Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Sweeney Todd. They both belong to their creators and whoever else holds copyright and licensing. I'm just borrowing them for my own attempts at a YAHF. This is for entertainment purposes only and no moneys will be made from this fanfiction.
Author's note: Warning, this is really clichéd, but I really wanted to try my hand at a YAHF, having read so many of them. For the most part I am following the Buffy Halloween episode, so if you aren't interested in rehashing it then you won't be interested in this. I also rearrange, delete and mangle events as I see fit, so it won't be an exact retelling. Xander, by the way, is the only one with a different costume.
I do hope to continue the story past the end of this chapter, but I don't know when that will be happening, as all my current ideas are mostly disconnected scenes at the moment.
Hopefully this will entertain, and I apologise in advance if I step on any toes along the way. As I said, I have read a lot of YAHFs and I have probably absorbed bits from other stories that I don't even realize I've picked up.
Author's note 2: Even though I mention the theatrical version of Sweeney Todd, this is a crossover with the 2007 movie. The movie is, of course, unknown to characters set in 1997, and if the differences are noticed, they'll probably just be chalked up to that wacky Hellmouth/Sunnydale effect.
Razor Cut Smile: A Yet Another Halloween Fanfiction
Xander shook his head as he watched Buffy try to talk Willow out of her seasonal Halloween costume.
Good luck there, he thought. Willow hadn't worn anything for Halloween but a ghost costume since she was five. With a fond smile for his best friend he turned back to the tub of plastic weaponry and pulled out an automatic rifle that would go well with the army fatigues he had back home. The 1.98 price tag was a good deal and the gun would turn the tired old clothing into a costume for the night.
"Are you finding what you're looking for?" A voice, with an English accent, asked from behind him.
"Ah!!" Xander whipped around, ready to chew Giles out for sneaking up on him. Therefore, he was rather surprised to find someone who was not Giles shaped behind him.
"Uh, yeah," he said, only slightly perplexed, as he held up the gun.
The guy, who introduced himself as the Ethan the shop was named after, gave the piece of plastic a slight frown. "You seem to be several pieces short of a costume if that's all you're going to buy."
"Nah, I've got a set of fatigues at home, this is just to make it seem a little more authentic."
The Ethan guy looked at him, giving his head a little twist to the side as if he could see something about Xander that others couldn't.
"Well, it looks like the costume will be a good match for you," he said, as he waved Xander over to the cash register.
Xander wasn't sure if that was a compliment or an insult, and the way the guy had said it hadn't given him any clues to it one way or the other. Although he had almost sounded... disappointed.
Or maybe he was just putting his own emotions into what he was hearing. It wasn't that he didn't want to go as something more interesting, but the toy weapon was all he could afford.
The shop owner was just starting to enter the charge for the gun into his cash register when he swore quietly and pulled the top of the machine open. "Sorry, I've got to change the paper; it'll just be a moment."
"No rush," Xander replied, using the time to look around the shop and try and see where the girls had ended up.
As he turned back to watch the guy wrestle with the register a flash of silver caught at the edge of his eye. He looked down into the display cabinet that doubled as the counter to see a set of 7 silver razors, the old kind that he thought used to be called throat cutters, sitting in an open wooden box.
What a weird ass thing to find in a costume shop.
"Finally." He looked up to see Ethan snap the top back on the cash register. Xander looked at him and frowned slightly. Weird ass things on the Hellmouth were not usually of the good.
"Um, before you ring that in, I was wondering if you could tell me about these?" Xander asked, pointing into the case.
"Hmm?" Ethan looked down into the case at the set of razors and then back at Xander. He blinked, several times, before looking back at the razors. He then he took a longer, slower look at Xander.
Ethan wasn't all that fond of looking at auras. They tended to give him a headache after awhile and the entire concept was so new ageish that doing so annoyed him on general principals. Still, he had found that it was a great way to match up certain people with certain costumes, ones that would ensure that the night had just that dollop more of chaos.
When he'd looked at the boy with his gun, he could see that the costume would be an excellent fit for him. It would blend well with him and would probably influence him for years after this night. It would even smooth some of the boy's rough edges and fill in a few of his deeper patches of darkness.
Still, it was a boring costume.
And then he asked about the razors.
Now this, this was a match. A match made in Hell perhaps, but what a match. While the rough edges, those mostly due to the boy's youth, were still smoothed over, those dark places had found something that could match them and push them even deeper. Of course, it wasn't an exact match, as the two of them were rather like jagged pieces of broken crystal, carefully refitted together. However, even though they would be chipped and cracked in places, they would hold.
And it was a much more interesting costume to boot.
"Ah, you know, you're the first person who's asked about these," he said, as he reached into the case and brought the blades out. He pulled one out of its nesting place and flicked it open with disturbing ease.
Xander took a startled breath. The razor was beautiful; something he'd never thought he'd think about a shaving implement.
"Sterling silver, hand carved design on the handle." He closed the blade and handed it to Xander, who held it gingerly, like just breathing on it would damage it in some way.
"I got them in a shipment of theatrical props. Apparently they were made for a production of Swee..."
A sudden crash pulled both of their attentions over to the bin of plastic guns that had suddenly fallen over, without any apparent help.
Ethan frowned at the mess and looked around the shop, which was now empty of everyone but him, the boy and the two girls he had come in with. A smudge of left over power hung around the plastic guns, power that smelled of order and balance and hadn't reacted well to the shop's wards at all. He suspected someone or something didn't like the idea that Ethan was about to get the boy to buy a different costume.
A smirk of a smile crossed his face and for a moment he basked in his enjoyment at the chance to fully tick off whatever power it was that had tried to interfere.
"Anyway," he said, his eyes still darting around the shop, "they never actually used them in the production. A storage note I found with them mentioned that the leading man had gone and sliced himself open with the things during a rehearsal and the production itself closed a week after it opened due to some kind of accident. I bought them in a set of items from the theatre at an auction last month. If you're interested, I do have the costume that goes with them. I'll make you a good deal on a rental."
Xander blew out a breath. He was strangely drawn to those razors, a fact that had him slightly concerned about his mental state. Still, good deal or not, there was no way he could afford even a rental. He placed the blade he was holding back into its nest, intending to turn the offer down and just buy the gun, when the Ethan gestured over to the girls.
"If that is anything to go by it looks like the young lady may be going as a noble woman. The dress is from about the same time period, give or take a few decades, as the barber's costume, so you'd match. Although you would be playing the commoner to her titled position."
Xander gave a slight laugh. "Nothing new there, although only Queen C has ever called me a commoner to my face."
"I take it that that isn't 'Queen C'"?
"Eh, oh no, that's Buffy."
Ethan blinked and then looked at the petite blonde girl gushing over the red velvet and pink satin ball gown.
So that was the Slayer. Oh, this really was too, too perfect.
"Look," Xander said, "I can't really afford..."
"How much do you have on you right this moment?"
"Um," Xander quickly dug through his pockets, stripping them and his wallet bare and laying the findings out on the counter.
"Seven dollars and... thirty nine cents," he said dejectedly, knowing that there was no way the guy would let the razors go for that.
"It's a deal." He quickly closed the box and slid it into a bag before going over to the racks and pulling a bagged costume down. He pulled the rental tag off of it, had Xander sign it and then handed him both bags.
"Instructions are in with the costume, oh and here," Ethan reached over to a display of cheap Halloween make up and tossed a multiuse package into the bag with the razors. "You'll probably need that as well."
And just like that Xander found himself standing outside the store and holding a lot more costume than he'd expected.
"What just happened?"
He turned back to the shop. A look through the window showed that Ethan was now busy helping Buffy with the fancy gown, while Willow watched from the sidelines. He looked back down at the costume in his arms. Sure, he knew that Buffy was probably hoping to impress a certain brooding vampire with that get up, but that didn't mean he couldn't try and impress her in return.
He gave a nod and decided that he had better get on home and look the thing over. The costume didn't look too difficult to wear, but given that it had instructions and makeup, it would probably be harder than he thought.
As Xander walked over to Buffy's to collect the girls the next day for their 'volunteer' duties he pulled at the collar of the costume, as the darn thing kept trying to choke him.
It was a good thing he had started getting dressed as soon as he'd gotten home from school, as some of the pieces just weren't things that the modern teen would know how to wear. The pinstripe pants, the white, almost pirate like shirt, the fingerless leather gloves and the boots had been fine. Although the suspenders really could have used the help of a couple of extra hands getting them on. The belt was a worse problem, what with the extra bits to it that were designed so you could have a barbering towel, a strop and a holster big enough to hold two of the razors on it. However, all of that paled when it came to trying to tie the neck rag ascot thing. Even with the instructions it had taken him a half dozen tries before it came even close to looking right. The vest and the short jacket thing with the long sleeves, that the instructions referred to as a barbering coat, were easy by comparison.
There was also a pinstriped leather jacket, strange in the way that it looked both modern and 19th century at the same time. Xander stared at it for some time as he debated whether or not to wear it. In the end he decided it just looked too cool not to use, even if it was a warm night.
The makeup he'd thankfully put on before getting dressed and it hadn't been too difficult. He'd just had to pale his complexion and red rim and grey circle his eyes, before pulling on the black wig with the white shock of hair.
Of course, the last thing he did was to carefully use the strop to sharpen two of the razors, (there were instructions for that as well) before slipping them into the holster, doing so with a mental plea that no one would try to get a good look at the things. Principal Snyder would freak if he knew he was carrying a blade and the parents of the group of kids he'd be escorting wouldn't be too happy either.
He could have left the things at home, but he knew in his heart that if he did the costume would be incomplete.
He made a slight gurgling sound and pulled at the collar again, startling a couple of women who had already been throwing him disturbed looks. Another tug finally got the thing to where he could breathe regularly and he left off fidgeting with it. Another two people, this time a middle aged married couple from the looks of them, walked past him, giving him their own disturbed look.
This costume must be more effective than he thought it would be.
Of course with the white makeup and the wig the whole thing had a bit of a vampire vibe, which was something he could have lived without. Only the fact that the description sheet said that the character had been wrongly imprisoned for 15 years, before he'd managed to return to England to search for his wife and child, had made him go with the makeup. He figured that being locked away all that time would probably bleach all the colour out of you and as long as that was the reason for being pale and not some need for the blood of others, then he was fine with it.
Xander wouldn't know it yet, but while he was mostly right about the paleness he would, in a strange way, be wrong about the blood.
The description also said he was equal parts brooding, manic and murderous as he plotted the demise of the man who both exiled him and tore his family apart. He wasn't sure about the brooding or the murderous, but he suspected he could pull off manic.
A few moments after his knock on the door at Buffy's place, it opened to reveal that same young woman resplendent in a ball gown, her blonde hair covered over with a high piled, brunette wig.
"Ah, Lady Buffy," he said with a bow and an incredibly bad English accent, "I completely renounce modern fabrics," he looked back up at her with a grin that attempted to mix insanity with amusement, "even spandex."
Buffy snorted in a completely unladylike manner before remembering herself. She gave him a little curtsy. "Why thank you sir."
She frowned a little at his costume. It appeared to be 19th century with a serious modern gothic twist to it. The costume also fit him well, something most of his clothes didn't do as he tended to go for the baggy look.
"So who are you supposed to be?"
"Early 19th century barber with a thirst for revenge."
Xander shrugged, "the guy gave me a good deal on it."
"Well it looks great."
Xander smiled back at the complement, not even attempting to stay in character.
"Oh, but wait until you see Willow," Buffy started, "she's..." and they both turned towards the top of the stairs to see Willow in all her sheet clad glory, "Casper," Buffy said, her voice going from happy to depressed in the space of that one word.
"Hey Will, that's a fine Boo you've got there." Xander told his friend, wondering slightly about what costume Willow had chickened out on at the last minute.
The ghost acknowledged his words with a little wave.
"Well my ladies, May I escort you to our terrifying duties, leading the ravenous hoards of sugar hyped groundlings?"
And off they went to meet their fate.
"What in Hell is going on?" The pale man with dark hair asked as he looked around, confused. Wherever here was, wasn't where he'd been a few moments ago. Not that the little demons running around and the screams that filled the air were what was throwing him. Those were things that he had long since become use to. No, it was the fact that he appeared to be outside, with fresh air and growing things, when he'd become accustomed to stagnant air and the stench of brimstone and cooking flesh.
And even as he realized that, the memories of that place started to fade, becoming a shadow that wrapped around his mind and thoughts, hiding most of the knowledge away where he couldn't get to it.
He growled slightly, annoyed that his mind appeared to be failing him as he kicked a demon who'd thought to attack him out of the way. If he couldn't remember that place properly then that left where he'd been before, which wasn't much better. Bleeding to death from a slit throat as he cradled his dead wife in his arms, with the smell of Mrs. Lovett's burning body in his nostrils, had been all too similar to where he'd been after that.
The little demon turned out to be idiotically persistent and attempted to attack him again. The barber reached to the holster on his belt and pulled out one of his old silver friends, flicking it open with practiced ease. Somewhere in the back of his mind the fact that he had previously been denied these blades rose up from that shadowed part of his memory, but he shook it off, needing to handle the threat in front of him before dealing with anything else.
He'd pulled his arm back to strike, when the most indecently dressed woman he had ever seen threw herself between him and the demon.
"No Xander, don't. It's not a demon, there's a little kid in there."
He pulled back, startled by the woman's sudden presence and not by any need to stay his hand. Demon, child, what did he care? The whole stinking mass of humanity deserved to die, himself included. As for demons, normally he wouldn't have cared one way or the other. They were, after all, a necessary evil in that place he had recently been. However, wherever he was now, was someplace they did not belong.
And who the hell was Xander?
The little demon took that moment to decide that the young woman would be the better meal and jumped her; well it attempted to jump her. It's springing attack carried it through her body and it rolled as it hit the pavement, coming to its feet before staggering off, giving up on the both of them.
The barber was surprised and noticed that the prostitute was as well, more so than he in fact, as she appeared to be absolutely stunned.
"Are you a spirit then?" He asked, his voice a baritone rumble that helped to hide just how flat and cold it really was.
"I, I, I..." The girl looked down at herself, and then it was as if a light dawned in her mind. "I was dressed as a ghost."
"Xander, I think that everyone has become their costumes. I was dressed as a ghost and now I am one."
"The ghost of a street walker?"
Willow gasped and attempted to cover her bare midriff. "Xander! You know darn well I was all covered over with a sheet."
He blinked, a little surprised. So the girl had been rendered down to her underwear, or whatever these garments were, by her...death? He guessed he really shouldn't be surprised; there was something far too innocent about her, especially when he compared her to the whores that worked the dark corners of Fleet Street.
Wait, she said she had become her costume, and she kept calling him by another name.
"Miss, you keep calling me Xander, but that isn't my name." He would be polite for the moment, or at least until he knew what was going on. Besides, it wasn't like he could get rid of her by killing her, as she was apparently already dead.
"Xander..., oh." She looked at him, her eyes wide. "You've become your costume."
"Possibly, do you know what this 'Xander' went as?"
"You didn't say exactly, something about a 19th century barber, I think."
The boy must have the worst luck, to have dressed as something so vague and get him as a body guest.
"If this costume was date specific, then what year is it now?"
He'd really thought that there wasn't much in life, or death for that matter, that could surprise him, but he felt his knees weaken and threaten to drop him to the ground with that piece of information.
150 years since he had last been alive. It wasn't possible.
It was also unwanted.
The growls of larger, more dangerous predators filled the night's air and the girl tried to grab hold of him, no doubt in an attempt to drag him off to safety. That didn't work of course, as she ended up falling though him. She stumbled a couple of steps before catching her balance, her expression one of annoyance and mild panic.
"What were you hoping to accomplish?" He asked with a slight frown.
"We need to get somewhere safe and we need to find, oh my gosh, Buffy," and the spirit ran off towards a young, dark haired woman in a ball gown.
Buffy? And he'd thought Xander was a strange name.
Voicing something between a grunt and a sigh he headed over to join the two women. He turned back to the street when he realized that the growling noises were now louder. Two demons, both far larger than the little one that had attacked them earlier, were sizing them up from across the road.
"Oh my gosh Buffy, what do we do?"
He turned his head slightly, keeping one eye on the demons and sparing the other one for the two girls. In this way he was able to see the only appropriately dressed female in their group pass out, moments after she had seen the monsters.
With his razor still in his hand he gave his full attention back to the demons, a smile that spoke of the dark joy he would take in rending the flesh from their bones on his face.
They took one step towards the three of them before wisely deciding to find different, easier prey.
Apparently these demons had some added intelligence to go with their size.
"Buffy, are you alright?"
He spared a brief glance towards the two girls, to watch the ghost hover over the young noble woman as she came out of her swoon.
"What?" She asked.
"Are you hurt?" He asked, as he kept a watch for further annoyances.
"Buffy, are you hurt?" The ghost asked as well.
The ghost seemed to droop. "Oh no, she's not Buffy."
He considered asking if she meant that she wasn't Buffy right now, or if she had never been Buffy, but he decided he'd had enough of the current situation.
"We need to find a safer place to be, preferably inside somewhere."
The ghost thought for a moment. "I know a place."
Willow walked through the back door of Buffy's house.
Getting no answer she carefully poked her head back through the closed door.
"Okay, no one's here."
She pulled back as Xander opened the door and hustled Buffy inside. She watched as the two of them looked around the kitchen, almost identical looks of confusion on their faces.
"Where are we?" Buffy asked.
"Your place. Now if we can just..."
A banging at the front door had Xander moving towards it in frowny face mode.
"My name, it's Mr. Todd."
"Okay, Mr. Todd, you can't open that door, it could be a demon."
Xander gave her a look that he'd never aimed at her before. Usually Cordelia was the recipient of the 'are you mentally deficient' glare.
He finished his journey to the door and was carefully looking through the little window in it when a demonic hand punched its way through the glass. A quick move of his head and a twist to his body took him safely out of its way. Another quick movement had his razor in his hand, open and ready to use.
"Xan..., Mr. Todd, no!"
"Well what do you suggest I do, shave it?" He asked her, with a withering glare. He held up the razor and turned back to the door. Looking though the little window, past the hand trying to grab him, he held the creature's eyes with his own.
"Fancy a shave?"
"Uhhhhh," was the creature's answer. Then the hand was suddenly pulled back and the sound of the demon running away came quite clearly through the broken window.
Mr. Todd blinked at the retreating monster for a few moments. "You know..., I didn't really think that would work."
A woman's screams broke him out of his surprise and with a sigh he opened the door. Another indecently dressed young lady was running down the street, being chased by something with far too much hair. Just thinking about the amount of sweeping up he'd have to do after giving that thing a trim made his mind boggle.
"Help her!" The ghost yelled out behind him.
He holstered his razor, and then took off out the door at a run to help the young woman. Not so much because the ghost had asked him to, but because no matter how many times over a murderer he might be, no matter how dead inside he was, he was still enough of a gentleman that he could not easily ignore a lady in distress.
Not that he couldn't do it; it just grated more than leaving a man in the same situation.
The girl screamed again when he grabbed her, and then she recognised him, or at least she recognised the body he was in.
Willow called out Cordelia's name just as Xander, or Mr. Todd as he'd identified himself, slammed the front door shut.
"What's going on?" Cordelia asked, her voice close to panic.
"Okay, your name is Cordelia, you're not a cat, you're in high school, we're your friends - well, sort of."
That bit of babble snapped her panic, letting the girl slid into the safety of the snarky comeback.
"That's nice Willow, and you went mental when?"
"You didn't become your costume." That statement came from Xan..., Mr Todd.
"No, why would I have?"
"Because we all appear to have done so. That you have not means that whatever is causing this mess may only be able to target certain individuals." He frowned in thought. "I wonder why?"
"What do you mean, you've become your costumes?"
"Well, as far as I knew it, the year is 1847 and I'm a barber named..."
"No," Buffy said, "no, it's 1775, and I'm supposed to be at the governor's ball, not, not, not here."
Cordelia looked back and forward between Buffy and Xander before focusing on Willow, "and if this, whatever it is, had happened to me, I'd be a cat right now?"
Willow and Mr. Todd both nodded, Buffy simply looked disbelieving at all of them.
"And all I thought I had to worry about was the fact that I'll never get my deposit back from Party Town." Cordelia said as she attempted to pull together the tears in her costume.
Xander/Todd, well Willow wanted to say he frowned, but it was hard to describe it that way, as he gave the impression that he did so without significantly changing his expression. Either way he appeared to disapprove of the state of Cordelia's costume and he pulled off the leather coat he was wearing and placed it around her shoulders.
He nodded once, then turned his attention to the front door and windows again.
"Cordelia, I can't actually touch anything," Willow said, proving the point by waving her hand through the staircase's newel post. "I need you to call Giles."
"Yes, yes." Cordelia jumped for the phone, using the little job as a way to not freak out over what Willow had just done. She brought the hand piece up to her ear and then frowned. "No, no." She jiggled the receiver buttons for a moment and then hung up, shaking her head.
"Darn." Willow thought for a moment. "Okay, I'm going to go get help. If something tries to get in, just fight it off."
"It's not our place to fight. Surely some men will come and protect us?" Buffy asked, hopefully.
Cordelia rolled her eyes and Willow shook her head, muttering something as she turned and walked through the nearest wall.
Xander, or whoever he was now, frowned after the departed ghost. With a look of vague confusion on his face he turned towards Cordelia and asked her. "Who exactly is Xena and why does Willow think the young lady should have dressed up as her instead?"
Mr. Todd sent the young lady dressed as a cat upstairs, to check that the windows were locked. While she did that he busied himself with dragging the dining room table over to the front room, to use it as a barricade for the picture window. He wasn't exactly gentle about getting the thing in place and once it was secure he moved to pick up a couple of items that he'd knocked to the floor during his trip through the room.
One of the items was a framed photograph of excellent clarity and in colour, no less. In it were three people. One of them was the ghost, Willow, the other Miss Buffy, who apparently was blonde most of the time and the last was a young man, whom he had not met this night.
He frowned, or had he?
After a quick search, he found a mirror in the front hallway and took a good look at himself. Well his hair was as he remembered it, as was his complexion and the dark glitter in his eyes that spoke of rage and pain and the need to quench it with blood.
But, his face was that of the boy in the photo.
"Surely there's somewhere we can go? Some safe haven?"
Sweeney glanced at the young noble woman who had just spoken and was standing near him, wringing her hands. He blinked as he realized the silly thing had been following him around since young Willow had left and he hadn't really been paying attention to her.
Rather like him and Mrs. Lovett, really.
"To what point and purpose? I would hardly think it wise to travel the streets out there, no matter what promise of safety should we make it. Besides, I know of no safe haven." He handed her the picture that had set off his recent discoveries, hoping that making a few of her own would keep her quiet.
"This could be me!"
No such luck then.
"I rather suspect it is you."
She no doubt would have argued that suspicion with him, if a new voice hadn't interrupted at that point.
"Oh, good. You guys are all right."
Sweeney turned towards the voice, his hand on the razor at his side. A young man, one the ladies would no doubt consider handsome, stood in the door way to the strange room they'd been in when they'd first come into the house. He was dressed in black fabrics and leather and carried with him a brooding quality that Sweeney was as familiar with as breathing.
"It's total chaos out there."
"Who are you?" He asked, the question echoed by the young noble woman.
"Okay, does somebody want to fill me in?" Angel asked, feeling the relief at finding everyone was alright start to dribble away as the two of them stared at him blankly.
"Do you live here?" Xander asked him, rather formally, his voice slightly deeper than usual and sporting an English accent. If the situation wasn't so strange, Angel would have engaged in a little verbal sparring with the boy over that and the fact that he'd apparently dressed as a vampire this night.
"No! You know that. Buffy...I'm lost here. You..." He stopped and took a better look at the slayer. "What's up with your hair?"
Cordelia chose that moment to enter from another room. "They don't know who they are, everyone's become a monster, it's a whole big thing." She paused to turn a smile, so bright it could blister on him. "How are you?"
Unfortunately the brightness wasn't literal, as they could have used it in the next moment when the lights went out.
Buffy, unsurprisingly, screamed and grabbed hold of Cordelia, who shook her off with a, "do you mind?"
"Miss Cordelia?" Xander asked.
"Since you seem to know him, could you take this... gentleman with you and check the front of the house. I'll take the Lady and check out...whatever that room over there is."
"You mean the kitchen?"
"Ah, that explains...some of the things in there."
"You don't know what a kitchen is?" Angel asked.
Xander glared at him, very effectively too. "Of course I know what a kitchen is; it doesn't mean I recognized that room as a kitchen." He said, before he took Buffy's arm and dragged her off into the now much discussed kitchen.
Cordelia shrugged at him. "Like I said, they don't know who they are, in fact I don't think they even know when they are."
Mr. Todd moved stealthily into the kitchen, or as stealthily as one can move with a noble woman in a ball gown, hanging onto the back of one's barbering coat. He'd have shaken her off, but was afraid that doing so would make too much noise.
Once they were far enough into the room, it didn't take long to realize that something was wrong. Or at least more wrong than the very unfamiliar items in what should have been a very familiar type of room. Sweeney reached behind himself and detached the young noble woman from his coat and moved towards the kitchen door. The shouldn't have been open, but was, kitchen door. He pushed it closed and looked around with a frown on his face. While he, for some reason, felt a certain distaste for the young man who had come in earlier, he didn't actually believe that he was stupid enough to leave them exposed by not closing the door when he'd come in.
A shriek behind him spun him around and he watched with some amusement as 'Buffy' attempted to keep some overdressed... demon he guessed, from grabbing her. The creature must have been hiding in the stairwell to the lower level and the girl was making a valiant attempt at beating it to death, with what was probably the basement door. The effort, while not without its effect, would, he suspected, ultimately fail as the thing was far stronger than the girl.
The Lady shrieked again when Mr. Todd grabbed her by the shoulders and moved her aside, allowing the monster to finally get the door all the way open. Todd shoved her behind him and smiled as the creature moved to attack them.
There was no phantom with red hair and inappropriate clothing to step between him and his prey this time. He let the demon, or whatever it was, get just close enough, but no closer, before he moved to caress the thing's neck with the edge of his razor.
Normally he'd have stepped out of the way of the fountaining spray of blood. Over time and with practice he'd gotten rather good at avoiding covering his clothing in the gore that followed one of his deeper cuts. However, the physical confines of the room, as well as the terrified girl behind him shrieking in his ear, gave him little room to manoeuvre. So he'd only had time to raise his arm in front of his face, mostly to keep the blood out of his eyes.
While the left arm of his barbering coat took the brunt of the spray, the rest of it hit and ran down the right side of his face, causing him to blink furiously as the viscous fluid seeped into one of his eyes. He paused to wipe the worse of it away, as the demon pawed at its own throat in an apparent attempt to stem the bleeding. Expecting it to drop to the floor in its final death throes, Sweeney turned from it towards the now beyond hysterical noble woman, who should have lost her voice long ago if the screaming was anything to go by.
Her voice did falter, just long enough for her to take in his bloodied appearance and get one good look into his eyes. Then she let out a scream that made all the others seem anaemic by comparison. She flung open the kitchen door and fled into the night.
She wouldn't have gotten very far, as Sweeney could easily have run down a woman trying to move at speed in a ball gown. However, he didn't even make it to the door before something grabbed him from behind. He growled and jammed his elbow into the chin of whoever it was behind him, turning as he did so.
It was with some shock that he realized that the demon he'd just killed was standing there, growling back at him. Sweeney ripped its throat open again, with a lot less finesse than he'd usually use. He didn't even need to step out of the way, as the creature didn't seem to have much blood left to bleed with. The man from earlier and Miss Cordelia came tumbling into the room while he stood there watching the thing's throat close up and heal.
How many times was he going to have to kill it anyway?
"We need a stake." That was from man.
"No wait; it might just be someone who's turned into their costume." That was Miss Cordelia.
Actually, given the ridiculous clothing it was wearing, that was completely possible. Apparently the young man thought so too, as instead of killing it he threw it through the open door and told it to stay out, before slamming the door shut.
Sweeney started to methodically clean his razor with the towel hanging from his belt. "She ran off," he said, nodding towards the closed door.
"What?" The man said, before opening the door again. The twice sliced demon stood on the other side, fangs bared. The young man punched it and it dropped to the ground, like a puppet with cut strings. He stepped over the unconscious body. "We have to go find her."
Sweeney closed his razor and placed it back in its holster. He was inclined to tell the boy to go ahead and do so, only without him. Instead he simply said, "very well," and followed him and the girl. He really wasn't sure why he was bothering, but it wasn't like he had anything else to do. And maybe, just maybe, he'd finally get to kill something.
The Lady ran, or tried to at least. For the first time in her life she realized just how useless a ball gown really was. It wasn't fair. She wasn't supposed to be here, in danger. At least not without a wealthy and handsome knight to ride to her rescue. Only there were no knights here, only monsters.
She crashed into a pile of crates, exhausted by running while dragging along several layers of skirt and doing so in shoes meant for dancing not dashing. For the first time since she bolted from that house she looked around to see where she was. How, she wondered, had she managed to run so far that there were no longer rows of neat, if strange little houses. Instead she found herself in an alley of crates, garbage and the blank facades of warehouses.
"Oh, look at the little lost pretty."
She turned with a gasp and quickly tried to back away from the filthy pirate, who stood behind her. She had no doubt that the lewd grin on his face did not bode well for her current situation.
"Give us a kiss love."
The mere thought of that mouth full of rotting teeth anywhere near her own was enough to make her gorge rise. She swallowed it down quickly and continued to back away. She'd forgotten, however, that the crates from earlier were now behind her. The moment her back touched them she found herself pinned against them by the pirate. She screwed her eyes shut as he bent down to try and kiss her, too terrified to even scream anymore.
With a grunt of protest the man's vile presence disappeared. She carefully opened her eyes to see Mr. Todd glowering down at her, before he turned to deal with the pirate who was picking himself up off of the ground where he'd been thrown.
The pirate threw a punch at the barber, who blocked and stepped in closer, using the opportunity to stomp his hobnailed booted foot down onto the instep of the pirate's bare one. The man howled, but didn't bother to grope the injured appendage. Instead he punched at Mr. Todd again, managing to clip him on the chin. Mr. Todd staggered back a couple of steps, before growling and coming at the pirate once more.
During this time Cordelia and Angel finally reached Buffy. The displaced Lady gave out a sob and latched onto Cordelia, who 'oofed' in protest at the rough handling.
"Buffy?" Angel asked, reaching out to her carefully.
"He's a demon, a fiend in human form."
She sniffed and tried to cower even closer to Cordelia. "Mr. Todd." She answered, bringing both of their attentions back to the man, who was now whaling on the pirate. Cordelia and Angel watched with some fascination as the barber dropped the pirate to the ground with a head butt and then gave him a couple more kicks to the ribs for good measure. Mr. Todd backed off a couple of steps, keeping the pirate in his sights, while bending slightly with his hands on his knees as he worked to bring his breathing back under control. For the first time since they'd left the house, they both realized just how much blood the barber was covered in.
"Uh, it's okay. He only did what he had to do to protect you. He would never hurt you, he's our friend." Cordelia told Buffy, as she peeled the girl off of her.
Angel walked carefully over to him.
Mr. Todd looked up at him. "It's strange, but beating up that pirate has brought me an odd feeling of closure."
Before Angel could say anything to that Willow ran up.
"Guys, you've got to get out of here," she said, pointing the way she'd come. Spike and an assorted group of monsters were quickly gaining on their position.
"We need to get inside, something we can defend," Angel said as he grabbed Buffy and started dragging her down the alley, testing doors as they passed them. Cordelia followed with Mr. Todd and Willow bringing up the rear.
"Mr. Todd," Willow said as they backed up together.
"The blonde vampire in the middle."
"Vampire?...Ah." He nodded like that suddenly explained something. "Yes, what about him?"
"That one you can kill."
Sweeney had a sort of half smirk on his face as he helped the young man barricade the warehouse door. The promise of something to kill raised his spirits immensely. Of course the pirate had been invigorating, although it had been strange that he'd never even considered pulling a blade on him. He had gained far more pleasure out of the feat of pummelling the wretch into unconsciousness, than he would have gotten by merely cutting his throat. It wasn't the same level of completeness he'd gotten from the Judge's death, but it had been satisfying none the less.
The doors shook and demonic hands started to punch their way through the flimsy material. The girls moved further into the warehouse, Willow hovering while Buffy clung to a very annoyed Cordelia. He and the young man, that he still didn't have a name for, backed away from the door, choosing to gain the space to fight over trying to hold it closed. With a crash the junk they'd piled up to stop the door from moving went flying everywhere and little monsters swarmed in, like ankle biting Chihuahuas. As soon as he kicked one away, two more would latch on. He and his companion both lunged for the blonde vampire as soon as the bastard entered, but some of his larger followers interceded and it wasn't long before the two of them were held fast.
Spike pulled Buffy out of Cordelia's arms, just as the girl was swarmed by a number of the smaller demons.
"Look at you. Shaking, terrified. Alone. Lost little lamb." Spike said to her in a quite, kindly voice. One that, given her almost tears and the terrified expression on her face, she didn't believe.
He slapped her then, hard. She dropped to the flooring with a sob of pain and horror.
"I love it." Spike chortled, before grabbing her by the hair to pull her up to him.
"Buffy." Angel struggled against the demons holding him, trying to get to her, but they were to strong for him.
Mr. Todd, by comparison, had more success. He used his boots to good effect once more, scraping the heel of one down the leg of the creature holding him, before coming down on its foot hard enough to snap bone. The thing made a noise somewhere between a choke and a scream and let him go. He had his razor in his hand and was about to throw himself bodily at the blonde vampire, when he felt something pass through him that made the world wobble for a moment, before it seemed to flip over completely.
"What the..." Xander said, looking around confused.
The sound of someone other than Buffy weeping caused Spike to look around. His fine group of minions were now a crying, trembling mass of children and teenagers. He looked back at Buffy to find that, while he still had hold of her hair, she wasn't actually wearing it at the moment.
Wigless and blonde, Buffy gave the vampire a smile that froze him to his core. "Hi Honey, I'm home."
Xander stood back and admired Buffy's handiwork as she basically kicked Spikes ass from one end of the warehouse to the other. There's nothing, he thought, quite like watching a Slayer at work. He gave his head a shake. That was odd, for a moment it had felt like something inside of him had agreed with him.
Buffy throwing Spike against one of the metal walls with a clang brought him out of whatever it was and they all watched as the whipped vampire scuttled out of the building like a chastised dog.
"Hey, Buff. Welcome back."
"Yeah. You too." She said, smiling slightly at Xander.
Cordelia looked back and forward between the two of them. "You guys remember what happened?"
Xander nodded. "It was way creepy. Like I was there, but I couldn't get out."
Cordelia pulled slightly at her cat suit and aimed her next comment towards Angel. "I know the feeling. This outfit is totally skin-tight."
"You okay?" That was Angel, but he had eyes only for Bully.
Cordelia stared in open mouthed disbelief, as Angel took Buffy by the arm and lead her away.
"Hello? It felt like I was talking. My lips were moving..."
Xander just shook his head at her. "Give it up, Cordy. You're never going to get between those two. Believe me. I know."
Cordelia sighed and the looked around, noticing the stunned and tearful trick-or-treaters.
"I guess we should get them back to their parents."
Xander agreed. "Yeah. It seems like everybody is..." He looked around, suddenly concerned. "Where's Willow?"
Xander got home and managed to make it up to his bedroom, without waking his parents. He was exhausted. They had spent a couple of hours collecting children and herding them back to the school, where their scared and confused parents were waiting for them. Along the way they'd come across Willow, who'd found herself back in her very alive body once the spell had been broken. She'd filled them in about Ethan Rayne and his enchanted costumes, along with the fact the Giles seemed to know the guy.
Xander striped down to his boxers, peeling the bloody and sweaty clothing off with a look of distaste on his face, before dropping the items in a heap by his bed. He'd bundle up the lot of it in the morning and toss it, having no intention of returning it to the most recent Big Bad, rental or no rental. After a quick trip to the bathroom, he proceeded to crawl into bed and pass out with much gusto.
About thirty minutes later he sat up. With a bit of fumbling he turned his bedside lamp on and looked around the room like he'd never seen it before. He got up and collected the clothing at his feet, minus the belt, boots and leather gloves, dragging the pile of it into the bathroom. Once there he turned on the light, looking up at the fixture curiously before dumping the pile of clothing into the bathtub. After a bit of fiddling with the drain plug and the taps, he got the cold water going. Letting the water run he went back into his room and opened the closet.
Wincing slightly at the colourful display of clothing he searched through them, until he found a pair of black dress pants and a plain white button up shirt. He put them on, noticing that they were a little tight, but still wearable. He searched the dresser for a pair of socks and pulled them on, before sliding his feet back into the boots that came with the costume. He yanked the towel and strop off of the belt and buckled it up around his waist, checking to make sure that the two razors were still in the holster. After a quick stop in the bathroom to turn off the water, he quietly made his way downstairs and out the front door.
Ethan finished taping a box shut and handed it off to one of the demons that he'd hired to help him pack up the shop. He knew Ripper was probably out running damage control, but he would be back later and he wanted everything gone before he did. Besides, just imagining how pissed off Giles would be when he found out that he'd come back and made off with everything brought a big old smile to his face.
When a hand grabbed him and slammed him up against a wall he thought maybe he'd started chortling too soon. The very sharp item at his throat however, didn't seem like Ripper's usual style.
"I believe we have some things to discuss, you and I."
He blinked at the teenager in front of him. The face was familiar, but he was having trouble placing him. The voice, or more specifically the accent, English, like his own, didn't match up with anyone he'd met in the last few weeks.
"Do we now?" He said, as he waved for help from the demon that was just standing there like a moron, still holding the box he'd just given him.
He boy turned his head slightly to look at the demon, seeming to hold it in place with his gaze. "This discussion is just between me and your employer. You've no need to become involved in it."
The demon looked at him a moment longer before shrugging and heading towards the back of the store, taking the box out to the loading van in the alley.
Ethan sighed. "You really can't get good help these days." The blade came in a little closer to his throat and he tilted his head back, trying to get away from it, but only ended up giving his assailant a better target.
"You sold a boy a costume and razors for a 19th century barber, named Sweeney Todd."
"No, I rented them... I rented them to you." Ethan said, finally placing him.
"Consider them sold."
Ethan put his hands up in surrender. "Consider them yours."
The boy nodded. "Thank you. Now what I would like to know is, if the spell has been broken, why am I still here?"
Ethan felt the blood drain from his face. "You...you're still Sweeney Todd?"
The boy nodded again, slowly.
The boy smiled, sort of. A smile usually expresses happiness, but this one somehow spoke of a darker joy, one that would see Ethan very, very dead if he didn't come up with something, and quick.
"What happened to the boy?"
"He's still here, he's just asleep. He actually had control up until then."
"Ah," Ethan said, refraining from nodding, as he'd likely slice his throat open if he did. "So he knows..."
"No, and if you could just remove me, then he'll never have to."
Ethan blinked at him. "Um, you know, if I do that, you'll cease to exist?"
Sweeney just cocked an eyebrow at him. "I hadn't considered oblivion. It seems fitting. Although, if you can't manage that, then I am quite willing to go back to Hell."
"You...you were in Hell?"
Sweeney nodded. "For the last 150 years, yes. Although the 15 years before that were somewhat similar."
Ethan's mind was running at high speed as he considered a few ways to remove Mr. Todd from the boy, but none of them were anything he could do just now. All of them required some time to set up and without further information they might not even work. As far as he knew, once the spell was over all the possessing entities should have gone. Sure, there would probably be memories left behind, but not enough that a whole person would still exist.
Ethan hesitated for a moment, then spoke, figuring he was damned either way. "I don't know how to get you out of there." He took in a startled breath as he felt the blade part his skin. "But, I can find out," he added quickly.
Mr. Todd took a step back from him, removing the blade at his throat. Ethan touched his hand to where it had been and looked rather disturbed to see his fingers covered in blood. He looked at the boy who was also looking at Ethan's fingers, only the smirk on his face was far too amused for the Chaos Mage's liking.
"You can find out, you say?"
Ethan nodded, wincing at the slight pain in his throat. "Yes. I'll need to look over the spell again..." He trailed off as he thought of something. "I'll probably have to trace the costume's origins as well, they were a little odd. Given what I was using them for I hadn't really cared, but it could have contributed to," he waved his hand towards Mr. Todd, "to whatever is going on here."
"Very well." The boy turned to go, but hesitated a moment. "Mr. Rayne?"
"Ah, is this where you threaten me should I attempt to leave you hanging in the wind or worse, attempt to use your situation to my advantage." Ethan asked flippantly, but took a step back as Mr. Todd smiled once more.
"Exactly, so please keep in mind that, while I'm not the baker Mrs. Lovett was, we never had costumer to serve and I'd try my best to make sure you were delicious."
Ethan swallowed, hard. "Got it. Um, I'll be in contact with you when I can... It may take a few weeks until I know anything."
Sweeney sighed, obviously annoyed with that piece of news, but merely nodded his understanding before turning to leave.
"Uh, what will you be doing until then?"
Sweeney turned back to Ethan and shrugged. "I don't really know, but for now I guess I'll go back to the boy's place and finish the laundry."
"Laundry?" Ethan asked, his voice a little higher pitched than he'd meant it to be.
"Well, if I don't do it now, I'll never get the blood out." He left the shop, leaving Ethan standing there, wondering just how much trouble he'd gotten himself into this time.