in centuries!
The first order of business was to mark this human as belonging to him. The PTB weren't the only ones who could anoint and select champions. By doing this, Xander would be blessed, and it would confer a great amount of protection to him. The best part was that no one but Janus would actually know this unless or until some uppity higher power tried to fuck with Xander in a direct way. Champions are off limits to any divine except their patron.
With just a thought, the God inducted Xander into his service with no one being the wiser. Now that Xander had some protection, Janus could turn his attention to his next move without having to worry about his new favorite apostle getting smote while his back is turned.
Casting his gaze into the near future of the upcoming Halloween ritual, Janus sees how Xander and his friends will dress for the occasion. The entity sees how Xander cobbles together a soldier costume and scoffs. A simple soldier is far to pedestrian for his champion. His champion is destined for greater things now that he has a God in his corner backing him up.
The first order of business is to alter the spell a little. Just enough so that everyone retains just a little bit more of their chosen costume after the spell ends.
'Perhaps it would be better if whatever identity Xander takes would be able to leave changes behind for him, completely independent of the spell?' The God thought to itself. Yes that would be much better he decided. The less directly he got involved the better. Then no one could dispute, and cry favoritism if all he did was help Xander pick a better costume. It couldn't possibly be Janus' fault if the new costume permanently enhanced Xander in some way of its own volition.
The question was, who could he get to help make Xander great? With this thought in mind, Janus turned his attention to the multiverse looking for candidates, while also keeping in mind what Xander likes and what skills would be most useful to him. As well as who is capable of leaving changes behind at the end of the night.
Xander sighed for the umpteenth time before catching himself mid exhale. If he kept this up people were going to think he was your typical moody teenager. Of which he most certainly was not. He was just having one depressing day. Halloween was one of his favorite days of the year! The day that no matter how old a person got, they can still dress up and have fun. Only instead of going door to door in the hopes of claiming a big score of sugar filled treats, once one passes the threshold into maturity they go to parties with their friends. Thinking about it this year just started the cycle of depression all over again though.
To start with, there would be no party for him and his friends, Buffy and Willow. They had somehow gotten roped into being chaperones for the younger children who would be going trick or treating. He couldn't really be mad at that though. Sunnydale was a dangerous place and it would give Xander peace of mind to know that these kids will have the best protection possible in the form of the Slayer and her sidekicks. Sad as he was to admit to only being a sidekick, but he felt good that he was accomplishing something in the fight against vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness.
The reason for his latest batch of melancholy was that the Scoobies, as they'd taken to calling their group, were required to dress up for their chaperoning duties this evening. Normally Xander would love this opportunity, but funds were tight for him at the moment. Every extra dollar that he managed to save got put away into his road trip fund. The road trip that he and Jesse had planned to take after graduation.
That is before his best friend was turned into a vampire and Xander ended up staking him personally. In hindsight that seemed like something he should really go to therapy for, but he just didn't have the time or money, not to mention he'd get an all-expenses paid trip to the booby hatch. But that's beside the point when he spent all that time channeling his efforts into helping out however he could.
The other reason for his minor bout of angst was how his friends wandered off to another section of the store to look at an eighteen hundreds Victorian style dress that was on display. Xander could tell immediately that the only reason that particular outfit ensnared Buffy's attention was because it was likely from the same time period that Angel grew up in. It was plain to see that Buffy was leaping at the chance to dress up as a noble lady in an attempt to get Angel's attention. Oh how Xander hated that Dead Boy could get Buffy to jump through so many imaginary hoops to impress him. The worst part was how Angel wasn't even trying, and would likely be completely oblivious to why Buffy was going so far out of her way because she thinks it will get him to notice her.
Xander always tried to tell himself that he wasn't actually in love with the petite blonde haired slayer. Only that he was infatuated with her perfect good looks, pouty lips, and wide expressive doe eyes. And also that she was a powerful woman who can kick ass. The poor teenager didn't realize he had a type until he met Buffy, but it was obvious to him now that he had a thing for women who were strong, like a comic book super heroine. There was just something about a woman who could take care of herself that seemed to magnetically draw him in.
The dark haired teenager turned his eyes away from where his friends were chatting excitedly, and looked around for something he could use. With a lack of funds, his only hope for any semblance of a costume would be to accentuate something he could cobble together from things at home. He did have some old army fatigues just lying around. Maybe he could go as a soldier?
Just as he spotted a bin with various knickknacks his hopes soared, only to be dashed when a small crowed of children descended upon it like carrion vultures. By the time they dispersed, laughing and running around, Xander saw the bin was entirely picked clean.
He was quite dismayed and more than a little miffed. Something of his internal feelings must have been on his face however, as a voice to his side broke him out of his thoughts.
"You look like you could use some help young man."
"Gah!" Xander yelped while jumping slightly and turning to face the person who just spoke to him.
"I'm sorry, didn't mean to startle you." The man spoke with an English accent that was on point with the school librarian, and Buffy's watcher Giles.
"No, it's alright... Uhm..." Xander trailed off as he waited for the man to introduce himself.
The brown haired man smiled brightly as his eyes lit up. "Ethan Rayne, proprietor of this fine establishment. At your service."
"Oh well uh... I'm Xander, and uhh... I was just looking for something to go with what I have at home. I uhh... I don't have much on me at the moment." He stopped and started in embarrassment at having to admit to his frugalness, thinking that the owner might be upset for wasting his time.
Ethan was already thinking a mile a minute on what would be the most fun thing to set this person up with. Meanwhile he rubbed his chin while humming thoughtfully as he looked Xander up and down in appraisal.
Xander nervously scratched the back of his head under the close scrutiny, and decided that trying to make small talk might defuse his tension.
"So I noticed you have an English accent. Our school librarian, Mr. Giles does to."
Ethan froze suddenly and his gaze became shaper, seeming to pierce into Xander's very soul as he was looked at in a new light.
"Rupert Giles?" Ethan questioned, causing Xander to nod his head in confirmation. "Do you know him well?" The Englishmen asked the teen.
"G-man? Yeah, my friends Buffy, Willow, and I help him out all the time." Xander answers while turning to point out the blonde and red head who were still talking animatedly about the dress. By doing so he didn't notice the wicked gleeful smirk that passed other Ethan's face.
This changed everything for Ethan. He was just thinking about what little thing he could give to the financially challenged young man, the spirit of Halloween wasn't about making a profit for him after all, it was about having fun. But he would go above and beyond for Giles' little protégé. That would be even more entertaining as far as he was concerned.
"I think I have just the thing to make your Halloween truly special. Let's go take a look at some of the things I have set aside." Ethan said while throwing his arm around Xander's shoulder and leading him towards the back of the shop.
Xander had no choice but to go along with him, partly because of the arm around him but mostly because he was pretty much out of options and was hoping that this person who knows Giles would be able to help him get something descent.
The two came before a door and Ethan opened it while quickly ushering Xander inside. He might have been nervous about being taken into a different room, away from the main floor, but he wasn't getting any suspicious vibes. Plus he could just shout and Buffy would come running. That thought brought him right back down again when he remembered he always seems to be the one who needs rescuing.
The sight of the back room stole his breath away. There were so many well designed costumes displayed on manikins. He recognized many of them as super heroes such as Spiderman, Batman, and Superman. As well as other big name characters from other forms of media.
"Wow..." Xander trailed off.
"I know, very impressive craftsmanship." Ethan nodded sagely taking the one word exclamation as a compliment.
"These are all so cool!" The teen said excitedly as he moved from one to the other, looking them over with a critical eye at the immaculate detail, though refraining from actually touching them. One of his elementary school teachers had drilled into him and others that you look with your eyes, not your fingers.
Eventually he stopped his perusing and stepped away, sighing heavily.
"Well go ahead and pick one out and I'll just box it up quickly for you." The Englishman said.
"I... I can't though. There's no way I can afford any of these." Xander explained while looking forlornly at the high quality costumes.
"Xander." Ethan spoke softly to get his attention. "When you get to be my age, it's not about the money."
Xander's only response was to quirk and eyebrow questioningly.
"Rupert's an old friend of mine from back in our wilder days." Xander just barely kept the scoff in when he heard that, trying and failing to imagine G-man as anything less than a proper British gentleman.
"None of these were supposed to be for sale anyway, most of them are props or early designs for movies that fell through before production. My private collection that I've accumulated over the years. Pick whichever one you want, and just consider it a loan and return it after Halloween."
"I-I... I don't know, are you sure?" Xander questioned.
Ethan nodded while giving a million watt smile. "Of course, or course! Better they get some use than sitting here collecting dust."
"Well alright then!" He accepted with excitement as he turned to look at some of the costumes with even greater attention than before.
All of what Ethan said had been a lie, however, it seemed to be the easiest way to get Xander to accept. In truth, all of these remarkable suits were dropped off with one of his shipments. The truck was gone before he even knew what they were, so he couldn't give them back. And they didn't show up on any invoice, so it's not like he paid for them. He wasn't sure what to do with them until Xander came along and it seemed like a serendipitous turn of fate. He had a good feeling about this.
Meanwhile, Xander was taking in all of the costumes with a careful eye. Now that he had so many options he was locked in indecision. He didn't want to take too long incase Mr. Rayne's patience ran out and he changed his mind. Just when he was thinking of going as the ever popular and overused Batman, or Superman, his eye caught a hint of deep green.
There, nestled slightly in the shadows near the back, was a truly wonderful costume. Extremely advanced, high-tech looking armor that was the color of silver and grey. All sharp angles and smooth contours. The basic design of which seemed remarkably similar to an unpainted Iron Man armor. But it was the green hooded cloak draped over it which told Xander exactly who it was.
Dr. Doom. One of the greatest comic book villains to ever exist in his not so humble opinion. The character of Victor von Doom was known to have an exceptional intelligence. So much so that the only reason he doesn't take the top spot for smartest person in the Marvel franchise is commonly believed to be due almost entirely to his own arrogance and stubbornness holding him back. Regardless, no one could dispute that he was always on the bleeding edge of anything technological.
But that wasn't all he was known for. Doom was also an accomplished sorcerer and practitioner of magic, easily on the level of Sorcerer Supreme. And it was by him combining science and sorcery that allowed him to be one of the greatest. Sure he's defeated time and again, usually by his own aforementioned arrogance, but it always takes entire teams of superheroes. Sometimes even the entirety of everyone in the Marvel universe needs to work together to stop him. And sometimes even that wasn't enough.
In the face of all that it was easy to forget that he is the benevolent dictator of his own country. A country, which by the way, he makes sure has the highest quality of life for its denizens. Partly as a fuck you to everyone else, but mostly just because he can.
And at the end of the day, probably the most shocking thing about him? Is that Doom just wants to save the world. That's right, one of the biggest villains does what he does because he firmly believes the rest of the world will be a better place with him in charge. And while that's a huge indicator of the level of his arrogance, it doesn't make him any less right. The few times he has managed world domination, Earth is depicted as doing very well because of it.
Xander was having an inner nerdgasm over how cool he thought the costume was and just knew it was the one for him. He was practically a hero everyday already by being a card carrying member of the Scooby Gang. It would be nice to go as the villain for Halloween as a change of pace.
"This one." He points at it while looking back at Ethan, seeing the older man smile at his enthusiasm that he just couldn't keep under control despite his efforts.
"Ah, Dr. Doom. An interesting choice." And to Ethan it was. So much more interesting than something boring like some of the more traditional superhero costumes. He couldn't wait to see what mischief the young man will get up to tonight.
"Why don't you go back out and help your friends while I bag this up for you and bring it out front."
"Sure thing." Xander responded, still giddy with his good luck in obtaining such a great costume. Buffy might not get it but Willow would definitely be impressed.
"Hey guys." Xander greeted.
"Hey Xander. What do you think?" Willow asked while grandly gesturing to the Victorian dress that Buffy was holding up to herself.
Xander shrugged nonchalantly. He was in too good a mood to care that Buffy was going to dress up in something like that for someone other than him.
"I think you'd look great in it." The dark haired teen says what he knows the Slayer wants to hear.
"You think so?" Her smile lights up and he could swear he can almost hear her thoughts about how Angel won't be able to keep his hands off her.
Trying to think of anything else he looks to Willow for salvation and strikes up a conversation with her.
"So Wills, did you find something?" He said while looking pointedly at a shopping bag in her hands.
"Yes she did and it's going to look amazing!" Buffy answers for their shy friend.
He can see Willow's cutely blushing face and hopes that she can try out whatever it is she got for this year. She'd been a ghost every year that he can remember and it would be nice to see her do something different.
"Did you find anything Xander?" The red head asks in an effort to throw the attention off her.
Xander smiles widely and nods emphatically. "Yep! The owner was super cool and let me pick out something from the back on a loan. It's really good and I can't wait."
"What is it?" Buffy asks in sudden curiosity.
"Hey now if Willow's is going to be a surprise then so is mine." He declares.
They pouted and kept badgering him about it but he just wouldn't budge as they made their way to the counter where Ethan was waiting for them. The ladies purchased their choices and Xander was handed a box containing his epic costume. The Scoobies went on their way, chatting amicably while Xander swatted away their attempts to peek into his box, completely unaware that their lives were about to be forever changed and that come the morning, there would be one less member of their group.
"Xander! Xander somethings going on! We need to-!?" The panicked voice of the woman abruptly choked off when she reached out to grasp him only for her arm to phase through him completely.
'Hmm interesting. Is she a mutant like that one with the X-men? Or is this something else?' He thought as he took in the scantily clad woman in front of him. Dressed in a far too short skirt and a revealing top, it wasn't the most immodest attire he'd ever seen, but if she hadn't displayed a supernatural power he would have confused her for a common street walker.
"Whoa..." She trailed off in wide eyed amazement while looking at her hand as though she were seeing it for the first time. He figured this must be the first time she's done anything like that based on her reaction.
The woman caught herself though and refocused her attention on him. "Xander, something's happening and everyone's acting strange. Buffy freaked out and ran off, we need to find her!" She rushed out while sending a pleading look his way.
"Why do you keep referring to me as 'Xander'? Do you not know who I am?" It was a small chance, but not inconceivable, that this person didn't know who he was. All of this was put on hold for a moment as his prodigious mind went to work at lightning speed in order to figure out how he ended up in this situation. He was just in his lab working on his latest project, then suddenly he was here in... Some suburban neighborhood in the United States by the cursory look of things.
"Of course I know who you are! You're my Xander shaped friend." She states with a definitive nod of her head.
"My name." He starts off slowly and can't help but notice the girls eyes going wide at the sound of his voice through his helmets modulator unnerves her. "Is Victor von Doom."
Willow can see her own eyes go wide at Xander's proclamation in the slightly reflective surface of his mask. His mask which looks even more real and detailed than before. What was once a plastic costume is now an actual real metal suit. And her friend suddenly isn't so Xander shaped when realization sets in on what must be happening.
"We've all turned into our Halloween costumes!" She blurts out before blushing. If Xander really did become Doctor Doom now she may need to tread carefully.
'Ahhhhh so that's what happened.' Doom thinks while nodding in agreement with the girl in front of him. It's at this point he notices a body laying just a few feet away, covered in a sheet with the word 'boo' on it. 'So she's intangible because she dressed up as a ghost then.' Doom concludes.
"Well you said your friend needed help? Doom will assist you in finding her then before we resolve this problem." He decides to be helpful. It's not like it's a big deal to him and it can give him something to do while he ponders the situation he now finds himself in.
It's not the first time Doom has traveled dimensions, whether on purpose or accident. Nor is it the first time his consciousness has ended up in another body. Though that last one is usually deliberate on his part.
As the two take off in the direction of their wayward friend who now can't defend herself, Doom turns himself inward to find out more about the person who would chose him to dress up as for this holiday. He is a master of the mind and connecting with his host is a small feat. He looks at the life Xander lead up until now, finding a surprising amount of humor in the fact that to them, Doom is just a character in a comic book.
More surprising though, is that there are no protectors here. No mutants, no Avengers. Doom could clearly see the plight of the Slayer. He could see the forces of darkness threatening to destroy this world. He could see how his counterpart was trying his best to bravely face down monsters and demons. And so he came to a decision.
Xander needed Doom.
He needed what Doom could give him if he was to stand amongst these Gods and monsters as an equal. It was child's play for Doom to make the necessary alterations. He started by augmenting Xander's brain to handle everything it would need and to lay the groundwork for the rest of the changes to come. Doom mentally smiled at how Xander might react to go from being almost painfully average to becoming a super genius overnight. He also mentally sighed, it would be both a gift and a curse, being so much more than everyone else with so few peers on his level. The next part was even easier. Giving Xander a head start by inscribing all of Doom's memories with his own. Now Xander would know everything that Doom knew. All of his talent with sorcery will be at the teenagers fingertips come the ending of this spell that put Doom inside of the driver's seat of Xander's body. All of his knowledge of technology and science, indexed permanently for him to consult on a whim if he so desires.
And lastly, Doom leaves a portion of his subconscious behind. Until Xander gets used to his new life, it will be a little guardian angel on his shoulder, offering advice when warranted and giving a second opinion when needed.
All of this took less than the time it did for them to find Buffy. A shrill scream rent the air as she tripped over her dress while running from some miniature monsters that gave chase to an easy target.
"Ahhhhh! Demons!" She cried out and covered her face with her hands, thinking her life would soon meet a grisly end. Only instead of the pain of being mauled like she thought would happen, the noble lady instead heard startled yelps and whimpers coming from the tiny werewolves and one lagoon monster that had been chasing her.
She tentatively pulled her hands away from her face and stared in dumbfounded fascination as she saw what she thought were demons suspended in midair.
"Wait don't hurt them! They're just kids who are under the effects of the spell Xander... err... Mr. Doom?" A red head who wore atrociously revealing clothes spoke to the... the... knight in shining armor! Her breath caught in her throat and her heart nearly beat out of her chest. A knight had come to save her! But then she noticed his outstretched hand and how, with a negligent wave, the monsters who were defying laws of physics were thrown through the air where they landed in a heap before getting up and scrambling off as fast as they could. Was this knight also a sorcerer?
"Doctor." He corrected the woman who addressed him.
"Oh r-right sorry." She laughs nervously, hoping that he wouldn't take offence and do something drastic, like taking over the world.
"Please ser you must help me!" Buffy demands while running up to her savior.
"Buffy thank God you're alright." Willow says in relief.
She scrunches up her nose in confusion over the foreign sounding way she addressed her. "Who is this 'Buffy' you speak of? My name is Elizabeth." The noble woman corrects.
"Look Buffy, we've all turned into our-"
"Ahhhhhhh! Demon!" Buffy shrieks again before latching onto Xander's arm and putting him between her and what turned out to be a passing car.
Although she couldn't tell because of the mask, Willow could have sworn that Xander/Doom was rolling his eyes in exasperation.
"Perhaps we should go somewhere less exposed to wait this out? A spell of this kind that effects so many people is likely temporary." Doom says.
"We can go to Buffy's house. It's closest and we can barricade ourselves in." Willow said while leading the way.
Of course Doom knew exactly who cast this rather interesting spell, as well as what it might take to end it early if it became necessary. But he decided to just wait it out. The novelty still hadn't worn off and it was a nice break from what he had been doing.
They were just crossing the threshold into Buffy's house when someone else screamed for once. The Scooby gang all turned to see another woman dressed in a sexy cat costume running from some monsters.
Once again, Doom used his magic to lift the pursuers into the air, and send them on their way.
"Cordelia." Willow greeted when she caught up with them and were all safely ensconced within Buffy's home. "You're not... well... a cat?" Willow tried to wrap her head around why the cheerleader of the group was seemingly immune to the events of the night.
"No duh I'm not really a cat." Cordelia snapped before checking herself over and making a noise of frustration. "And look at this!" She says pointing to a part of her costume that was shredded. "There's no way I'll get my deposit back at Party Town with this!"
"Wait you got your costume at Party Town?" Willow asked.
"Yeah, my parents are rich, I don't have to shop at a bargain basement... Xander?" She trailed off in confusion when she noticed the futuristic armor the only male member of the group was wearing.
"Only technically." Doom responds in amusement. It was nice to have someone appreciate his armor.
"Woah that's actually really nice." She complimented while running a hand over his chest. She might not be a nerd and know who he dressed up as but the costume was impressively realistic.
"We all got our costumes at Ethan's! That must be why we turned into out costumes." Willow babbles while working through the cause.
Doom was actually impressed with Xander's friend. She did catch on quick without any help.
"Xander, can you keep an eye on things here and make sure Buffy doesn't get into any trouble? I'm gonna go find Giles and see if he can break the spell." She rushes for the door and tries to grab the handle before remembering she's incorporeal at the moment and just walks through the solid door.
Cordelia was about to question what Willow was talking about until she sees her walk through a solid object. Instead she shakes her head and remembers that this is Sunnydale, and weird shit happens.
Meanwhile Buffy had been examining her surroundings while the strangers were talking until she comes across a shelf of picture frames. Picking one up for a closer look she can't help speaking up anymore.
"She looks like me!" She says loudly getting the other two occupants attention. "But she's dressed in such strange clothes. I don't understand what's going on. I'm scared and I just want to go home. Please take me home and my father will pay you any amount you want ser!" She pleads to the armored man.
"Lady Elizabeth." Doom says commandingly getting her attention and neatly breaking Buffy out of her impending hysterics. "It's dark and there are demons outside. We'll just have to wait until morning." He tries the most effective method of keeping her calm until the spell is over.
She huffs and crosses her arms as she sits down on the couch to wait like her armored savior suggested.
"This is all seriously weird. So who did you turn into?" Cordelia asks Xander.
"Doctor Victor von Doom." He answers simply.
The cat costumed girl eyes him up and down with an arched eyebrow. "You're a doctor?"
Before he can respond however, he hears the sound of the back door opening. Doom raises a finger to where his lips would be for silence and looks towards the kitchen area where the intruder will have to come from.
As soon as the handsome man with chiseled features and a permanent brooding expression enters the living room, Xander's memories place a name to go with the face. This was Angel, the vampire with a soul, whom Buffy desires despite the age disparity. Then again, to Doom, age is largely irrelevant past the age of consent. He knew a few people who would be quite limited if they were to only date other people around the same age in his home universe.
It was also a moot point. After tonight, Xander will be rolling in pussy if he so chooses. Intelligence is sexy. Reed Richards got a knock out beauty in Sue Storm to marry him, Tony Stark was almost as well known for being a playboy as he was for being Iron Man, and Victor von Doom himself was no slouch with the ladies; he simply preferred meaningful relationships.
With all eyes on him, Angel was somewhat taken aback, having expected to get the drop on people like he usually does.
"I uh... I came to check on Buffy."
"Of course you did. She's fine, but she thinks she's an eighteenth century noble lady right now so she'll need constant supervision." Doom said in a bland tone that seemed disproportionately powerful thanks to his suits voice modulator.
"Right it seems like everyone turned into their costumes." Angel agreed after taking stock of Buffy pouting on the couch.
"Cordelia?" The vampire asks while gesturing towards the cat lady.
"Is still perfectly fine thanks!" She snaps waspishly at Angel's insinuation that she might start acting like a cat at any moment.
"Oh okay. But why aren't you affected?" He asks.
"Because only people who got their costumes from Ethan's are affected by this spell." Doom answers.
"Alright." Angel nods. "Wait what about you?" He asks, suddenly suspicious.
"Doom is a master of the mind. As such, I've already seen all of my counterparts memories." He heads off with his explanation.
"Doom also refers to himself in the third person apparently." Cordelia snaps, still a little peeved about not being able to get her deposit back.
Before any more conversation can be had, a breaking window crashes the atmosphere as someone breaks into the house from the kitchen. The intruder is dressed as a stereotypical Dracula and bears his fangs at the occupants.
"I vant to suck your blood!"
"I've got this!" Angel jumps into the fray with his 'game face' on, causing Buffy to scream in fright at his visage and run away while calling him a demon.
Xander/Doom is confused that this fake vampire can ignore the rule of being invited in, and Cordelia is too shocked at Angel's 'transformation' to do anything but stare.
Doom just shakes his head as Angel and the assailant tumble around on the ground in a struggle. Angel trying not to actually hurt the poor teenager who isn't in control of his actions, and the fake vampire who has real vampire strength because of the spell.
The armored man gives a long suffering sigh as he lifts his hand and telekinetically separates the two, then thrusts outward causing the costumed vampire to be hurled out the same window he entered from while simultaneously lowering Angel to the ground.
"Come, we're wasting time while Buffy runs headfirst into danger." Doom said while he turns and walks to the door with his cloak billowing behind him.
Angel, Cordelia, and Doom eventually tracked down, and caught up with Buffy. Doom was idly taking his time without worry because he had cast a minor spell on her earlier, both to track her, and to insure she wouldn't actually get hurt.
The Vampire known as Spike had rounded up an sizable number of minions formed up from the unfortunate people who had been transformed into various monsters due to tonight's ritual. The blond haired, British accented vampire confronted them in a warehouse wanting to use this opportunity to dispose of the Slayer while she was otherwise incapable of using her immense physical strength.
Sadly Doom had to hold back. He knew he wouldn't be around in Xander's body for much longer, and just because he would have the knowledge, didn't mean he would have the aptitude to use magic as well as Doom could without practice. Not to mention the suit would likely revert back to its original components when the spell ended. And he couldn't just outright obliterate the innocent bystanders when they had no control over their actions. That could lead to his counterpart being in trouble for Doom's actions.
That didn't mean he wouldn't take the presented opportunity to help out Xander by taking out one of his antagonists. A small, controlled, fireball spell would be more than sufficient to deal with Spike once and for all.
Unfortunately, and unknown to them at the time, the Powers That Be intervened on Spikes behalf. They had a role for him to play far in the future, and they were past the point of no return when it came to Xander accidentally throwing off their plans yet again.
On the other side of town, Giles breaks the bust of Janus, shattering the focal point of the spell that ensnared everyone who bought their costume at Ethan's shop.
Back at the warehouse, the fireball Dr. Doom was preparing and waiting for when Angel and Spike broke apart so he could get a clean shot, faltered and snuffed out as Doom's active persona faded away.
But where Doom was no longer able to help them, the Slayer had returned. With Buffy able to fight him on even ground, and with most of his cobbled together rabble down for the count because of the ending of the spell, Spike decided that a strategic retreat was prudent and ran as fast as his legs could carry him.
Instead of giving chase, Buffy rushed over to Angel to make sure he was alright, briefly forgetting that if he wasn't currently ash then he would make a full recovery.
Xander, however, was having a problem. Namely the piercing headache Doom left him with when he rewrote his neural pathways to sharply boost his intelligence. It was also quite disorienting to be able to think of so much, so fast.
It was beautiful at the same time in an odd way. How the entire world seemed to stand still as if by his will. But no, time wasn't actually frozen he realized. Everything seemed to just be moving in slow motion, even his own body. It took him longer than he would have liked to consciously slow his mind down so he perceived time as it was actually happening.
He didn't actually get to say any witty one liner about what a night they had when an average looking person wearing a rather stylish fedora appeared before them as if from thin air.
"Hello all." He greeted pleasantly, nodding at everyone who was still conscious in the room before fully turning to Xander. "For what it's worth, I really am sorry about this. Just following orders you know?" And then he snapped his fingers and Xander disappeared just as suddenly and without warning as the stranger appeared.
Faster than anyone could blink, a blonde missile had slammed into the stranger and held him by the throat with one hand while the other was cocked back and prepared to smash this persons face in like an overripe watermelon.
In a deathly cold voice with an expression made of stone she asked him only one simple question. "What. Did. You. Do?"
The poor man couldn't quite keep the fear out of his voice. Even though he could have teleported away (and desperately wanted too). He had to stay and explain what was going on. "M-m-maybe we should w-wait for Giles and W-Willow."
Buffy didn't find that reassuring or satisfactory, and prepared to end this person. The man, realizing what was about to happen, hastened his explanation. "It's the will of the Powers! Xander was changing too much and upsetting the delicate balance! I know he didn't mean too but after what happened to him tonight it couldn't be undone so the Powers That Be had to remove him." He whimpered a little, the Slayer still hadn't blinked.
A moment later, he was no longer on the wall, but he still had her hand wrapped tightly around his neck as she began dragging him along with her.
"We're going to go have a talk with Giles then. And if I don't like what you have to say then I'm going to start hurting you. I don't know when I'll stop." She promised in a voice just loud enough for everyone to make out in the silence of the warehouse.
Once everyone met back up in the library, Giles and Willow were more than ready to hear the reason behind Xander's sudden abduction.
"The Powers That Be..." Giles said while calmly cleaning his glasses in his familiar habit.
"Yeah, you know, the big guys upstairs?" The now identified balance demon Whistler said while motioning skyward. "The people who make the decisions on how the world goes round, the ones who keep the balance, those people who hand down prophecies from on high." He says while pointedly looking at Buffy.
"So what? That stupid thing was technically fulfilled." The blonde Slayer snarled at the demon disguised as a human.
"So... They don't really like it when people find loopholes in those things, and when Xander saved your life, however well intentioned, created ripples lady. The Powers had to rework a whole lot just because you're alive right now." He pointed out.
"But Angel saved me that time." Buffy rebutted and all eyes turned to the brooding vampire in question.
"No I didn't." He starts off slowly, now realizing there was no hiding his shame from that night. "He... Xander had to threaten me to get me to go with him, to help out in case there were any other vampires there. And he's the one who used CPR to bring you back."
And with that admission, Buffy's entire world view shattered, Cordelia's opinion of the dweeb rose even higher, and Willow broke out in renewed sobs. She hadn't taken Xander not being with them after the spell ended well.
"And that was just the first time. Admittedly, he clearly didn't know he was changing the future. So the Powers tried to work around it. But this time it was different. The only thing they could do is take him out of the equation to keep the world on track." The balance demon said.
"Why is that?" Giles questioned quietly, still cleaning his glasses, but not out of nervousness as he looks the demon squarely in the eyes.
"Well I'm not privy to the how's and why's. All I do know is that he wasn't supposed to go as that comic book guy tonight."
"Explain." Buffy's one word command kept the ball rolling.
"Look all I got is that as soon as he put on that costume, the future started changing. And I don't mean just one person who should be dead up and walking around. I mean like huge advancements in technology all across the board. One world united under Doom type changes. That's all I got before I had to go get him." He explains.
"Wait, wait, wait hold the phone. You mean to tell me that Xander takes over the world?" Cordelia voices her disbelief.
"No, but when you cure every illness known to man, and even some that aren't, and improve medicine to the point that he doubles or even triples peoples life spans... You tend to get thrown up on a pedestal. And that's only the first few things." He elaborates.
"W-where is he? What happened to him?" Willow asks.
"He's not dead if that's what you all were thinking. He just can't be here. This world isn't meant for someone like him now."
"Then where is he?" Cordelia asks. Taking all of the weirdness that was this night in stride.
"My best guess? Some world that he would be right at home in." Whistler says, not knowing just how right his guess was.
He did what he could to paint the PTB in the best possible light. It's not like he could tell them that plan 'A' was to remove Xander from existence and be done with it. He was only just informed by the nature of banishing him from this plane that it couldn't happen. Some deity had named him their champion, and that meant the Powers couldn't just snap their fingers and erase him. But he was too much of a liability, a force too powerful to be controlled or contained on this dimension.
So plan 'B' it was. Excommunication was still well within their rights. So sending him somewhere else to be someone else's problem was the next best bet. Preferably somewhere that didn't have a set of Powers That Be of the same type as here. That away he couldn't be kicked out of there also. By doing things this way, they were doing everything they could to bar him from ever being able to come back to his home dimension. For that, Whistler felt genuinely sorry for the kid.
In the ether, the PTB that had just been outed early to the Scooby gang, had just finished dropping Xander off in his new home. They were still somewhat confused by the entire situation. They hadn't paid attention, and the entire future was nearly in jeopardy of being something they couldn't control. Some of them where metaphorically still scratching their heads on how something as small as being someone else for Halloween could change so much.
To add insult to injury, he was a champion! That was their first clue that someone was fucking with them. Most other deities couldn't shut up when they selected a representative, yet Xander, breaker of prophecies, managed to slip in under their collective radar again. It really was quite vexing.
So they did the only thing they could. They couldn't just erase him, nor could he stay. That much was certain. Therefore, they combined their power and banished him to another dimension and essentially locked him out. They took advantage of a loophole, with the memories and power of someone from outside of this dimension so thoroughly a part of him now, they could label him an outsider and circumvent not being able to intervene with another deities' champion. It was flimsy at best, but they were desperate to avoid any more deviance from their plan.
They weren't entirely heartless though. To start with, they wouldn't send him anywhere with cosmic powers that would just kick him out entirely on principal. No one wanted an interdimensional hot potato.
The next requirement for his new home, oddly enough, was that he couldn't go anywhere that another Doctor Doom existed. That was more just one of those funny rules that Xander qualified for on a technicality.
And finally, they couldn't send him to a normal world. No real reason why they couldn't, aside from most of those worlds having parallels to the PTB that wouldn't take kindly to having this problem foisted onto them when they, themselves, weren't willing to put in the hard work of dealing with it. But the answer laid in the same place the problem came from. There were an infinite number of worlds with heroes and villains that didn't have Doom.
So after explaining all of this to Xander, and wasn't that a surprise that he could remain conscience and aware while in the ether, and sent him on his way with a metaphysical pat on the head. If it wouldn't be so disruptive to the timeline with him just existing, they might have actually enjoyed his presence. Or at least some of them would have. They had no idea, no way of knowing, that in their arrogance, laziness, and impatience, they angered a God with power far beyond their own, and would pay for it dearly in the years to come as He, She, It would take great joy in driving them to insanity by subtly dismembering all of their plans, piece by piece.
But before that, Janus had a champion to comfort.
Somewhere in a desert of California, a place where Xander would later learn was where the Hellmouth would be located if it existed here, and if Sunnydale had been built in the first place, was where he just so happened to land in this new dimension.
He fell to his knees as the numbness still hadn't worn off. He had hoped, briefly, that it had all been a dream, a nightmare. That those disembodied voices hadn't been real, or that what they said had been a lie. Or even that the entire events of Halloween had been a disturbing hallucination. Anything would be better than this.
Slowly he reached up to his face and took off the mask and turned it over in his hands. A blend of Doom and Iron Man looked back at him. He learned from some of his memories, some of them so real that he felt like he lived them instead of just having been dumped in his mind. He learned that Doom was in the process of atoning for all his past mistakes after finding that being a God didn't fulfill him like he hoped it would. How he'd gone so far in his quest for power only to find that success and victory were hollow. That he could do so much more now that his eyes, and now Xander's too, were opened.
'It's all real Alexander.' Said the voice of Doom that was left behind to guide him in the knowledge that he'd been 'gifted'.
He couldn't hold the scream inside, he didn't want to. All his pain, all his rage, all his sorrow came pouring out of his throat at the injustice of it all. He'd never see G-man, Buffy, Willow, Cordelia, or even Dead Boy again.
His magic that he could now feel coursing through his veins and all around him responded to him in an uncontrollable burst. Fueled by his rage, the sand around him rose as if the start of a sandstorm only to be frozen in the air as time and space in the immediate vicinity faltered and bent to his will. Xander couldn't help but feel his anger slowly slipping through his fingers like the frozen sands in front of him would surely slip his grasp. He couldn't help but admire how strangely beautiful it was to see such a phenomena.
The dark haired teen tentatively reached out and as soon as he made contact a tendril of the sandstorm that was stilled before it could even really begin; time reasserted its dominion on reality and all the grains softly fell around him.
"What do I do now?" He asked forlornly as he looked up at the clear stars in the night sky as if the heavens got him into this, then the heavens would get him out of it as well.
"Whatever you want to do." A soothing disembodied voice seemed to speak from all around him, resonating in his very soul.
"Who are you?" He asked, not panicking, or looking around. Xander knew it wouldn't do any good after the confrontation he just had with the so called PTB.
Suddenly a comforting feeling. Like a warm embrace of a woman holding him from behind as her arms encircled his front.
"I am Janus, God of change and doorways. I am so sorry that this happened to you my champion, I never meant for you to be cast out. But I did not abandon you. You are never alone Xander." The beautiful voice spoke directly to his very being, bolstering him against even greater fears he didn't know he had. And he was reassured. He knew that somehow, everything would be okay. That it would get better.
He sobbed quietly against the soothing, yet intangible embrace in gratitude, that this God who named him champion had gone so far to directly contact him and let him know the he is not alone in this new world.
"What do I do now?" He questioned again with more drive and steel in his voice now that he knew all wasn't lost.
"Anything you want, it's a new world after all." Janus answered.
"Well..." Xander started before the voice of Doom and his own overlapped in sync.
'This world has Doom now.'
"This world has Doom now."
A/N: The suit described is Doctor Doom as the Infamous Iron Man. Thank you all for reading! Please let me know if you like it.