Title: While the Bat's Away (0/?)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.

Rating: Maybe a little harsh language, certainly some violence, but nothing worse than on BtVS.

Spoilers: Yet Another Halloween 'Fic.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: A whole slew of different -- and extra -- costumes alters the dynamics on the hellmouth irrevocably.

Author's Note: I tried to pass this one off to someone else, but I had no takers. I should also point out that I'm not a comic reader and that the only non-AU DC comics I've actually read areGL Rebirth, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, the most recent Teen Titans run, some JLA stuff, the Return of Superman graphic novel, and Hush, though I have read the novelization of No Man's Land.

It was November 1st, 1997, and Xander Harris wondered again why everyone seemed to be waiting for him to say something. His gaze crossed the expectant faces of those present here, in the Sunnydale High School library. If there was one thing everyone here had in common, it was that they all knew the truth about Sunnydale's night life.

Focus on what you know.

The mental voice came out of nowhere. It wasn't telepathy or possession or anything like that. It was a memory. Of a dark, damp cave. Of a man who was more his father than Tony Harris ever was. Of training, learning.

Focus on what you know, then find out what you don't. Only plan for the future when you know all you can about the present or when time is of the essence.

"So," Xander said, "let me get this straight. We all turned into our Halloween costumes last night, right?"

There were nods all around. In a way, Xander felt a little guilty. It had been his idea to get everyone dressed in a theme, to convince even Giles to dress up for the night. His gaze swept once more around the room, matching faces to costumes. They had gotten a costume for Giles, dressing him up as Alfred Pennyworth. Buffy and Willow had dressed as Huntress -- Helena Bertinelli -- and Oracle -- Barbara Gordon -- respectively; they stood apart from each other, eyeing each other uneasily. Buffy's little sister, Dawn, had dressed as the newest Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, and she was bouncing on the balls of her feet, grinning eagerly.

"So who did you dress as, Cordelia?" he asked.

"Black Canary," she replied.

Well, that explained that.

That said, Xander had a pretty good idea why everyone was acting like he was in charge all of a sudden. It was due to his own costume last night.

No, he hadn't dressed as Batman.

He had dressed as Nightwing, aka Dick Grayson, formerly the original Robin. Also leader of the Outsiders and former leader of the Teen Titans.

"All right," Xander's shoulders slumped. "So the spell ended at daybreak, and we still don't know what caused it, do we?" Heads were shaken all around. "Okay," he said, "then one question: Why the heck is everyone acting like I'm suddenly in charge?"

There was a very long pause.

Finally, Buffy shrugged and broke the silence, "It just feels right, Xander."

"Yeah," Willow piped up. "After all, you led both the Titans and the Outsiders. You've got the experience."

"That was not me," Xander said icily. "That was Dick Grayson. I am not Dick Grayson." Their eyes met, and he softened, his heart stirring at the look in her eyes.

Was it always like that? Had he just never noticed? Or was that Babs and Dick influencing them both?

"Okay," he sighed. "A lot of Dick is still left behind, I guess. His memories, his training, stuff like that. Anyone else have any, uh, aftereffects?"

"I'm an even better shot with a crossbow now," Buffy said. She scowled, "I just wish I'd had -- err, Helena had -- the sense to shoot Spike in the heart."

"What happened?"

She shrugged, "He got away with about half a dozen crossbow bolts in him."

Xander nodded. "Anyone else?"

"I can kick Buffy's butt now!" Dawn squealed.

"No way!" Buffy squawked back, caught off-guard by Dawn's sudden outburst. She turned and dropped into a fighting stance, "Prove it, butt pain!"

"Gladly," her sister replied, mirroring her.

"Hey!" Xander snapped. "Not now!" The pair looked at him and subsided immediately, straightening looking down sheepishly.

"I can't walk," a quiet voice said. Xander spun and stared at Willow in horror. She blinked and shook her head, "I-I mean, I can, but... sometimes... I forget how. It's weird."

Xander nodded thoughtfully, "Anyone else? Cordelia? Giles?"

"Well," Giles spoke first, "I seem to feel more, ah, comfortable about computers."

That he didn't use the phrase "infernal contraption" was an indication of just how much more comfortable he was.

Cordy simply shrugged, "Just weirdo memories."

"Okay," Xander nodded thoughtfully as he analyzed the potential impact of all this.

This could be good... or bad.

All he was certain of was that it was too early to tell.

Author's Postscript:

The Batless Bat Clan. Should be interesting.

One of three special Halloween posts.