Author: Lucinda

Rated: t for teen

Disclaimer: I do not own anything from BtVS, Joss Whedon & his writers do. While I'm not sure who owns the legal rights to Vampire Hunter D, I know that it isn't me.

Distribution: any lists I send it to, mental Wanderings, and Twisting.

Notes: yet another look at how the s2 Halloween special could have gone with a different costume.

D strode down the street, sword held in one hand. How could a single town have so many mutants and vampires and so few protections against them? There were plenty of churches, but none of the houses had crosses on their rooftops or fences. The whole town was steeped in evil so thick that it made his teeth ache...

For that matter, it seemed odd how tall everything here was, not just the mutants and the vampires, but the humans as well. Instead of towering over most of the creatures, about a third were the same height, with a fair number even taller! No doubt it was an effect of the evil, twisting and enlarging everything.

"I don't like this, D," the familiar whine came from the hand that wasn't clenched around the sword.

The hunter permitted the ghost of a smile at those words. The creature never liked the dangerous situations that were so common in his occupation.

A single stroke of the sword dispatched a vampire in ragged clothing, with hair that flopped into golden eyes. Sneering at the dust that landed on the road, the hunter murmured, "Such vermin…"

D froze at the sound of his words. His voice didn't, shouldn't sound like that. That sounded like the voice of a child.

"Was that you, D? Or have you started to have children insult your foes to save you the bother of words?" the voice from his hand attempted to conceal worry under mocking.

"I am capable of insulting my own foes," the hunter could feel fangs as he snapped at his hand. His voice still wasn't right, still sounded like a child.

The rising panic at the growing sense that his body was not as it should be was diverted by something large and hairy growling and charging at him. D focused on the werewolf, seeking to cut it down before it could devour any of the stupid humans that filled this miserable town. Come to think of it, he couldn't remember what this town was, when he'd arrived, or where he'd stabled his horse.

Think of that later. Now was the time to kill the attacking monsters. So very many monsters…

The hunter walked along the street, trying to hide the pain in his left leg from the claws of something covered with orange scales. The leaves were turning colors, and many of the porches had gourds on them, hollowed out and carved with faces. The gourds that he'd seen had all been roundish and orange, nagging at him. They reminded him of something, old memories more forgotten than remembered.

D pushed away the nostalgia and the ghosts of memory. The time would be better spent attempting to unravel this strange situation. Letting out a sigh, he tried to gather the facts. Either the majority of the people of this town averaged a foot and a half taller than himself, or he had somehow been reduced in size. The city appeared to lack a protective wall. There were no signs of horses, and no air cars, only ground cars. He'd seen very few people armed with any sort of energy weapon. And his body didn't feel right.

Most worried by the idea that his body had been changed, the hunter did a quick self inspection. His armor was intact, the mesh not twisted or gapping anywhere. His sword was dulled with the blood of all the monsters he'd fought, grimed with the dust of the wretched vampires he'd slain. He'd lost the knife in his boot to the grey lamprey-thing that had towered half again his size. Long brown hair that was still the same color as his accursed father's, and fangs as his body reacted to the threat of the evil all around him. And…

A wave of disorientation struck him, and D clawed at consciousness as the world seemed to twist around him. The cloak swirled as the dark haired hunter collapsed to the ground.

When the figure pulled itself to its knees, the small whimper that emerged was nothing like the musing of the hunter. Nervous eyes darted around before a shaking hand reached out to grab the hilt of the sword. The brim of the hat drooped, and the boots seemed a bit less stiff.

Slowly, the figure limped to a closed store, peering at the reflection. A bruise surrounded one eye, and the fangs were still rather pronounced.

Gasping, the figure lurched away from the window, the sword raising in a defensive gesture that had become ingrained habit to the hunter. The other hand raised as well, palm towards the window.

"D? What is going on?" the face in the left hand demanded.

Dawn Summers could only stand there, her breath coming in rapid gasps. It was only supposed to have been a Halloween costume. She'd had a hard time talking Mom into it, and she still wasn't sure that her Mom had bought that it was animated, so it couldn't be that bad… The fake fangs she'd glued in earlier that night hadn't been that long. The face had only been drawn in by an eyeliner pencil, and certainly hadn't been able to talk.

"Oh my God…" the girl tried not to whimper as the memories of the last few hours crashed back into her. "It wasn't supposed to be real. It was just supposed to be a costume…"

"Why, D, this is a definite change," the hand grinned at her. "I think I like the new you."

"Oh my God," the girl whimpered, before straightening. Yes, it was only supposed to have been a costume. None of that was supposed to have happened. But it had happened, somehow. And she remembered being the Hunter. And Vampire Hunters did not cower in front of a darkened window like a frightened child.

It didn't matter that instead of the Hunter D she was Dawn Summers. Quite a bit of D remained, and she would make use of those remnants. No more cowering. And Hank Summers, absentee father off with his secretary was certainly an improvement over D's father! It did explain why she'd felt so short earlier – her mind had been almost entirely submerged beneath the Hunter's, but her body hadn't changed that much.

"The town's still evil," her hand grumbled.

"I know. But nothing here will suspect us of anything," the smile was still the tiny curve of a hunter's lips, showing the barest trace of fangs as they gradually receded. "We can start thinning their numbers, and it will only get easier as I grow. I've finally found the advantage to only being twelve."

Her hand laughed as Dawn made her way home. Of course, she'd have to hide all of this. Mom would never let her hunt for the monsters, probably wouldn't even believe her about them. As for Buffy? No, Buffy was still pining for the way things had been back in LA, where Buffy was the pretty, popular cheerleader. Her sister wouldn't want to hear about monsters. At least nobody would suspect her of anything other than becoming a moody teenager.

End Vampire Hunter D?