Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor anything related to it belong to me. The character Xander goes to Halloween as – along with everything related to him – was created by me.
Author's Note: I realize that this story has not been flowing in the direction I originally wanted it to go. Also I've been reworking some points of my vampire stories, so I felt this needed a revision for that as well.Creature of Darkness Chapter 1
Alexander LaVelle Harris – better known as Xander – stood glaring sullenly down at the empty container that had once held the costume shop's supply of toy guns. The lack of them completely threw his soldier idea right out the proverbial window, as this was the last place in town that could have had a gun for him to use.
Sighing, he turned away from the box and wandered into the costumes, looking for something that pricked his interest. He eyed a spear with a pair of goggles tied just beneath the bladed tip for a moment then turned away from it as something glinted from the shelf across from it.Hmm, odd shiny thingy…, he thought, drawn towards it by curiosity.
Reaching up on the shelf, he dug past a snarling werewolf mask and scrabbled a moment for it. He was ready to give up then the tip of one finger caught a bit of leather cord and he grasped for it. A simple tug freed it and whatever was attached for his careful inspection.
Xander blinked at the half-dollar sized copper medallion that dangled from the end of the length of braided leather cord. As he moved it closer to make out the design inscribed on its surface, he noticed a small sliver of gold on the other side of the medallion. Reaching up, he lifted a thick golden band set with two emeralds (whether fake or not was a mystery) the size of the nail of his pinky and noticed something inscribed within the circlet.
As he went to look closer, absently noticing the design on the medallion's surface was a quartered background with a coiled serpent splayed across it, an unfamiliar voice from behind him made him jump.
"Do you need help with something?"
Spinning around and nearly dropping the medallion in his panic, Xander stared wildly at the smiling man who looked at him with some concern. It took him a moment before he recognized him as the owner of the costume shop and relaxed slightly.
"Did I frighten you?" asked the man. He then noticed the medallion and his eyes glinted. "Ah, I was wondering where that was."
The teenager blinked then held it out towards the man, asking, "Was it put in with this stuff accidentally?"
"Oh, no, nothing of the sort. It's just that there's a sword that goes along with it and I couldn't recall where I put the medallion." The man looked at him curiously and asked, "Perhaps you'd like to see it since you seem to like the medallion?"
Xander frowned and said, "Well, I've only got a few bucks…"
The man smiled. "Since you found the medallion for me, I'll make you a good deal."
"Eh…oh screw it, my soldier idea's blown anyway. Sure, why not?"
The man smiled – an almost sinister little quirk of the lips – and said, "I'm certain you'll like it. Perhaps I can tell you a bit about the persona it is supposed to resemble as we go."
"Okay," said the teenager as he followed the man back into the store, the medallion and attached ring dangling from his hand.
"Buffy!" exclaimed Xander as the blonde Slayer opened the front door. "Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia! I firmly renounce spandex!"
Buffy smiled and curtsied, saying, "Why, thank you, kind sir." She then tilted her head, frowning at him and his outfit – which was simply a pair of blue jeans with a dark green t-shirt and a brown felt jacket thrown over it with the combat boots he'd bought for his soldier costume as the last factor. The hilt of the sword (a slim rapier with a plain basket hilt) jutted past his jacket from where it was hooked to his belt and the medallion with its attached ring glinted from its spot lying outside his shirt. "Who are you supposed to be?"
He blinked then smiled and bowed, declaring, "Darien O'Connell, at your humble service, milady." As he straightened, his eyes twinkled and he grinned broadly, showing off a pair of fake vampire fangs. "Vampire of the Cyclaryn Line and named Traitor to all of my kin for attacking my sire."
"A vamp, Xan?"
"Nothing like ours, let me tell you," said Xander as he slid past her into the house without waiting for an invitation. "The costume shop owner guy gave me the run down on them while he was ringing me up. They still do the blood drinking and turning but they keep their souls unlike our friendly bloodsuckers. Also their eyes apparently do this nifty color change with certain emotions."
"Sounds kinda neat," noted Buffy with a wrinkle of her nose.
"'Cept for the fact that they're still vamps, right?"
"Right. And the sword is?"
Xander grinned in response. "This, milady, is one of the finest blades money could buy. It's main note to fame is having dispatched a pompous young French noble named Nicolas du Bessil in 1847 during a midnight duel."
"Nice," said the Slayer. She then frowned at it and asked, "It's not real, is it?"
"Pure one hundred percent plastic, Buffster. Now let's get Wills and go teach the little kiddies how to charm candy out of every old lady and gentle heart in town!"
The blonde laughed and said, "Alright. Oh, and wait till you see her, Xan! She's…"
Footsteps on the stairs made them both look up and Xander didn't look the least bit surprised when Willow appeared there dressed in her old standby costume. He glanced at Buffy, who looked surly, then smiled broadly at his best friend.
"That's a fine 'Boo' you got there, Wills."
Buffy sighed, shaking her head, then smiled a bit forcefully, saying, "Shall we get going then?"
"Tears are key to getting extra candy," intoned Xander to his eager charges, one hand on the hilt of his sword. "Normally they'll get you the double-bagger. Also there's the old 'You missed me' standby but that one can be risky, so we'll leave it for just chocolate. Got that?"
Several heads nodded in response and he grinned, fake fangs flashing, before saying, "Alright then, my fledgling trick-or-treaters extraordinaire, let's move out!"
Five minutes later they were running back from their first house to him and he asked, "So, what's the loot?"
Five hands pulled out toothbrushes in response and Xander gasped.
He then looked up and down the street before saying, "No more trick-or-treating from Mrs. Davis. I forgot the tricks of the trade don't work on her. Away to the next victim – er, I mean, house!"
The time passed quickly and as they came down the steps from one house, Xander looked at his watch and blinked.
"Whoa! Sorry, kiddos, looks like I've gotta be getting you back. C'mon, let's…gwah-huh?"
He came to an abrupt halt as something seemed to pass through him, lifting one hand towards his head. A scream sounded from somewhere nearby and he was vaguely aware that his charges had disappeared, running away with their own tinny shrieks.
A wave of disorientation passed over him and he groaned, collapsing to one knee. Head bowed, he slipped to both knees as another wave passed. After that, he stayed there, not moving except for minute shudders that ran through his body.
As a kid-turned-demon approached him, fangs dripping with hot saliva, and slung its clawed arm to take off his head he moved. Xander's dark head flashed up and he snarled before catching the kid-demon's claw almost effortlessly. The kid-demon tried to pull away as he rose to one knee then ran as it was released after a moment of careful consideration from its captor.
Shaking his head, Xander rose to his feet and looked around, eyes that were suddenly green narrowed.
He turned and blinked as Willow ran up to him, clad in the black skirt and midriff-baring top she'd worn under her ghost sheet. When she tried to throw her arms around him and passed right through him, he stared and took a hasty step away as she recovered from her own shock.
"It's me, Willow!"
"I'm afraid I don't know any Willow," said Xander, his voice suddenly carrying the barest flavoring of a foreign brogue.
"Xander, this is no time for jokes!"
A dark eyebrow arched and he said, "I wasn't aware I was joking."
Willow blinked then whispered, "You don't…know me?"
"I'm afraid not. Though you appear to know me."
"You're my best friend Xander!"
Xander's brow furrowed and he looked down at himself, carefully studying his hands. Then he turned towards the nearby car and froze at his reflection in the glass of a window. After touching one cheek as if to test the reality of the situation, he slowly turned back towards her with hooded eyes.
"It would seem I'm stuck in someone else's body then. Though you appear not to be since you know me…this person - Xander."
She nodded and explained, "He…he's my best friend."
"I see. And how did we come into this predicament?"
The redhead flushed and mumbled something, causing him to chuckle.
"Ah, Halloween. Somehow that explains everything…except exactly how I got here."
"Well, Xander dressed up as you," said Willow.
"That in itself is worrying with me being what I am." He looked around then blinked, shaking his head. "Good Lord, my mother would kill me for forgetting the manners she spent years pounding into my head," he mumbled before smiling at her and bowing slightly. "Darien O'Connell, at your service."
"Pleased to meet you," responded Willow with a smile, finding she kind of liked the fellow who was possessing her best friend. Better stuck with a good guy than, say, a looting and pillaging Viking. "Er…we really should find Buffy though."
"The Vampire Slay-er…BUFFY!"
The redhead took off running as she saw her friend and Darien stood blankly for a moment before tailing her. As they ran towards a blonde clad in a dress he'd seen a dozen of before in his centuries of life, he went over what Willow had said.
The Vampire Slayer, she said, he thought as he jogged after her. Which means there's just one and not the seven Clans that I know. And that…
He staggered as he realized exactly the situation he was in.
Trapped in a body not his own as well as a world that wasn't his meant that not only did the Slayers he knew not exist (a good thing all over), but neither did his brother, little sister, fledgling, or…Arana.
The thought of her not being with him almost brought him to his knees but he shoved it aside, pushing himself to concentrate on following Willow. She was his…guide…here and perhaps the only link to a way he could get home.
"Buffy, are you okay?"
"What?" asked the brunette, frowning at them.
Darien sensed something moving towards them then and turned, sighting the demon he'd scared off earlier coming towards them. And he had an even bigger friend.
"Trouble," he growled, moving to shield the two women from the oncoming foe. Baring his teeth, he flung his arm back towards the two and hit the hilt of his sword, which he had not realized he had before. He was even more surprised to find it was the first sword he'd ever come into the possession of, not the katana he'd come to use in more recent years.
Ripping the blade from its sheath, he spat, "Get out of here! I'll handle these two."
"Xan-Darien, they're kids!"
"I won't hurt them," responded Darien, carefully turning his head so his fangs were hidden from both of them as they descended. Somehow he got the feeling that Willow didn't know the specifics of her friend's costume and that Buffy was in the same situation as said friend. "Now, go! Find a safe place and I'll catch up with you later!" He sheathed the rapier then, remembering Willow's warning of them being kids trapped in costumes.
Willow bit her lip then motioned a confused Buffy to her feet, ushering her off towards a nearby house. Darien kept a careful eye on the two of them as they staggered off then turned back towards the two demons, fangs bared. Growling in the back of his throat, he spat, "You two really don't want to take me on."
The kid-demon from earlier paused, looking confused, but the other one just roared and charged. Moments later the kid-demon followed and Darien ducked under the heavily muscled arm the larger one swung at him and spun around, slamming the heel of his hand into its side at a fleshy area underneath its armored skin. It grunted and staggered away, leaving him to turn and lash out at the other one with a sharp kick that connected with its shoulder hard. The kid-demon staggered back from the blow but recovered quickly and lunged forward, slashing at him with its clawed hands. Darien dodged the swipe easily and danced out of their reach, taking a moment to study the two.
The kid-demon was about his height with a stocky body covered in gray-green scales like a lizard and had slitted golden eyes. He would have no problems taking it down - its friend was another story all together. At least seven inches taller that Darien and built like a linebacker, the head and most of the upper body of the demon was covered in heavy black armor-like skin. The same skin also covered its nether regions and legs but it wasn't the solid mass that the upper body was. And apparently if you could hit underneath that armor, you could take it down. It was just going to be a walk through Hell to accomplish that task.
Just need to get them down enough to make sure they won't follow us, thought Darien as he eyed the smaller of the pair, who had started after him again. He slid under its arm and looped his foot around its ankle, giving it a hard tug that sent the demon sprawling. The other one was on him then with a rush of speed it didn't look capable of and he staggered backwards, almost tripping over the downed demon.
He punched sharply at the armored demon's neck where he spotted a gap in the armor as it darted towards him with surprising speed, his hand straight with the fingers all pressed together into a point. The pain of the blow connected made him grunt in pain but he grinned triumphantly as the demon collapsed backwards with a howl. It lay on the ground writhing for a moment then rolled over and, after casting a fearful look at him, turned and ran.
The kid-demon staggered upright and squealed before fleeing after the bigger demon, leaving Darien standing in pain but smiling as he knew they wouldn't be bothering him or the two girls tonight after that. Grunting, he shook his hand vigorously until feeling came back to it then sniffed the air to catch Willow's scent. Even as a semi-ghost, she had a scent since she was truthfully very much alive.
Breaking into a jog, he followed her scent to a house then found himself the recipient of a very lovely dark-haired young woman to the chest. She screamed in reaction then looked up at him, eyes widening with recognition even as her lip curled into an unattractive sneer.
"Another that knows me in a way, I see," he observed, ignoring her confused look. Then he darted a glance over her shoulder and saw something huge following her out of the dark with a hungry snarl. Grabbing her about the waist, he snarled right back at it then darted towards the house with her under his arm, sensing it charging after him. At the porch steps, he flung her towards the door then spun back towards the creature, which appeared to be some version of a yeti or similar.
His foot smashed into its snarling jaw, sending it tumbling backwards to crash into a parked car. Landing in a crouch on the walkway, he straightened at the same moment it did and they're gazes met, its full of rage and animal fury. As it took a step forward, Darien reached for the part of himself he loathed and brought its rage and fury roaring up to the surface.
And as abruptly as it started forward, the creature retreated with a whimper as it sensed a predator far superior to itself. Only when it fully was gone from the edge of his senses, did he shove that part of him back and turned towards the house, finding Willow on the porch.
"Hi," she said nervously. "You found Cordelia?"
"The other girl, I assume?" he queried as he moved up the steps to stand next to her. "She's not affected like us. She called me Harris."
Willow smiled and said, "That's your…Xander's last name. And, no, she's not – I made sure to ask where she got her costume at."
"Hmm. We should get inside and lock the doors…you're certain this place is safe, correct?"
"Its Buffy's house," answered the girl as they went inside, he shutting the door and locking it since she couldn't. "And, um, now what?"
Darien frowned and looked around, noting the brunette of earlier – Buffy, he amended – babbling in shock over some picture and Cordelia giving her an askance look. Shifting back to Willow, he said, "Try and get them to check the doors and windows down here. I'll go check the windows upstairs."
"Alright," said the ghost girl and moved to do just that. He smiled then started up the stairs, leaving the sounds of the three young women behind him as he stepped onto the second floor.
He closed and locked the windows he found and ended up lastly in what was surely Buffy's bedroom. As he entered, he noticed one window was wide open and felt the flicker of a presence along his drawn in senses. Lunging forward, he shoved the seeming intruder up against a wall and started to snarl something when he felt the tremor of some sinister presence alongside his.
This person was a vampire far different from him, with a soul hiding something dark and vicious underneath it. The body was well and truly dead, just a corpse was whatever that unholy thing was to live in, though the true soul was back in it. It was disgusting – a truer sin against the rules of the world than his kind were.
"Who are you?" he snarled.
"You know who I am," replied the stranger, dark eyes flicking around to glare at him. "Now where's Buffy?"
"She would be downstairs. And you're not going down there until I get your name."
"You know my name, Xander."
Darien scowled and said, "My name is Darien O'Connell and I am currently possessing young Xander's body through some sort of magic. Now give me your name or neither of us will be going downstairs as I'll be holding you right here against this wall."
The vampire grunted and tried to shove him away but it was futile. Darien might have been in a borrowed body but everything of his had come with him it seemed and he was far stronger than he looked – in Xander's body as well as his own. The stranger stared for a moment then grumbled, "Angel."
"A pleasure," growled Darien, not at all meaning it. "Now we're both going to go downstairs and if you try to harm any of those girls, I will rip off your head and use it for a basketball."
Angel blinked then his eyes narrowed. "What are you?"
"That is none of your concern, whelp. Now move."
"You. Lost. A. Slayer?!" roared Darien, slamming Angel up against the kitchen wall with each word. His eyes blazed crimson and he had his fangs in full view of the vampire and Cordelia, who was watching from the kitchen door, and didn't give a damn about it.
"I…I didn't realize she…" began the vampire, only to be cut off by another thrust against the wall.
"Why the hell did you think she was acting funny?"
Darien snarled and spun, hurling Angel out the back door and onto the small back porch. As the vampire started to rise, he shot forward in a blur of motion and slammed a boot down into his back. He leaned over as he pushed the vampire down into the wooden boards and growled, "I sense that Xander cares a great deal for Buffy. Therefore, if she comes to harm, I'll do him a favor and take you apart limb by limb for allowing such to happen to her. Do we have an understanding?"
Angel grunted, trying to get out from under his foot, then gasped, "Y-yes!"
"Good," spat Darien, allowing him to get up. He then looked into the kitchen and said, "Cordelia, go with this idiot to find Buffy."
She nodded then asked, "What are you going to do?"
"Willow said that most people in this town got their costume from a new place – this Ethan's. I intend to go and look into just what sort of fellow this Ethan is."
"Why, hello…you're not Rupert."
Darien scowled, dark eyebrows dipping low over green eyes that flickered with scarlet.
"No, I'm not," he growled as he stepped towards the shop owner around a bust he idly recognized in the back of his mind as the god Janus. His Bloodsister had pounded knowledge of the old gods of her homeland into his head and – being a vampire and having an astounding memory – he'd never forgotten any of what she'd taught him. "Do you get some sort of kick out of turning children and teenagers into their costumes? Or is that just…"
He paused as he darted forward in a blur of motion, slamming his knee up into the older man's stomach. As Ethan doubled over, Darien snapped him across the temple with a punch that sent him sprawling.
"…what you do out of sheer boredom?"
Sneering as the shopkeeper started to get up, he lashed out, kicking him solidly in the kidneys. Ethan went down with a grunt of pain and Darien shook his head, softly clicking his tongue. The wretch of a man was lucky he'd been holding back on his strength, else he'd be dead right now.
"Any good spell caster would know better than to cast a spell such as you did. There's no telling what you might pull through."
He crouched down by Ethan, lifting the man's head up by his hair. Then he grinned, fangs fully showing and eyes gleaming scarlet as he hissed, "Like me."
Ethan screamed in pain then as Darien effortlessly threw him back against a wall. There was a crunch of breaking bone and the shopkeeper cried out, "Mercy!"
" 'Mercy?' " repeated Darien, only just noticing two new presences intruding onto the edges of his senses but ignoring them. "And why would I give mercy to a wretch such as you?"
Ethan smiled a pained grin and inclined his head towards the two behind him as he groaned, "Because you don't want those two thinking badly of your dear host, do you?"
Darien scowled then turned to face the pair, fangs and scarlet eyes still in place. Willow jumped back with a gasp and went partially through the wall while Giles pulled out a stake.
"Nothing like yours, I assure you," said Darien calmly. He then looked from one Englishman to the other then back to Giles, brow furrowed. "You wouldn't be the Rupert he was rambling on about earlier, would you?"
Giles scowled at that and the vampire nodded.
"Willow, go and find the others," said Giles abruptly, eyes shifted suddenly from Darien to Ethan. Darien found the darker part of him could appreciate the sudden narrowing of the man's eyes and the swell of anger in them.
"Willow," said Darien softly. "They need you. Go."
The redhead looked for a long moment at her oldest friend's face then nodded and turned, fleeing through the walls of the shop. Darien then turned to Giles and growled, "Don't even try to get rid of me, old man. I'm rather annoyed at your fellow countryman."
Giles nodded then said, "I'm going to have words with Xander about his choice in costume when this is all over."
Darien snorted then waved a hand towards Ethan, who was trying to get to his feet.
"He's all yours now."
The librarian/Watcher nodded and moved slowly towards the shopkeeper, who grinned bloodily at him.
"Why, Ripper, I…"
A punch to the kidneys made him double over and Giles followed it up with a punch to the face that sent him sprawling. The pedestal with the statue of Janus on it wobbled dangerously as he fell near it and Darien cocked his head at it, eyes narrowed. Then they widened as he realized just what the focus of the spell was – it had to be.
"Didn't know…you…still had it…in you, Ripper," gasped Ethan.
"Tell us how to stop the spell," intoned Giles as he crouched beside the man.
"Oh, say 'pretty please.'"
Giles started forward to punch him again but Darien's voice made him stop.
"He doesn't need to," said the vampire as he gingerly lifted the statue of Janus. He stared into its glowing green eyes and continued, "This is the spell's focus."
"Is it?" asked Giles, looking sideways at Ethan. The shopkeeper stared for a moment at the vampire until the librarian/Watcher punched him in the kidney, snarling, "Is it?!"
Darien looked at the statue for a long moment then nodded towards Giles.
Then he lifted it above his head and hurled it downward towards the floor, where it shattered. As the green glow faded from what was left of the statue's eyes, Xander hit the floor on one knee, one hand pressed to his head.
"Oh…damn, that hurts."
He looked up, eyes now hazel once more, and smiled weakly at the sight of Giles.
"Hey, G-man. Y'got an aspirin? 'Cause I've got a killer of a headache."
"Does anyone else have really weird urges now?" asked Buffy the next day as she, Willow, and Xander walked to class.
Xander frowned thoughtfully then shook his head, saying, "Nope. Not feeling any blood-thirsting urges. Why do you ask?"
"'Cause I suddenly have this really weird urge to drink tea all the time!"
Willow giggled at that then said, "I still can't believe you went as a vampire, Xander."
"Hey, from the description they sounded cool. And he didn't try to kill you, did he?"
The redhead blinked then shook her head.
"No, actually he was a perfect gentleman."
"See," said Xander with a grin. "Good vampire. With a soul and no curse required to put it there whatsoever. OW!"
"Stop saying things about Angel," snipped Buffy.
"Okay, okay." Xander rubbed at his side and grumbled, "Watch it with those Slayery elbows, Buff."
"Sorry, Xan. Anyway I've got to get going. Willow, wanna walk?"
"Sure. See you after school, Xander!"
He nodded and waved after them, watching them go with a goofy grin. Then it faded and he turned, walking at a quick pace towards the library, entering and going immediately towards the small office nestled inside.
Giles looked up at the entrance and balked at a pair of familiar hazel eyes that flickered with sudden traces of green.
"G-man," said Xander, his voice affecting the odd lilt of Darien's, "we have a serious problem."Author's Note
Nearly everyone that's reviewed has asked where Darien is from. He is an entirely original character and everything about him was created by me. Including the type of vampire that he is.