Part 6: "Fear Itself" (Revisited)
"You know, if we keep meeting like this, I'm going to start to wonder about your intentions!"
"WHAT?" Supergirl screamed as she punched one of the drug-running gang members into a wall. On the building that was across the street. "You cannot be serious!"
White Knight just chuckled as he almost casually created half a dozen solholos to battle the majority of the gang while he dealt damage with ever-shifting weapons, from lances and spears, to shield and sword, to mace and baseball bat. Not to mention he was always creating false holograms of himself that the gun-toting gang members attacked only to discover that they were shooting at empty air, while he invisibly snuck up behind them and proceeded to pummel them into unconsciousness.
"Y'know, for a guy that goes around looking like an angel, you don't exactly fight fair," commented Supergirl with a giggle of her own.
White Knight gave her an incredulous look, dodging around another of the gang members, before replying with, "Have you actually read the Bible? Angels are the baddest of the bad on the battlefield and I know for a fact that dodging and attacking in the back is very honorable. It keeps you alive and the other guy either dead or unconscious. The only thing that demons and angels are different about at all, on the battlefield or not, is that demons lie and WILL double-cross you. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they WILL. Angels... you get them to give you an oath, they follow it to the letter of the word that they agreed to until either you or they no longer exist. Honor is a human concept."
"Good to know," said Supergirl.
"So why are you following me around again?" White Knight asked after all the gang members had either been captured or knocked out.
"Because you still haven't given me your contact information for the League," the blond heroine huffed impatiently. She put her hands on her hips and added a glare to the package.
"So you're following me all over Los Angeles so you can ask me for my phone number?" White Knight clarified with a bit of a leer.
"No, that's not... I meant... but..." she stuttered.
He chuckled one final time before looking around and said to her, "Well, job's done, cops are right on schedule. You mind cleaning up here? Great! See you later SG!" With that, the west coast superhero vanished into invisibility and all trace likewise vanished.
"Oh! Grrr!" Supergirl growled out loud.
"I don't know, I was going for scary and creepy, maybe even a bit leery, but it's coming out sardonic and melancholy," Xander critiqued his own work with a tilted head.
"Hm," Willow agreed, "It does seem mildly depressed and bereft of joy."
"Plus the nose is kinda droopy," Oz added.
Xander gave the laconic werewolf a mild glare, but shrugged as he turned back to his jack-o-lantern. "I don't know. What do you think, Buff?" he asked, turning it around for the blond Slayer to see.
"I was just thinking about the life of a pumpkin," she muttered, thoroughly depressed-sounding, "Growing, living in wide open fields under the sun, until somebody comes along to rip you from the ground, carve you up into strange shapes and tear out your guts," she said all this will running her hand through the extracted pumpkin puss.
Feeling highly uncomfortable now, Xander immediately turned the jack-o-lantern back around and was oddly silent. Privately, he was wishing there was something that he could do, and as much as he knew that there really wasn't anything that he could have done, he somehow felt like he should have been there to stop Parker from hurting Buffy the way that he did.
Also highly unfortunate was the fact that being a superhero had cut into a lot of Xander's free time and while he'd been hoping to craft some kind of scary movie night, he hadn't had time to go to the video store. Besides, he half-expected that he would be needed out flying around stopping Halloween-inspired crime.
Still, despite what happened back during High School, as far as demonic evil was concerned, Halloween was the one night to stay in and do anything other than a spot of evil, so maybe he should take that into account as well and take the night off for once.
Keeping this in mind, he asked his friends, "So, what are the plans for All Hallow's Eve anyway? I had been planning a big ole scary movie marathon, but I kinda forgot to go to the video store."
"I thought we were doing the ΑΔ thing?" Willow said out loud, looking to Oz.
"What thing?" Xander asked, completely lost.
"The scary house? Sounds kinda lame," Buffy commented, putting the puss back in the bowl.
"It actually borders on fun," Oz lamented. "You have to go through the whole haunted house to get to the party, which is actually kinda cool for a frat party. Those guys do throw some decent parties."
"There's a party?" Xander repeated, still lost.
"We didn't tell you?" Willow asked, sounding part guilty and part horrified.
"I've been busy," Xander stated, giving her a look.
"You wanna come?"
Now that was the real kicker here. Did he want to go to a Frat party of all college parties?
"OK, but only because you asked so nicely," he grinned widely at her.
"I'm gonna head out guys," Buffy said as she got up.
Glancing at his watch, Xander realized that it really was that late, so he forewent stalling the Slayer any and went straight with his newly honed hero-instincts. "You want me to walk you guys back to campus?"
"Nah, besides, I was thinking of doing a patrol sweep before turning in. And need I remind you, Xander, Slayer here," Buffy admonished him.
Xander shrugged. "How about you guys? Want some company on the way back?" he offered to Willow and Oz.
"Uh, actually..." Willow started to say even as Oz outright glared at him. On anyone else it might've been a small event, but for the usually stoic werewolf, it was the same as screaming threats and holding him at knife, gun, and sword point.
"Say no more," Xander quickly backpedaled. "It is getting rather... mature. So I might as well turn in myself. At least let me walk you guys to the door."
"All of six or seven feet away," Buffy joked.
"Aha! There is yet life to be found within our moping blond who wished to emulate a certain souled and brooding vampire who shall remain nameless," Xander joked back.
"Careful Xander," Willow warned him.
"Oh please, if that's the best you can do, Xander..." Buffy started to say, before instantly turning around to Willow to ask anxiously, "I haven't really been that bad have I? I mean I know I've been a bit down lately and with... you know and everything, but I haven't actually been brooding or anything have I?"
The other three teens merely gave her a steady look.
"Oh gawd..." Buffy moaned, leaving quickly.
Kara wasn't sure what to do. She'd contacted Bats about her latest "encounter" with the White Knight, told the whole Justice League what he'd told her about him being human and only recently getting his powers, and everything else. Sadly, that didn't make explaining why she was in a brief altercation with the LAPD any easier, or at all better.
At least there was school to take her mind off of her 'job' as Supergirl. While UCS was only supposed to be temporary when this White Knight character popped up out of nowhere and Batman had hit a dead end in his investigation, Sunnydale was still a nice homely town, a lot like Smallville, and there were some things about the town that was starting to grow on her.
"Well, look at that," Xander Harris grinned as he walked right up to her, "Bumping into each other again, this time without the literal bumping! I feel this is a major accomplishment in our relationship."
"We have a relationship? Should I be worried about stalker vibes?" Kara teased him.
"In this town?" he jested back.
"So, what brings you to campus?" Kara asked, letting him off the hook for the moment.
"Ah, the usual," Xander shrugged, turning to walk beside her, "Helping out some friends. Specifically, my best friend's boyfriend, whose name just so happens to be Oz."
"Please tell me your kidding," the brunette giggled. "His parents named him Oz? As in the Wizard of?"
Xander just shrugged, then answered, "Actually, I think his legal name, and don't tell him I know this, is Daniel Ozborne. No relation to the son of the devil, thankfully. Well, no direct relation that I can discern."
Kara giggled again. "So, helping him with what, if I may ask?"
"He's moving some sound equipment for the party at the ΑΔ house on Halloween. I'm meeting him there to help unload. Hey, speaking of which, you, uh, you wouldn't happen to be going, would you?" Xander hesitantly asked her.
Intrigued, Kara smiled knowingly and asked, "Going where, exactly?"
"To the Halloween party. At the ΑΔ house. Which my college-bound friends just so happened to squeeze an invite for me. So that I might attend. And, well, if you happened to be going, or were going to go, or was thinking about going, well, then... It might save us time, and effort, if we, well, went together, maybe?"
"Xander, are you asking me to go to the ΑΔ Halloween party with you?" Kara teasingly asked.
"Yes, yes I am," Xander was proud how he didn't gulp convulsively as he said those words.
"Yes you are, what?" she teased.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Xander mock-glared down at her.
"Just a little bit," she smirked.
"Kara Kent, if you're not too busy, would you please accompany, dance with, and all around have a good time with me at a Halloween Frat party?" he asked in his most 'gentlemanly' voice impression.
Laughing out loud, Kara could only nod her head yes. Chuckling a bit himself, Xander completed his impression by taking her hand and kissing the back of it with a big wet smack.
"Ew! Stop it," she playfully shoved him off, keeping well in mind her true strength.
"Ow," Xander playfully rubbed the spot where she'd hit, "Got a strong arm on ya from doing all that farm work, huh?"
"Well, what do you expect?" she teased him, while privately wincing to herself. "Besides, looks like you California boys are made of pretty stern stuff. Almost felt like hitting a steel wall."
Xander chuckled, but he too suddenly looked a bit worried about something.
"Hey, look," he said, "I've really got to meet Oz, but it was great running into you again. Thankfully not literally this time. How about we meet later on, say tomorrow around three, we can discuss costumes and meeting places and whatnot?"
Kara nodded, her own issues reminding her of certain responsibilities and she quickly agreed. "Yeah, that sounds great. So, see you around three tomorrow? Here, the Coffee Place, now that I know where it is?"
"Uh, yeah, the Coffee Place would be good. Tomorrow, around three," Xander confirmed.
"It's a date," Kara teasingly called as she walked off.
Xander almost stumbled, but he managed to catch himself, before walking off in the other direction.
Kara almost squealed in excitement. She wasn't exactly unpopular in Smallville, or Metropolis, but she'd always been too preoccupied with keeping her secret or some other stuff to just go out on a date and enjoy herself. It was a very nice change for her.
Xander, on the other hand, was more nervous than the night of the Valentine Dance at the Bronze when he'd been dating Cordelia. He stopped to muse for a moment on how that had turned out. Still, he already had a very excellent costume choice picked out, one that he'd wished he'd thought of two years ago. James Bond, 007 of her Majesty's Secret Service, and all around super action hero playboy!
After meeting up with Oz and displaying some beneficial superhero skills in carrying a lot of the near-hundred-pounds-per-trip sound equipment up three flights of stairs, he hung around, not entirely because he needed to rest to catch his breath, and helped Oz with setting up and moving the stuff around as needed. Hence, leading to the suddenly uncomfortable conversation between Oz and the two frat brothers he was "helping out" with the favor of sound equipment.
As they entered the top floor party room, so to speak, Xander took it in at a glance. Some fake skeletons, fake spiders with both real and fake spiderwebs, a table with food stuffs prepared, of which there was a punch bowl of "blood" or hopefully just red juice and another bowl of peeled grapes, and of course the ever present chips and dip. The dip was made to look like a person's guts, literally. Oh and there was this really weird occult-looking drawing in the middle of the floor, painted with red and white paint. One of the frat boys already there was putting some last minute touch-ups on it apparently.
"Okay, watch your step, boys. Paint's still wet in a few spots," he told Xander and Oz as they carried the equipment in. They dutifully avoided stepping anywhere near that spot on the floor.
"Thanks for the loan, man. Our sound system sucks," the other frat boy said to Oz after they'd set the heavy speakers down. Oz and the frat boy exchanged greetings, which kind of looked like a handshake to Xander, but he couldn't be sure about that.
"Mi casio es su casio." Oz said in return.
Feeling a little out of place, Xander fell back on his old habits and tried to make meaningless conversation. Pointing at the pentagram occult painting, he commented, "Well, that's an interesting little design. What does it mean?" Then he took another look at the snack table and he was reminded by his stomach that he hadn't eaten anything since breakfast.
"No clue man," the first frat boy answered. "I got it out of this book. There is a lot of really cool stuff about..." but Xander was no longer listening, already bored with the meaningless conversation and more interested in filling the vacuum that was his stomach.
"Oooh! Grapes!" he practically lunged for the snack table and took a few of the peeled grapes. "Wow, peeled. You guys know how to spoil your guests."
"Eyeballs, man.," the frat who'd greeted Oz told him. "Blindfold chicks and have them stick their hands in the bowl and tell them it's eyeballs. They love that."
Xander almost dropped the grape at the first words, but his stomach wouldn't let good food go to waste. Shrugging, he popped the grape and eyed the frat boys for a moment, listening to what they were saying about the blindfolding girls and trying to scare the crap out of them by telling them they were putting their hands in a bowl filled with removed human organs.
"And here I was wasting time buying them flowers and complimenting them on their shoes. So, you go through the whole house of horrors downstairs and it ends up here. Sweet. You fratly guys have a nice setup," he said to them.
"Hey, mighty, mighty Alpha Delts. You should think about pledging," he offered.
Oz looked up and said, "Oh, Xander is a civilian."
Xander shot Willow's boyfriend a look but said nothing to dispute this fact. Although technically correct, particularly in the way he'd meant it, Xander felt that being a secret identity wielding super hero made him something a bit more than a "civilian" if they knew what he meant. Though with the whole secret identity thing, he couldn't exactly go around advertising now could he?
"Ah!" the other frat guy winced. "Townie, huh? Didn't know. He looked so normal. You sure we should let him come to the party, Oz?"
Now feeling not just insulted but highly annoyed, he threw up his hands, exclaiming with more than a bit of sarcasm, "Hey, standing right here."
Before anyone can really respond to that, the speakers come to life with various spooky noises and creepy wind sounds. The frat boys thing it's awesome, of course, but Xander takes one look at Oz's face, which is more pensive than neutral at the moment, and knows something is up.
"Something wrong, Oz?" he asked, his responsible superhero self making him dispense with the comedy for the time being. He looks over at the speakers himself, shifting his vision to see if he could detect anything that shouldn't belong. Unfortunately, given that he knows next to nothing about sound equipment, he's not able to really identify any problem.
Oz pulls out a pocket knife, unfolds it and answers, "Ah, the left speaker is crackling a little bit."
"And you feel stabbing it is the proper solution?" Xander can't help but ask.
Oz shrugged and moved over to the aforementioned speaker, "I'm just going to trim the wire. It might be a short." He disappears behind the speaker, while Xander shrugs and lets himself calm down.
"Ah!" Oz suddenly straightens, holding his thumb.
"Oz?" Xander calls, concerned.
"Cut myself. It's OK," he holds out his thumb, then sucks on it to quell the pain. He walks over to them in the middle of the floor and shakes his hand out some, throwing off the last lingering effects of the cut. Benefit of being a werewolf, small cuts heal in hours what would take weeks.
"Playing with knives, fun, yes, but not safe," Xander joked. "And when you bleed to death I've got dibs on your equipment." Oz just laughed and nodded.
Unfortunately, what none of them noticed was a few drops of blood falling from Oz's healing cut and landing on the painted design on the floor. Neither did they take note of the wave of magic emanating from the summoning circle, nor the small plastic spider right next to it suddenly turning into a very real tarantula that skit away as fast as it could.
Meanwhile, Supergirl was taking the opportunity to give her report to Batman and her cousin and the rest of the League, such as it was. It was actually just Clark, Diana and Bruce, but the fact that it was all three of them, civilian clothes or not, made Kara feel like she was being interrogated or something. Or at least put on the spot as she gave her report.
"So," Clark began, "how do you like college so far?"
And then there were questions like that from the only real family she had left. Swell, as Jimmy always used to say in situations like these.
"College is fine. Really. Honestly, compared to some of the tutoring sessions J'onn and the others give me, it's a nice change of pace. I get to focus more on acting human than memorizing facts and stuff. Plus, speed-reading and just general super speed helps in completing all the assignments. Now, before Clark embarrasses me further, what do you want to know Bats?"
Clark had the decency to blush, while Diana giggled at his expense. Bruce on the other hand was all business. "What more have you learned about the new 'hero'? Any clues about where he came from or where he got his powers?"
"Wow, don't ask for much, do ya?" Kara sarcastically remarked.
"OK, I'll answer that first one with; No, not really. Other than he's more annoying than Flash hyped up on caffeine, and his jokes are just as bad."
All three big name superheroes winced, Diana shivering in sympathy with what Kara had gone through.
"And?" Bruce prompted in his 'Batman' voice.
"And he's local. Maybe not to LA, but to the region. He knows right where to go, no searching around or getting lost, and you've said you haven't been able to trace any unusual radio traffic in the area, so he's not getting directions from an off-site handler either. He also disappears at the oddest places, and it's not just his light powers making him invisible either. If he unmasks and goes civilian, then he knows exactly where to go to blend in. I've even tried following him with super-hearing, tracking his heartbeat, but I lose him every time because he goes by highly populated areas and I can't differentiate him from the rest anymore."
"As for his powers," Kara shrugged, "All I've been able to confirm is that they're definitely light-based. It's not all just coming from him either. I think he can also manipulate real light and reshape it or absorb it and redirect it. Some of his illusions were just too good to be purely artificial. And..."
"And?" the Dark Knight prompted once again.
Kara sighed and shrugged. "And I'm not sure about this, but I think he's a metahuman. He can do things instantly and fluidly, like he thinks it and it's done just like that. There's no technology on Earth than can work like that on manipulating light, no matter who you are or how advanced the tech may be. There are even a few alien races that don't have tech that good! Closest I can think of, that comes to matching what I've seen this White Knight doing, is GL and the Lantern Corps."
The three of them shot nervous looks at one another at that information.
"But," Kara stressed, "Despite being harassed by me, reporters and who knows what else, all this guy does is show up, beat the bad guys or save some people, then disappears. Whoever, or whatever he is, I doubt he's out to destroy the planet. And believe me, if he was a thief or common criminal with super powers, he could pull off a thousand crimes and we'd never know he'd done it until it was too late."
"I can't really say I disagree," Clark put forth his two cents, "but still... Someone with that much power. The power to control light itself, and not just to make illusions, but to reform it into solid energy? We need to determine that he's not going to go off the deep end. But, given his current actions, we don't really have reason to take him down. So I suggest," he glanced at his counterparts before continuing, "I suggest that we back off a little bit. Keep an eye on him, but don't push for answers and don't try and spy on him either."
"I agree," Diana added. "This warrior, whatever his intentions, has done nothing but good in the time he has been public. If that changes, we can still go after him, but for now let him be and continue doing what he's been doing. Kara, if you wouldn't mind, continue to keep an eye on him? But not to question him, to help him and show him that we're willing to give him a chance. Maybe he'll come to us and answer our questions when he's ready."
"Maybe," Bruce finally admitted. "If you want, you can transfer to any other university that you want. I appreciate you doing this favor for me for so long."
Kara shrugged and waved off the apology. "Don't bother. Like I said, I get to work on my socializing skills more here. And if I wanted to worry about learning stuff, I'd just go back to being tutored by aliens all the time. I'll stick it out here, at least until the end of the term. Things may change after that, but for now, I'm happy here. Besides, I've made some cool friends."
"Oh really?" Diana leaned forward, "Do tell!"
"And that's our cue to leave," Clark was on his feet faster than a speeding bullet. "Bruce, need a lift home?"
"I'm covered, but thanks," the playboy billionaire replied. "I'll take care of the bill ladies, so order whatever you like. Goodbye."
With that the two superheroes left as quickly as they could, leaving the two superheroines to gossip and girl talk the afternoon away.
"So, think I should go as myself, or my backup plan?" Xander asked.
"What do you mean your... oh," Willow said after looking up from her magazine to see Xander comparing the mask he usually wore beneath his white helmet as the White Knight, and the tuxedo he was renting, officially, for his cousin's wedding on the weekend, as apparently he was considering going as James Bond as well.
"Hm, gee, potentially compromise your secret identity to the people that are actually trying to find things out about you, or the costume you've been telling Oz and me about for a week now? What do you think, Xander? Or should I say, Mr. Knight?" she sarcastically remarked.
"Hah, hah, hah," Xander deadpanned. "Think I should bring the costume, just in case though?"
"It's a Halloween part at a Frat House, Xander. Not a lot of supervillains hang around college campuses you know," said Willow.
"You'd be surprised... I would imagine," he said in return.
"Leave the highly experimental, /borrowed without consent/ bullet proof armor and incriminating mask at home, please. Have you got a date yet? Oz mentioned something about you saying you may have a date?"
"Oz talks too much," said Xander, ignoring his own oxymoron.
"What's her name?" Willow asked, sitting up, eager for some gossip to share with Buffy later.
"Nunya," Xander casually responded, putting away the tux and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of him after it was in the tuxedo.
"Oh, and I suppose her surname happens to be 'Business'?" Willow sighed and lay back down, picking her magazine back up.
"Wow Prof, you got all the answers, why bother with the questions," he grinned at his inquisitive friend.
"/All Units. All Units. We have a 211 in progress. Please be advised, possible Code M involved. SCU is en route. Patrol Units.../" The Police Scanner was turned down as Xander pulled out his real costume and in a flash of light was transformed into the White Knight once more.
"Go," Willow said, already up and sitting at the computer that she had installed in his room for this express purpose, turning the Police Scanner volume to an appropriate level, "I'll guide you once you're in the air. Make sure your Light Wave is turned on this time, please. It doesn't do either of us much good if you never have it on. Make sure it bounces straight back to me, don't want anyone else listening in, all right?"
"Got it," White Knight pocketed the microwave transceiver and was out the door in a flash of light a moment later. A few seconds passed and the young superhero's voice came over the speakers of the computer Willow was using to receive and translate the microwaves being sent to her own Light Wave, which she had hooked up to said computer.
"So, I'm assuming that robbery is taking place in Los Angeles," said White Knight, currently flying at subsonic speeds through the air, reaching the out city limits just as he finished his sentence.
"Actually, it seems to be going down at the Port," Willow's voice came over the headset he'd attached to his own Light Wave. "Getting camera and satellite images now. Oh, uh, Xan—Knight, sorry, meant to say Knight there."
"It's OK, Prof. Who am I up against?" White Knight asked, slowing his speed as he approached the Los Angeles International Shipping Port.
"More like /what/," her voice was filled with worry over the Light Wave, "/Bane/, /Copperhead/, /Solomon Grundy/, and /Kobra/ is there!"
"Uh, run that last one by me again?" he asked, nearing the site where there were big metal crates being tossed around like toys in a cranky toddler's bedroom.
"The Cult of Kobra. Snake worshipers that are complete anarchists. They try and find ways of genetically, or otherwise boosting themselves with ways to better thrive, or adapt as their mandate says, and it's suspected they've started moving into the drug trade. Bane is hired muscle, as is Solomon Grundy, although there is a DEA agent that is looking into Bane possibly now being in charge of his own Mexican Drug Cartel, but that's still just rumor at this point. Copperhead is normally identified as your standard meta-human jewel thief, but he has some pretty obvious connections with the Kobra cult. As in they're who he got his powers from in the first place. This is starting to look like a drug bust gone wrong, Knight."
"How much time you think I got before the army moves in?" he asked, staying high above the battlefield with his angel-wings holding him aloft.
"It would actually be the DEA and FBI, but if things go according to history and procedure, L.A. SCU should move in first and then the other two do cleanup. FBI doesn't really have a Special Crimes Unit, designed to deal with Metahuman threats that is, albeit if they do they're not publicizing that fact, and given that the local news is already reporting about it, saying they'll have a crew on the scene within minutes, I wouldn't expect them to show up at all. Figure ten minutes, tops."
"Better get started then," White Knight took a deep breath and then dove straight at the three-way meta brawl with gangbangers, cultists, and drug cartel muscle playing backup.
He was really grateful this was being done in broad daylight, middle of the day even. He had plenty of light to work with and starting with putting himself in the Juggernaut armor, he also had a pure-white Batman appear right in front of Bane, a pure white Superman in front of Grundy, and then the rest of the Justice League scattered amongst the rest of the bad guys. Except for Green Lantern. For some reason when he tried turning that solholo into the Green Lantern after the initial try failed, all he got was a version of himself, minus the black parts. Shrugging to himself, he worked with what he had.
Besides, he had more pressing matters to be concerned with.
He had all the solholos aiming to knockout or restrain their various opponents, despite not knowing much about how they all fought, he was surprised that, just like when he mad a solholo of Buffy that one time, he didn't really need to direct them that much. They just knew what to do and were doing it without hesitation. And better than he probably would have on his own.
Speaking of which...
"Stop now, or else," the White Knight commanded, his voice actually managing to rise above the noise of the melee.
"RAWR!" Bane, looking bigger than he had a few moments ago, screamed and kept trying to swat the white bat leaping all over him. "Or else what?" he screamed back, his frustration mounting.
The White Knight didn't answer verbally, but he seemed to take a deep breath, and as he did, all the light in the area went funky, red-shifting for a few brief seconds, before there was a near-blinding flash of light and suddenly for every bad guy on the ground, there was at least one "White Knight", all of them standing in a large circle around the whole melee, each wielding a simple weapon of one kind or another, mostly clubs and axes. That was not counting the seven other constructs and the original White Knight himself.
Rather than stand down, as he'd been hoping they would, all the gangbangers and enforcers surged forward at the additional targets. The Kobra Clan hesitated only a heartbeat before following suit.
White Knight sighed and mentally commanded all his copies to treat any attackers as he would vampires, and to consider them 'dusted' when they weren't attacking anymore.
"Or else I'll make you stop!" he screamed and charged Grundy, who kept disrupting/destroying the Superman solholo.
"Grundy born on a Monday...!" the pale corpse growled as the Knight's reinforced fist smashed into his head.
"Yeah, well guess what? It's Tuesday, Mister Born Yesterday!"
"Grundy face hurt. Ouch." Grundy got back up and slammed a cold fist into the 'head' of the White Knight's Juggernaut armor. To his immense surprise, there was more than enough force behind that single blow to knock the light-enforced solid energy force field armor back and a good ten feet through the air. Even more surprising was how much the White Knight felt that.
It had felt like a punch from the last vampire that had managed to land a hit on him. That was as much a surprise as when he'd discovered his powers in the first place!
Normally, while he could feel some things through whatever light-armors he put on himself, it was the same as wearing real body armor, you may feel a pressure or a shock when something hits, but unless it actually penetrates, you don't feel it the same way you would if you weren't wearing the armor. This time, he did.
"Fine, want to play it that way," White Knight shifted to his default armor/costume and put the floating light disc beneath his feet. A stray thought flit through his head about his and Willow's last conversation and wondering what Kara would dress up as, but he quickly pushed away such selfish thoughts and started trying to absorb more light to use against Grundy here.
He was actually trying to tear loose the Infra-Red spectrum, like he had against that demon a few days ago, but for some reason it kept slipping away, not responding to him. Narrowly dodging Grundy's super-strong swings, White Knight reached for everything he could get and was somewhat surprised to find him separating out the orange spectrum of light all around. Copperhead suddenly looked gray as the White Knight's eyes took on an orange glow, as did the eyes of all his active solholos.
Both his fists lit up with orange light, and willing to risk it with what he had to work with, he waited for an opening, which Grundy gave him by over extending with his next swing, and then slammed a left uppercut into the massive corpse's torso. All of a sudden it was like all the fight went right out of Grundy, as he collapsed and just lay there, not even moaning.
White Knight waited for about half a minute, just to be sure, but Grundy still wasn't moving, so he decided to move on from there.
Only to find that there wasn't much left to do. All of gangbangers, enforcers and cultists were laying on the ground, either moaning in pain or staying quite still. Copperhead had slithered away, probably into the open sewer hole he came across. Bane was being restrained by all six Justice League solholos, eyes all glowing orange, and refusing to let him move so much as a pinky, holding him tight to the ground. The rest of his 'legion' were just standing around waiting for something or someone to attack them, and maybe adding a thump when one of the guys on the ground tried to get back up.
"All right then, looks like we've sufficiently covered the 'or else' portion of the fight," right at that moment he heard sirens and car engines and even the telltale sound of a helicopter or two. He bent light and could see how far out they were. He then judged what he could do with Bane and quickly redistributed all the light of the solholos already holding the super-villain down. Pretty soon he was held perfectly immobile by a solid white recreation of a medieval torture device he'd seen in one of Giles books. And just for good measure, he turned off the venom switch on the man's left hand, thereby rendering his super strength nill.
"Be sure to inform the arresting officers that this will disappear on its own in about an hour, sooner if they get you locked up before then. But just in case, I'll be nearby, just so we understand each other." White Knight then patted the man on the side of his mask and took to the air on angel wings.
"You will regret this, White Knight! Mark my words!" Bane shouted at the departing superhero.
Suddenly White Knight was back in his face.
"Let me tell you something, Baney-baby," he growled, shifting his 'glowing eyes' to the red-orange side of the spectrum, "I'm still a complete amateur when it comes to this stuff. And I just went toe-to-toe with /Solomon Grundy/ of all bad guys! While I had very hard to control /extensions/ of my power fighting the rest of you guys and subduing you and sending Copperhead running for the sewers! Just the other month I faced /Deathstroke/ and won, getting him arrested on top of it! So, tell me, exactly /how/ I'm going to regret this again, Baney-baby?"
Xander could barely restrain his inner geek as he saw the masked villain from Gotham City actually gulp and cower rather than respond. Well, he wouldn't use that exact word in conversation, but it was pretty clear that the White Knight had succeeding in intimidating his first super-villain. He took off without another word being said, neglecting to mention that he'd reinforced the restraints so they would now last until sundown, even after he was in prison.
"Thanks again for doing this at the last minute, Mom," Buffy said as Joyce Summers finished some last minute stitching on the red cape.
"I'm just glad I could find it. There. Try it now. I let down the hem and loosened it a little around the hood," Joyce replied.
"Oh yeah, that's better," said Buffy as she put the cape on across her shoulders.
Then she caught a look on her mother's face. "Oh no, someone is getting nostalgic face," she whined.
"I'm sorry," Joyce held up her hands in surrender, "I'm thinking about the little girl who wore that. What is it now? Five, six years ago?"
"Yeah, Little Red Riding Hood was quite the fad for a while there," Buffy remarked, packing up her remade costume in the face of a reminiscing mother.
Just as she was turning though, something caught her attention at the corner of her eye, interrupting her thoughts on what she was going to say next. "Hey, what's that?" she turned fully and walked over to the TV, turning the volume up once she had the remote in hand.
"Oh, looks like another of those superhero things," said Joyce. After listening to the story for a bit, she continued, "Sounds like one of those superheroes managed to help the police in stopping some kind of drug bust, helping to capture a bunch of those super-villains too."
"Wow, wait, what? Did she just say it was the White Knight?" Buffy exclaimed all of a sudden.
"Buffy, I've been thinking..." Joyce started to say, but not even she could stand up against a full steam ahead Buffy Summers on the warpath about something.
"I can't believe it! Look at that! He's taunting the bad guy! Who even does that? You don't see Superman taunting the bad guys! Who does that arrogant jerk think he is?"
"Buffy?" her mother exclaimed, taken aback.
"Sorry Mom, but that White Knight guy really... grr!" Buffy started strangling the red cape in her hands, thankfully not enough to tear it. "He just showed up out of the blue one day, dusts a few vamps, stops a stolen armored truck, helps me beat up Spike with this really cool flaming sword, and then there he is, on the news, taunting the bad guy! So what if he's cool and mysterious and no one knows anything about him and..." Buffy stopped talking when she noticed she'd started twirling her hair.
"Uh, I mean, he's an arrogant jerk," she finished, unconvincingly.
"Uh huh," her mother agreed, sounding like she didn't agree in the slightest.
Face red and blushing furiously, Buffy hurriedly collected all her things and said in a rush as she left, "Thanks again Mom love you bye!"
Joyce chuckled, shaking her head slightly as she turned off the TV. Did her daughter really think she was fooling anyone?
Later that evening, after the sun had gone down and all the trick-or-treaters had come out on the college campus, a suave debonair man in a tuxedo approached a small girl in a red hood, her blond hair done up in pigtails and he asked her, "Hey Red. What have you got in the basket, little girl?"
"Weapons," she answered him truthfully, straight-faced, looking him in the eye.
Xander blinked and did a brief double-take as he replied with a suave and debonair, "Oh."
"Just in case," Buffy smiled reassuringly at him, and then gave him a once over. "Like the tux, Xan."
"Bond. James Bond. Insurance, you know, in case we get turned into our costumes again. I'm going for cool, secret agent guy." Xander told her, while privately patting the black bandana and special armor he had in his tuxedo pocket.
"Hate to break it to you, but you'll probably just end up as cool head waiter guy," she shrugged sympathetically.
"I think they're called maître d', but so long as I'm cool, and don't get stuck talking in some funny accent, I'll be fine," he laughed, inspiring a couple chuckles from his friend as well.
As they walked along, Buffy caught sight of her roommate and her roommate's boyfriend, and was mildly surprised to see what they were wearing for costumes.
"Will," Buffy called, the witch and werewolf turning to face the two heroes, "Professor Will."
Willow blushed and then stepped away from Oz long enough to show off her costume, which was some kind of mad scientist outfit with a white lab coat and some kind of mix mash of like five other costumes beneath it, but all having to do with some branch of science. The celery stick pinned to the coat pocket was probably the most bizarre of it all.
"Yeah, lookin' good, Prof," Xander grinned, his eyes twinkling with merriment, "What exactly are you a Professor of, by the way?"
Willow grinned and dropped her arms, snuggling back up to Oz. "I'm a professor of everything. I'm with Xander, if something goes on like that Halloween-That-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned, go with the best. I'm sort of combining dressing as a bunch of characters that is really only one, and I'm hoping that it'll turn me into a Time Lord called the Professor."
All she got were blank looks. Rolling her eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh, she began to explain.
"I'm dressed as all the Doctors from Doctor Who, just all at once, so that way I'd definitely be the newest regeneration. Well, except for that one from that TV movie they released last year on Cable, cause I'm not sure if they count that, although they did have the last actor that played the Doctor on the main series appear in it at the beginning and there was the Master and everything, but they completely changed everything about the TARDIS, so I'm just not sure..."
"Does anybody have any clue what she's talking about?" Buffy asked.
"British show. Her parents have like every episode on tape, except for like the first two seasons of it, something about this time traveler with an English accent going around in a big blue box, which is his time machine, saving the planet from alien invasion," Xander answered. "I have unfortunately been made to suffer through many a marathon whenever we hung out at Willow's house. This was long before you came to town and made things actually interesting around here, so no worries Buff."
"Ah, OK then," Buffy turned to Oz and asked, "And you are?"
"Her Companion," was the short reply.
"Oh yeah, forgot about that part," Xander commented, "Dude always had ordinary humans helping him out, called Companions. Most of them were really hot chicks though with English accents."
"Hey, there was the occasional Scottish or Irish accent some times!" Willow protested as they walked on to the Frat House for the party.
At that moment, a group of four people, dressed in fatigues, weapons and some things straight out of a Modern Warfare console game, came out of the bushes. Rather than walk around like other college kids, or even go 'boo' or 'gotcha' or anything, they moved steadily and quietly across the way and walked towards the next set of bushes across the way.
"Nice costumes," said Buffy as they all watched the 'soldiers' move across their path, "Very stealthy."
"What are they supposed to be?" asked Willow.
"NATO?" Oz suggested.
Xander suddenly slapped himself on the forehead. "Uh guys, I, yeah, I kinda forgot to mention, but I invited Kara to come with us. She said she'd meet us here. Hope that's okay?" he winced at the last word, feeling like he might have stepped on some toes with his presumption. Buffy's toes in particular.
"Perfect, everybody's got a date but Third-Wheel Buffy," the Slayer grumbled.
"Technically speaking, you're a fifth wheel," Xander said, thoroughly putting his foot in his mouth.
Willow pushes past him, maybe giving him a harder than necessary shove, and put her arm around Buffy and dragging her further along. "You're not a third or fifth wheel," she assured her friend. "We're going to have a great time! You'll see!"
They walked up the steps to the Frat House and opened the door. Buffy frowned and looked around. Something had just echoed all around and through the house. She couldn't quite tell what it was, not exactly, but her sensitive hearing picked it up more clearer once Oz opened the door. It was a rumbling echoed voice. Really cool sound effects, she figured.
"RELEASE ME!" the voice echoed again.
"Let the horrors begin," Oz said from the open door as he lead the way inside.
"I can't believe how late I am!" Supergirl, aka Kara Kent growled at her cousin as they flew through the air over the Pacific.
"Kara, I'm sorry, but I don't control these things. And you didn't have to come, I had it handled," Superman, aka Clark Kent tried to placate the younger girl.
"Did you at least pick up what I asked for from Ma?" Kara asked, trying to get over her anger.
"Delivered it earlier this afternoon to your dorm. Without going in!" he quickly added, "I left it with the front desk and they gave it to your RA, who was supposed to have put it in your room if you didn't come and get it before too long."
"Well, that's something at least," she said, flying a bit faster, hoping to make landfall in Sunnydale before she missed the whole party. And then that damn high-pitched, more like ultra-high-pitched beeping started up again.
"Go, go to your party, I'll see what Jimmy needs this time. I've got it handled," Superman was quick to intercede. "I'll call Batman or one of the others if I need backup. Go, have a good time at the party. It's Halloween after all."
"Yeah, thanks Kal," Kara smiled and stayed her course to Sunnydale, while Superman went higher up in the atmosphere in order to get to Metropolis faster.
Once she reached the coast, it took her only a few seconds to get to the college campus. After she landed on the roof of her dorm, it took only a moment of super speed to go down the stairs to her suite and change her clothes behind closed doors. Just like Clark had said, the package from Ma Kent was there on her bed. An authentic, bought from the store Supergirl costume, complete with blond wig, satin S-Shield t-shirt, pleated blue miniskirt, waist length red cape, and red boots.
"Funny," she mused to herself, "They always forget the gloves."
She changed as quickly as she could, making sure to put her much better brunette wig on underneath the very fake blond wig, just in case. After that, she left her room at normal speed, waved to her neighbors on the floor before walking over to the elevator and taking it to the lobby, where she waved to and said "Happy Halloween" to at least ten different people. She then walked, not ran, but walked, to the frat house where the party was going to be at.
Thinking about Xander, a smile came to her lips unbidden.
She couldn't put her finger on it, but something about him made her feel... intrigued. He was certainly attractive, but after hanging out with Superheroes all over the place, not to mention having X-Ray Vision at 18 years old made one rather acclimated to physical beauty. No, there was something else, something basic about him that made him stand out in her eyes.
A group of commandos stalked across her path, flitting from bush to bush, but not like college kids playing, but like real trained commandos did.
Kara frowned at that, but put it out of her mind for the moment. Probably just some ROTC guys a little too into character, she figured. Besides, it was her night off and she was going to a party like any normal girl, not a superheroine with a secret identity.
Speaking of which, the Frat House came into view, and with her telescopic vision she clearly saw Xander and his friends walking into the front door. She sighed with relief, happy that she wasn't that late. Picking up her pace, without going 'super', she ran across the quad in hopes of catching up before they got too far ahead of her in the haunted house.
Then something caught her eye.
She stopped and looked up at a window on the third floor. A girl was there, banging on the window. She was screaming, crying and clearly terrified. Kara had been in the family business long enough to recognize real terror when it was staring her in the face. And then the window bricked itself up before her eyes, the girl disappeared.
"Oh... frell," Kara cursed.
The Scooby gang entered the parlor of the frat house and were surprised and shocked... by how creepily empty and quiet it was. There wasn't even any music or those creepy sound effects from before.
"The joint's not jumping," Xander observed, "Where is everybody?"
Mechanical laughter came from a head with one eye hanging from its socket sitting in a punch bowl on a table next to the door. "Follow the signs," Oz pointed.
Buffy glanced at the severed head and commented with a healthy dose of sarcasm, "Terrifying. If I were Abbott and Costello, this would be fairly traumatic."
Willow walked into a cobweb and freaked out a little bit, waving her arms and shaking her head while screaming, "Ah! Oh! Cobwebs! Yeuch!" She finally managed to get it off and said in defense of her actions, "Okay, that part was realistic!"
"Frat boys aren't too obsessive with their cleaning," her boyfriend observed, "Might not be decoration per se."
Suddenly, a noise like a spring snapping comes from right behind Xander, and he barely managed to keep from blasting the whole area with blinding light, thanks mostly to automatically bending the light around him to his eyes and seeing a skeleton with a plastic knife pop out only a few inches from behind him. Turning, he looked it up and down. Startling as it was, he had to admit that he did jump, though he managed to keep his reaction well under control.
After all, that was his new greatest fear, losing control of these new powers of his and either revealing his secret identity, or hurting the people he loved.
"Huh, cute," Xander poked at the plastic knife and walked over next to Buffy.
"Yeah, after high school, and what we went through in high school, and pretty much every night of every week of my life, stuff like this is kinda... pathetic," Buffy shared with her friend.
Oz turned and frowned at Willow.
"What?" she asked immediately.
He reached over and brushed off the tarantula that had been on her shoulder. "Uh! Get it off!" she screams.
"It is gone," he assured her.
"That is /not/ sanitary!" she insisted.
"All right, let's get to the party part of the party already," Buffy suggested.
"Are you sure it's gone?" Willow whimpered, staying in Oz's arm as they followed the signs through the halls. He just smiled at her and nodded.
They walk into the next room, about halfway through, Buffy immediately walks over to a stain on the floor. Oz frowned as he looked up and down and all over the room they now found themselves in. Xander, having only been in the building the day before also started considering the fastest way to get to the attic where he'd help Oz move all the speakers to. Come to think of it, shouldn't they have already come to the stairs?
"I thought this lead to..." Oz started to say.
"What is it?" Xander asks Buffy, noticing the undue attention she was paying to a carpet stain.
"Blood," she answers after examining it. "Real blood."
"Okaaayy! Actual creeps have been given," he clapped his hands nervously and started looking around, using his powers to look more carefully than he ever could have before. He wasn't liking what it was showing him. "Bravo frat boys!"
"Shh!" Buffy stood up suddenly, and they all got quiet cause she was in her Slayer stance, which usually indicated that trouble was afoot. "Do you hear something? Like a... squeaking noise?"
Xander blinked. He didn't quite hear it, but he saw it. A little too clearly in fact.
"Shh!" he hissed and grabbed them and dragged them all back towards the exit as quickly as he could.
"Xander, what—?" Buffy started to shout, but that was already loud enough as the ceiling covered in bats, and what had been making all the squeaking sounds, broke apart and the air was filled with flying rodents.
Thankfully, they all flew down the opposing hallway and they'd all ducked as soon as the bats made their move. Once the bat storm was over with, Oz went over to one of the ones that seemingly didn't make it with the rest.
"No, Oz don't it might be..." Willow started to say, but he interrupted her, holding the evidence up.
"Rubber. It's made of rubber."
"What the hell is going on here?" Buffy demanded to know.
"Look, maybe it's nothing," Xander said, "Maybe it's just a neat trick. You know, something done with wires or..."
"... Or it might be something else," he finished timidly.
Kara punched the wall again, mindful of the fact that at least for the moment no one was watching her. As with the first three times, the wood paneling didn't show so much as a dent. Which should not have been possible. Even if she wasn't Supergirl and had super strength, anybody hitting a piece of wood multiple times, at full strength or not, leaves some kind of mark. Considering the spot she'd just spent the last minute punching had been a door only a few moments previously, it just served to further prove her suspicion.
"Magic," she said, more like cursed really.
Doctor Fate was unavailable. Zatanna was on tour in Europe. And the only other person that knew about magic was... well, not an option.
Clark would be no help. Diana, maybe, but it would depend on the type of magic, she'd heard it said anyway, so if this was a type of magic that opposed or was not vulnerable to Wonder Woman's Amazonian strength, then that left her right back where she was, just slightly embarrassed by not being able to handle it herself.
Suddenly, Kara remembered something. Or someone rather.
The other day, when she and Xander had met to discuss costumes and where and when they would meet, they had ended up talking about a great deal more than just that he would be dressed as James Bond and she would be dressed as "Supergirl", they had also spent some time just talking. And part of that talk had been in discussing Xander's current job arrangements. That he was working for one Rupert Giles, former Librarian at Xander's old high school.
What made this so significant was that Kara, as was typical with all Kryptonians, recalled a vague mention by one Jason Blood regarding Rupert Giles being a scholar mage that had gotten into some trouble as a youth, but about a year ago had started making inquiries into the Community regarding some event. She hadn't been paying attention, and Blood only casually mentioned the name after taking a call from the man in question, while helping Superman and her stop a completely different crisis.
Remembering what Xander had said about working for him, and even told her the man's address and where he was working, she was moving in an instant. She left her costume behind, well her Halloween costume, and flew through the night to the man's address, using her X-Ray Vision to confirm he was home.
She knocked politely on the door and waited for him to answer.
"Just a minute! Coming!" she heard some scrambling from inside. She was having second thoughts all of a sudden.
"Happy Halloween!" the man in sombrero called out, but Kara just stood and stared at him.
"Mister Giles? Rupert Giles?" she asked to confirm.
"Uh... yes?" he seemed confused as he put the bowl of candy down.
"I know what this looks like, but first of all," she lifted herself off the ground and floated through his doorway, he stumbled back in shock, "I'm not a Trick-or-Treater, I really am Supergirl, and I need your help."
"My-my-my help? Dear Lord, for whatever with?" the man started to reflexively clean his glasses.
"I heard your name from Jason Blood," she told him. "And I've come across a... magical... problem, and everybody that I can go to is either unavailable, or would be of little to no help. I heard that you were in town, and from what Blood told me, however little, about you makes me think that you're my best chance at the moment."
"I... see," Giles nodded his head, replacing his glasses on his face. "What may I do for you... Supergirl?"
"There's a haunted house on the college campus, and somehow I think it's really become haunted. The door has sealed itself shut and not even I can punch through it, and I watched as one of the windows sealed itself while some poor girl was screaming for help from inside."
"Hm," Giles walks over to one of the many book shelves that Supergirl only now notices inside the apartment, "Matter and reality distortion. Like a summoning spell's temporal flux."
"What?" Supergirl was temporarily baffled as this wild hunch suddenly seemed to be turning out like a lucky break.
"Hm? Oh, never mind. I just need to get some... supplies together. And, if I may ask, Supergirl, what brings you to the area?"
"... The White Knight," she hesitantly admitted.
"Ah, of course," Giles nodded. "Not to worry, I'll just be a few." He then went into a back room and came out with more unusual weapons than she'd seen outside of the Batcave.
Xander had gotten separated from all the rest. He almost wished it could have been because he'd become invisible and they were ignoring him, which had been his fear during his summer abroad and all through High School. No, the reason he'd gotten separated was that Willow was thankfully the first person to notice that his eyes had gone shining white. Like they were when he wore his costume.
Speaking of which, somehow it had fallen out of his pocket and /Buffy/ was the one to pick it up.
Before he could even start to explain, his fear spiked even more when his attention was taken up by the Yellow Spectrum all around them going jagged and his powers suddenly went out of his control. From the walls, and especially every light fixture in the room, yellow demons and other solholo creatures started to come at them. His minor hope that they were just illusions were dispelled when one of the (looked like a mutant frog of some kind) jumped at Willow and she was cut through the sleeve of her coat.
Using that as a signal almost, all the creatures swarmed up and somehow Xander knew they would follow him. And so he ran for it while Buffy and the others called for him to wait. When the creatures disappeared though, they also found themselves separated and facing some of their own worst fears. Buffy finally faced her abandonment issues in the basement. Willow discovered she was actually afraid of magic. And Oz very nearly wolfed out and somehow found himself in the attic bathroom, trying desperately not to wolf out.
Xander, however, had the worst of it as the yellow creatures continued to harass him non-stop, no matter how far he ran.
And then they started to talk. He didn't know solholos could talk.
"Just one of the girls!"
They really liked that last word a whole lot, because they all started screaming it at him, "Coward! Coward! Coward!" All in high-pitched whiny voices that struck deeper than he thought was possible. And then one, that looked like one seriously ugly big ass bug, floated right up into his face and hissed, "You're just like your father!"
Xander stopped cold, standing there in the middle of the hallway, effects of his out of control power all around him, but he wasn't reacting to their jibes or attempts to cut him as before. He stared the bug solholo in the proverbial eyes and hissed back at it, "What did you just say?"
He didn't give it the chance to reply and grabbed full control over his power with the iron grip of his will and refused anything that wasn't immediate compliance. His whole body lit up with light and all of the yellow monstrosities cried out, as though in pain as blinding white light flooded the whole house, every dark corner illuminated, brighter than daylight until there were no more shadows.
This snapped a lot of people out of their delusions, but it didn't shake the fear they were all feeling, yet for some it inspired them to overcome their fears and discover hidden reservoirs of courage. Buffy climbed out of the grave the basement zombie had tried to put her in. Willow embraced her control over the spell that was out of control and dispelled it with the same breath. Oz slapped himself and when he looked in the mirror, there was no more wolf, just him. And outside the house, Giles let Supergirl take over the chainsaw as they saw every room, window, and crack in the building lighting up with some kind of blinding glow as a potentially bad sign and while Supergirl was as vulnerable as the next person to magic, she was also much stronger than the Watcher and able to wield the remarkably simple tool like a hot knife through butter.
Moments later, Xander found himself rounding a corner, pleased to see that his costume was still in his pocket, only to find himself in the attic where the part was supposed to be happening. Everybody was there, only it wasn't much of a party as most everyone was still under the effects of whatever fear spell had been put in place and were all cowering wherever they sat, stood, or lay.
Buffy showed up a few moments later, Willow and Oz already there, all thankfully looking more in control than they probably had been moments before.
"Everyone OK?" Xander asked, once they were all together.
"I wouldn't say OK, but no longer terrified out of my mind at being buried alive," she paused for a beat, "Again. We need to get out of here."
"How did... what do you think was that light?" Willow asked. "I was... well being swarmed by my own spell, and then it stopped when that light washed through the place."
Xander just shrugged as an answer and reaction both.
"Yeah, when it came and went, I felt... well I felt like the fear was being cast out, or something," Oz said.
"That was weird," Buffy agreed. "Any clue as to what is going on here?"
"The house separated us. It wanted to scare us," Oz observed.
"But, then after that light came, we got away, right?" said Willow.
"No. We were brought here. We all got so scared that we ended up here," said Buffy. "Why?"
Xander pointed at the pentagram symbol on the floor. "I saw them painting that," he said, and began looking around, "They were copying it out of... ahah! That!" he went over and retrieved the open book he'd spotted. As soon as she came over, Xander handed the book to Willow.
"It's Gaelic, I think," she said as soon as her eyes saw the script.
"Can you translate?" Buffy asked, hopeful.
"RELEASE ME!" The voice echoed all around them, with no obvious source. "RELEASE ME!"
"Will, give me something!" Buffy practically begged, her instincts telling her to beat the crap out of something sooner rather than later.
"OK, uh, um, the-the icon's called the, uhm, Mark of-of Gachnar. I-I think it's a summoning spell for something called..."
"Gachnar?" Xander guessed.
"Well, yes," she nodded. "Somehow the beginning of the spell must have been triggered. Uhm, Gachnar is trying to manifest itself, to-to come into being."
"It feeds on fear."
"Our fears are manifesting it. We're feeding it. OK, we need to stop."
"Love the logic, Buff," said Xander, "but telling me to stop being afraid is like telling me to stop loving Twinkees. It's just not happening. Not to mention the fact that these fears are becoming /real/, they'll stab us or worse the moment we're not on our guard."
"Although that is starting to get more annoying than the creepy it started out as," he added.
"OK," she agreed, seeing her friend's logic, "Still, our fears are feeding it, so if we get everyone out...?"
The walls started trembling, not like an earthquake, but like a whole lot of something not good was pounding on them from the other side, trying very badly to get in.
"Good plan!" Xander agreed instantly, his fear spiking again, "Let's go!"
They started towards the door, which was kicked in just before they reached in. Hidden by shadow, a tall figure in some kind of coveralls, holding a roaring chainsaw stood in the doorway. They all gulped, recognizing a whole new kind of fear, and making Buffy briefly wonder how she could kill an undead guy that just wouldn't stay dead no matter what?
Then the figure stepped into the light and they all let out a collective sigh of relief. It was Giles. And an unexpected sight, as the very famous superheroine from Metropolis, Supergirl came in right behind him. Xander immediately recognized her, having met her more than a few times by this point, and silently gulped, really hoping now that his fear of his secret identity being compromised wouldn't manifest all of a sudden.
"Giles? Hey everyone, it's Giles! With a /chainsaw/! And Supergirl!" he announced happily. "Personally I'm more happy with the latter than the former."
"The walls closed up behind us," Giles stated, thereby shutting down their one working plan before it had even been presented to him. Walking over, he took one look at the book and then the symbol on the floor and let out a sigh of misery, "Gachnar, of course. It's presence infects the reality of the house, but it's not yet managed to achieve full manifestation. We can not allow this to come into being."
"But if it does, I..." Buffy paused and shot a glance towards Supergirl, "... we can fight it, right?"
Giles walked over and showed her a picture in the book, "Buffy, /this/ is Gachnar."
Buffy stared, blinked, and then audibly gulped. As bad as the movie character she'd had in mind moments before, the picture before her looked infinitely worse. "Uh, yeah, I /don't/ want to fight that! So, we break the spell?"
"Whatever we do, let's do it," Xander said, only to be interrupted.
"Fast!" he added with much urgency.
Giles was already rapidly flipping through the pages, reading as quickly as he could, "I have it, I have it. Uhm, 'The summoning spell for Gachnar can be shut down in one of two ways. Destroying the mark of Gachnar—" he started to say, only for Buffy and Supergirl both to run over to the icon on the floor and slam their fists through it at virtually the same time. "—Is /not/ one of them and will in fact immediately bring forth the fear demon itself!"
"Uh... oops?" both blonds shrugged helplessly as the remains of the icon lit up with unholy power.
Xander frowned. He... smelled? No, felt something. It was his light powers, reacting to whatever that was. For some reason it felt... yellow? Dark yellow, maybe? That made no sense. He shrugged off the strange sensations and focused on the fight that was undoubtedly about to start soon.
"Look!" Willow cried as something began to emerge from the very large hole the blond heroines had put in the floor.
A few heartbeats later, everyone was doing a double-take.
"Uh, Giles, want to read that caption there, under that picture there?" Xander commented, actually leaning over to read over the Watcher's shoulder.
Giles read the caption and then sighed with a roll of his eyes.
"What's it say?" Willow asked, trying very hard not to smile.
"/This/ is Gachnar?" Buffy and Supergirl both asked incredulously.
"Big overture, leeetle show," Xander mocked.
"The caption under this picture of Gachnar here, in original Gaelic," Giles started compulsively cleaning his glasses again, "It says 'Actual Size'."
"Who's a little fear demon? Come on! Who's a little fear demon!" Xander mocked the six to seven inch tall demonic summon.
"Don't taunt the fear demon," Giles admonished him.
"Why, can he hurt me?" laughed Xander.
"No, it's—it's just tacky," was the Watcher's glib reply. "Buffy? Uh, Supergirl? Would one of you care to do the honors?"
"Well, as they say," Supergirl shrugged at the Slayer.
"It's a dirty job," Buffy agreed, and then they almost gleefully took turns crushing the fear demon beneath their heels. Repeatedly. With enough force to break the floorboards.
Once the demon had been vanquished, the reality-warping and atmosphere of fear that had permeated the frat house finally dissipated, and people quickly left after that, having enough scares for one night. Supergirl was of course the first one to leave, and Kara the last one to arrive, just as Xander and his friends were leaving in fact. Of course the Scoobies had their own after-party as it were, at Giles house with lots of candy. Kara was invited and they all had a better Halloween evening than many had had in years.
End Part 6