Bad Costume Choice?
by chaoseternus

Disclaimer gives the cross away, hence its at the end.

Bad costume choice… very checked.

Of course losing the bet with Dawn and her deciding to pick his Halloween costume for him was a mixed blessing. On the plus side, he wasn't the $10 costume king with the old soldier boy outfit, on the minus; she wasn't exactly Miss Obvious with her crush and the matching outfits…

Well, it was a good thing he had already made it clear to Joyce that he knew Dawnie was off limits or he might have ended up singing soprano… again.

Of course, tight leather, goggles, all slightly scorched and certainly well worn, everyone's thoughts instantly went to bikers. It was just the dragon teddies that had them raising questioning, amused eyebrows.

Only Joyce got it though, unsurprising as it had been she that had got them into the books in the first place, and her look alternated between glares (keep your hands off my daughter!) to devilishly amused (she manages to get you every time) to smirks (no-one else is going to get that costume).

None of them had planned on Rayne.

"How do you stop the spell?" Giles shouted, dragging a cowering but unrepentant Ethan Rayne from the shop.

"Like I'd tell you ripper, tonight is Janus'es night, who am I to spoil that?"

"You will end it."

"Or?" Rayne taunted.

Movement, sudden brief cold, panic as his senses seem to momentarily dessert him, then a lesser cold, pain in his leg as something grips, tightness in his lungs, not easy to breath, and height, so much height…

A voice, but not from without, but somehow from within, 'Or I could let go'.

A darkness above, he strains, gasps, cringing as a lick of flame escapes the draconic forms mouth.

He knew he had sold a few dragon accessories, but he had been careful there, no actual dragons should have appeared, their riders on the other hand… It should not be but it was.

But would it really…?

Release of pressure, sudden rushing movement, then pain, caught once more, hurts.

'Next time I will not save you.'

He looks into its eyes, believes it, has no way of knowing that it would never actually kill a live sentient unless it truly had no choice, the concept being anathema to its very being as a protector and guardian.

"Bust of Janus, break it!"

Cold, the shop suddenly in front, flame, heat, then a painful landing as the dragon drops him, abruptly disappearing. Groaning, he glances around, chaos still evident, the bust obviously not yet broken.

Then the dragons back, but no rider this time.

More heat, more flame and suddenly it's all over.

Then a groan as he realises he forget to set up a backup cache and all his money, his clothes and supplies, everything he had brought from Britain with him were in the shop, burning as he watched..

Of course, he didn't really know what he would have chosen to do if he had known, would he have stopped it, prevented what was to come? Or would have selfishly allowed it go on, knowing it was he and his who would come off better for the nights chaos.

That night, dragons rode the skies above Sunnydale, their fiery breathe searing demons, their talons disdainfully ripping mere vampires apart, it was his… his characters own Gotanth whose jaws scattered Spikes ashes to the four winds.

Not in defence of the town, but in defence of the Queen, flightless, defenceless, laying.

"Lookie here, it's the whelp. All helpless and lost without the Slayer to protect him, double so with miss Slayer being little miss Useless for the night. You know, Buffy's tricky and I have no idea how long this beautiful chaos is going to last, what say we leave her a little message, just in case.

The sort where her friends show up dead."

"You really are a dim-glow, I may know not of this slayer but I am X'der, rider of Gotanth and if you threaten me, you threaten Gotanth."

"Well, I don't see anyone else here, so I guess it just whelp for supper."

A thump as displaced air suddenly moved past, cold with between, a bronze shape suddenly in front, a scattering of dust as jaws clenched, then searing heat. In moments, twenty vampires were no more.

"Sharding abominations."

Of course, the night over, the dragons vanished, made of magic, they had no permanent substance and were gone with the magics but the eggs… the Dragons may not have been real but they were real for the night and that meant they were real enough to create life.

The eggs stayed, the one brood of the dragons brief unreal existence a permanent marker to that night.

Waking up in the hot, sandy pit the eggs had been left in had certainly been a shock, the aching loneliness of knowing some part of him had gone even more so, seeing that terrible loneliness echoed in Dawn's eyes had almost driven him to despair but with that came the realisation of what surrounded them and what could possibly be.

It meant hope; hope that once more he could hear another voice in his head, the surety of knowing always that there was a being that would forever be true to him, that once more he could ride the winds.

Ten, dark mottled, large eggs and in the centre, one Golden, almost perfect.

Dragon eggs.

It was not easy after that of course, they needed to be protected, kept from the hands of the controlling, the uncaring, the power hungry, they needed to be kept warm, candidates needed to be found, large quantities of meat quietly prepared.

But then, the day came and Gotanth was his once more and once more he was X'der.

Hot, the sands burning his feet, but he doesn't care.

The eggs are rocking, cracking at last.

A few trusted souls are rushing back and forth, hastily bringing all the meats they could to the bowl, mostly sausage meat and the like, prepared meats with no bones, nothing that could choke a newly risen infant.

The centre eggs rocks and a light crack appears.

The gold… but that one is not for him, that is for the females, Buffy, Joyce, Willow , Tara … and Dawn. He had a suspicion exactly who would get the Queen but if this was a normal Queens lay there would be greens as well which would make fine consolation prizes for those rejected by the Gold.

There weren't enough males for all the undetermined eggs anyway, if some were not green, they would have a problem.

A crack in front and suddenly egg shell is flying, a piece bouncing off his cheek, cutting him. An egg, quiet and still one moment, gone the next. A bronze first, a good omen and completely sure as it dives straight for Oz.

More cracking, more eggs opening, but no dragon for him as yet, no Queen either but a Green is butting against Joyce's right leg, her face becoming radiant, losing twenty years as her eyes meet her dragons at last.

A cracking, the eyes of those not yet bonded or merely helping turning to the centre as a Golden form greets the world… and dives towards Buffy, intention obvious. She dives out of the way, knowing as the Slayer that an attacker must be dealt with, knowing as Buffy that that it must not be and that she cannot, must not harm even as she is denied the perfect joy of that bonding.

A form dives in front, protecting, falls to the ground, wounded as the claws of the dragon tear deep then there is crooning as wounded and dragons eyes meet and remorse fills the dragons eyes as she realises she had hurt the one she wanted.

Dawn is bonded, but Xander is sure she will survive the damage, she has too much of the Summers stubbornness not too.

Gentle pressure on his lap… but he is standing?

Glances down… and a void is filled within.

'I am Gotanth.'

Word spread of course, demons might hide in the shadows but how could ten dragons hide in California ?

They managed well enough for a time but the Queen rose, as time and nature dictated she must and a mating flight was quite unmistakeable.

Of course, after that Joyce really did try to kill him but he knew that time at least it was in jest. Who else would she trust with her precious Dawn?

And what other choice did she really have?

Besides, having a randy green did encourage a certain understanding there.

Still, they were dragon riders now and whilst there was no thread, there were other threats, such as the strange, alien, forward sweep fighters sweeping towards them and the evil beast in the pyramid above that controlled them, a beast that wanted a dragon for his own use.

That could not happen, that would not be allowed to happen.

He glanced around once, hand raised high then pumped it up and down twice, the 'traditional' signal for the wing to rise to battle.

And the Jaffa watched with fearful eyes as before them, the skies cleared, knowing that it didn't mean a won battle or even a postponed one, that it meant only the fight was about to come to them.

Note: The Author does not own nor does he claim ownership of characters or concepts from Buffy, Dragonriders of Pern, Stargate SG-1 or any other non-original universe contained within.

(Somebody always asks about Pern crosses, so to the best of my knowledge, using the universe is okay under the newer rules just DONT use any of McCarfreys own characters)