"There was this thing at Halloween three or four years back," Jonathan began.
Warren ignored him. "Roger Moore is just lame," he said, continuing an argument that had been ongoing among the Trio for the past couple of weeks. "He can raise one eyebrow. Wow. Color me unimpressed. Bond has to have style, menace, edge – not just be able to raise his eyebrows one at a time!"
"Dalton has edge," Andrew insisted.
"Guys! Listen to me," Jonathan pleaded, but to no avail.
"I'll concede Dalton has a little bit of what it takes, but he doesn't have that roguish air, that devil-may-care charm," Warren went on. "Connery totally rules. He just is Bond."
"You could be Bond," Jonathan said loudly.
Warren and Andrew took notice at last. Warren tried to raise one eyebrow quizzically, but succeeded only in raising both at once. "What do you mean, 'be Bond'?" he asked.
"I was telling you. Three or four years back, four, I think, there was this thing at Halloween. This wizard guy came to town, opened up a costume rental shop, and everybody who rented one of the costumes turned into the character."
"Hey, yeah," Andrew grinned. "I remember that. Mostly it was little kids, but a few of the seniors were caught up in it too. Kinda fun. Only, nobody was anything all that interesting, not that I saw anyway. Just monsters and witches and stuff."
"Well, they didn't know they were going to get turned into their costumes, did they? So nobody made any really good choices." Jonathan assumed what he believed to be an enigmatic and mysterious smile. It looked remarkably like his normal shy and slightly embarrassed smile, but Warren got the point anyway.
"Are you saying you can do the same thing? Fix it so that we turn into the characters that we dress up as? Like, absolutely anybody?"
"Yeah, I can," Jonathan assured him. "I've found the spell. I can enchant the costumes and we can be them. Just for that one night, but it still should be pretty cool."
"Hmm. Yeah, I can see possibilities there," Warren agreed. "I don't know about Bond, though. I mean, sure Bond's cool, but he's old. And British. Flint's cooler than Bond, but maybe there's not enough to the costume. I mean, he could be just some random guy in a white turtleneck. Superman? No, too much of a goody-goody."
"I'm gonna be Darth Vader," Jonathan announced.
"Hey, I wanted to be Vader," Andrew moaned.
"I said it first," Jonathan said, "plus, my spell, so I get the choice."
"Jet Li's super cool," Warren mused. "Or Chow Yun Fat. Only, they are kinda, well, Chinese." He frowned suddenly. "Hey, short stuff, I think I've hit a snag. Darth Vader's dangerous. You could turn on us. Or if I was, I don't know, say, Sabertooth, I could turn on you. Maybe we'd better be three guys who match."
"It's okay, I've thought of that," Jonathan reassured him. "I can twist the spell a little so that we stay in control. All the powers and the abilities of the costume characters, only it would still be us."
"Totally," Jonathan said. "Hey, I wouldn't want to do it if I wasn't sure. What would be the point of my being Darth Vader if I wasn't in control of what I was doing? That wouldn't be fun. Trust me, guys. Nothing can possibly go wrong."
- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -
Warren thought long and hard about his character and eventually decided that the coolest possible choice would be Wolverine. Super healing, agility, strength, reflexes, lethal adamantium claws, and charisma in spades; perfect for Warren's plan to take over Sunnydale and to get laid in the process.
Andrew dithered over his choice for quite a while. He announced at first that he was going to be Neo, from The Matrix, but Warren pointed out that the costume was insufficiently distinctive and Andrew might simply end up as Andrew in a leather coat. Or, indeed, as Spike. Andrew wasn't entirely averse to that possibility, but conceded that it might be too confusing, and he abandoned the leather coat idea. Eventually he decided upon Bond, James Bond, and found himself a tuxedo and a shoulder-holstered replica Walther P5 as used by Bond in 'License To Kill'. He made a little label saying 'Dalton' and pinned it to his lapel to make it clear which incarnation of Bond he favored.
Jonathan already had everything he needed for a Darth Vader costume. He donned it prior to the spell but found that the helmet muffled his voice too much and he removed it for the actual casting. It was nerve-wracking enough doing it under Warren's skeptical gaze without an additional handicap.
"Persona se corpum et sanguium commutandum est. Vestra sancta praesentia concrescet viscera. Janus!" Jonathan paused just before the end of the spell to don his helmet and then spoke the final words. "Sume noctem!"
A wind blew through the Trio's den. The three young men shuddered as they felt the transformations taking effect.
Jonathan stared at the statue of Janus that had been the focus for the spell. He expected to experience his viewpoint suddenly changing as he grew to the mighty stature of Darth Vader, and was taken aback when nothing of the sort happened. "It didn't work!" he wailed, but then his gaze fell upon Warren.
Warren grinned happily, flexed his bulging muscles, and extended his shining claws. They weren't silver-painted plastic any longer; their sheen was unmistakably that of real solid metal. Yes, Warren was indeed Wolverine.
Jonathan turned his helmeted head and looked through the visor at Andrew. His jaw dropped.
"Holy shit!" Warren exclaimed. He had just glanced at Andrew too. "Dude, what the hell happened to you?"
"I don't know, Master Warren," Andrew simpered. "I don't think I'm James Bond after all."
"You can say that again," Jonathan gasped. "You're a vampire! Back, fiend! I command you by the power of the Schwartz!"
"The Schwartz?" Warren echoed. His eyebrows shot up, and then a grin spread across his face. "Dark Helmet! You're not Vader, you're Dark Helmet! So much for 'nothing can possibly go wrong'."
"I don't understand," Jonathan moaned. "I did everything right, I know I did. And it's worked for you. You're Wolverine, yeah. It's not fair!"
"Yeah, I am," Warren gloated. "Maybe nothing went wrong. Just, a really short guy in the black armor and cape and helmet isn't Darth Vader, he's Dark Helmet. You picked the wrong costume, dude. Still, it could have been worse. Just suppose you'd decided to be Chewbacca. You'd have ended up as that Barf dude. Or, worse, as Wicket the Ewok."
Jonathan winced. "But what about Andrew?"
"Yes, Master Warren, what about me? I am not James Bond!" Andrew wailed. He pawed at his face. "I have fangs! And spectacles." He removed the pair of half-moon spectacles that had mysteriously materialized on his nose and peered at them myopically. "These really are rather, uh, totally, uncool. And I need them, too. Things have gone all blurry." He replaced the glasses and stared at a computer monitor, on which the reflections of Wolverine Warren and Dark Helmet Jonathan could be clearly discerned. There was no trace of any such image of Andrew. "I am a Vampyre." His expression of dismay faded slightly. "Oh well, at least it means I have some super-powers."
"Any urge to eat us?" Warren enquired. He seemed entirely unperturbed by Andrew's undead status; no doubt the gleaming claws, ideally suited for decapitating a vampire, had a lot to do with his equanimity.
"Maybe a little," Andrew confessed, "but mainly I just want to read. Uh, preferably something by Sir Walter Scott. 'Kenilworth', I think."
"But that's just boring," Jonathan frowned. "If you'd said 'Ivanhoe' I could have maybe understood it. I mean, that has Rebecca in it, and she's a hot Druish princess – I mean, a hot Jewish mystic. And Robin Hood, and swordfights, and jousting."
"Or some Robert Louis Stevenson," Andrew mused. "Maybe 'Kidnapped'. I love the vibes between David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart."
"Way to go, Andrew, you're still a nerd," Warren said scornfully. "Only now you're a vampire nerd from, like, olden days." He turned a calculating gaze on Jonathan. "So, what can you do with the power of the Schwartz?"
"Well, I only got the down side of the Schwartz," Jonathan said self-deprecatingly. "Yogurt got the up side. I hate Yogurt. Even with strawberries. Still, I should be able to do something…" He raised his hands. From a ring on his finger a jet of green glowing plasma extended and formed into a light-saber-like shape. "Yup! The Schwartz is strong with me."
"And you have an exceedingly large helmet," Andrew said enviously. "I don't know anyone with a helmet that large."
Jonathan coughed. "Uh, should we go out and take over Sunnydale, steal all their air and send it back to Planet Spaceballs, maybe marry a princess, or something?"
"I want to drink the blood of a virgin," Andrew said. "Or maybe read something. I know! I'll read about drinking the blood of a virgin."
"Hey, guys, guys, I'm a superhero here," Warren announced. "I can't let you do anything evil. We should go out, save a bunch of hot chicks from monsters, and get some action as a reward. Are you with me, or," he extended his claws menacingly, "are you against me?"
Dark Helmet Jonathan and Vampire Andrew exchanged nervous glances and then spoke up in unison. "We're with you!"
- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -
In most years Halloween was the quietest night of the Sunnydale year as far as supernatural activities went. Self-respecting demons found the whole affair rather embarrassing. This year, however, there were quite a few vampires in town who were relatively newly created and whose sires had been slain before they had had time to teach their fledglings all the ins and outs of demon society. For once this was going to be a busy Halloween.
The Trio wandered the streets aimlessly for a while without incident. On any other night of the year they would have attracted a lot of attention, especially Andrew – who was completely unable to assume human features and was walking around in full vampire game face – but tonight they passed unnoticed.
Andrew stopped in his tracks. "I smell blood," he announced.
"Yeah, and I see an ambulance and paramedics," Warren said. "Let's check it out."
They approached the emergency vehicle and saw a girl being loaded onto a gurney by anxious paramedics. Vampire bites were plainly evident on her neck.
"Looks like Evil is out and about tonight, guys," Warren said. "Okay, I really should be fighting evil mutants, but vampires are pretty much the only game in town in Sunnydale, so let's go kick some vampire ass."
"Sure, but not mine, okay?" Andrew put in.
"As long as you don't bite anybody," Warren said.
"Hey, guys, I sense a disturbance in the Schwartz," Jonathan told them.
"As if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced?" Andrew asked.
"No, I sense a presence I've not felt since – well, since she kicked me last week," Jonathan replied. "It's the Slayer."
"The Slayer of the Vampyres? I'd better get out of here," Andrew said nervously.
"Chill, dude, I wouldn't let her do anything to you," Warren said. "We're finished here anyway. Hmm. Looks like some vampire stole that woman's car. Now, if you were a vampire – which you are, Andrew – and had a car, where would you go?"
"The Library of Congress," Andrew replied.
Warren rolled his eyes. "Whoever this vampire guy is that you've turned into, he didn't have a life. Unlife. Ideas, Jonathan?"
"I'd go cruising for chicks," Jonathan said at once. "Or, if I had a chick, I'd go park and make out."
"Yeah," Warren smiled. "I think you have something there. We'd better get back to the van and then hit the make-out spots. Where are they in this town, Dark Helmet?"
"Like I would know exactly how?"
- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -
"Get off me!" Dawn yelled, and scrambled out of the car.
Justin the vampire followed close behind her. "Wait, Dawn, wait!" he called.
"The girl said 'get off', dude," Warren said, as he and his friends emerged from the trees and entered the clearing. "I think you should do what she says."
"Oh, yeah?" Justin snarled. "Make me."
"Not a problem," Warren smiled. His claws extended, he leapt forward, and slashed. Justin didn't even have time to look surprised. "Well, that was pretty easy," Warren grinned, as the young vampire exploded into dust. "You okay, kid?"
Dawn stared at him with her mouth hanging open.
"You okay?" Warren repeated. "He was a vampire, kid. I saved you."
Dawn gulped in air and managed to speak. "Uh, I don't think he was going to kill me. Maybe. Uh, thanks. That, uh, was kinda cool."
Warren stared at her critically. "How old are you?"
"Fifteen," Dawn admitted.
"Damn it!" Warren swore. "Say, you wouldn't have an older sister, would you?"
"That's Dawn," Jonathan put in from behind Warren. "She's Buffy's sister."
Warren groaned. "Oh well, looks like doing good will have to be its own reward."
Dawn frowned, not catching Warren's meaning. "Thanks," she said again.
"Wow, Warren, that was super cool," Andrew complimented.
Dawn stared at the newcomer. "You're a vampire!"
"No, I'm really not," Andrew said. "I'm just a guy who got turned into a Vampyre."
"Well, duh," Dawn gave him an eye roll. "Kinda the definition of a vampire there."
"This is different," Andrew began.
"Guys," Jonathan interrupted him. "Leave it. We have a problem."
All around them car headlights were coming on, lighting up the clearing, and from the cars figures were emerging. Fanged figures.
"Back in the car and lock the doors, uh, Dawn," Warren commanded. "Okay, guys, this is it. A mighty battle of Good versus Evil, and we're the good guys."
"May the Schwartz be with us," Jonathan wished. The plasma blade extended from the Ring of the Schwartz.
Andrew drew out his Walther P5 and examined it. "It's still a replica," he moaned. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Use your vampire superpowers," Warren told him.
"I don't think this Vampyre has much in the way of superpowers," Andrew said nervously. Before the others could reply the wave of vampire attackers were on them.
Warren held his own with ease. He had Wolverine's speed, strength, and skill, and when a vampire got through with a punch or kick Wolverine's capacity to absorb damage meant that Warren shrugged the blow off almost at once. His claws were ideally suited for lopping off limbs or heads and he dusted half a dozen vampires.
Andrew's nervousness faded as he realized that the incoming vampires were bypassing him. Presumably they assumed that he would be on their side, or just had no interest in him because he wasn't a potential meal, and he was ignored until he grabbed a vampire who was heading for Jonathan. The two vampires grappled. Andrew had little skill but to his surprise he discovered that he was significantly stronger than the other vampire. He wrestled it to the ground, punched it in the face until it stopped moving, and then groped around for something to use as a stake.
Jonathan flailed wildly with the Schwartz light-saber. To his surprise and relief he was able to withstand the attacks. He dusted two vampires before one got past his blade. That vampire clawed at Dark Helmet's armor without making any impression. Eventually it growled in frustration and pulled off Jonathan's huge helmet.
"It's Jonathan!" Dawn exclaimed from within the locked car.
Jonathan didn't hear her. He lashed out with the green energy blade and chopped the vampire in half. It exploded into dust and the massive helmet plummeted down to land squarely on Jonathan's toes. "Oww!" he yelled. "Oww oww ouch!" He hopped and jumped around in pain. The blade of the light-saber retracted into the ring. Another vampire leapt to the attack, taking advantage of Jonathan's distraction, and aimed its fangs at his now unprotected throat. Jonathan's yelps of pain turned into a yelp of alarm.
Then a crossbow bolt thudded home into the vampire's back and it disintegrated in a cloud of dust.
Jonathan snatched up his helmet and replaced it on his head, and then turned to see who had saved him. He saw Giles approaching with a stake in his hand. Behind the Watcher were Buffy, also wielding a stake, and Spike, who was reloading a crossbow as he advanced. "Thanks," he called out, and then turned once more to face yet another oncoming vampire.
The rest of the battle was brief. The arrival of the Slayer, the master vampire, and the experienced Watcher tipped the balance decisively in favor of the forces of Good.
Buffy staked a vampire with casual ease and moved in on the next nearest target. Unfortunately the vampire she selected happened to be Andrew. "Wait!" he protested. "I'm not a real Vampyre."
Buffy took no notice of his protestations. She glided in and thrust with her stake. Her moves had the relaxed efficiency of someone who had performed the same task a thousand times before. Andrew had nothing like enough skill or speed to avoid the attack and would have been impaled and dusted if Warren hadn't leapt to intervene.
"No!" Warren yelled, panic in his voice. He shoulder-charged the Slayer and knocked her aside. In the process he received a long gouge from the stake, running from his shoulder to half-way across his back, and he cried out in pain and dropped to his knees.
Buffy put her hand to her mouth. "Sorry!" she gasped.
Andrew bent over Warren. "Warren? Are you okay? That was so cool, dude! You saved my life."
"I'm okay," Warren croaked out. "Hey, Slayer, don't be so hasty. Andrew's not a real vampire."
"Oh, shit," Buffy said. "Did I nearly kill a human?"
Spike shot the last of the fleeing vampires and turned to the group around Warren. His eyes widened as he saw Andrew. "Dalton?" he exclaimed. "It can't be!"
"You know this Vampyre?" Andrew asked, pointing at himself.
"This vampire?" Spike echoed, puzzled by the way Andrew was referring to himself. "You're the image of this minion I used to have. Dead, worse luck, 'cos he was a decent bloke, well vamp, apart from his Latin being crap." His eyes focused on the name-tag on Andrew's lapel. "You're even wearing his name."
"So that's how come Andrew turned into a vampire," Jonathan realized. "Hey, Spike, thanks for saving my life."
"No big deal," Spike said airily. "'S what heroes do, innit?"
"Sorry," Buffy told Warren again. "We'll get you to the hospital."
"It's okay," Warren said, and stood up. "I'll heal right up. I'm Wolverine. It's one of my superpowers."
Buffy frowned. "Wolverine? Hugh Jackman in the movie? How can you be a character from a movie? And, don't I know you from somewhere?"
"He's the bloke what made the Bot, Slayer," Spike reminded her. "Changed a bit since then, though. Claws are new for a bloody start. How come, mate?"
"I suspect magic of some sort," Giles put in. "I think perhaps some explanations are in order."
Warren gestured towards Jonathan. "You can do the explanations, Dark Helmet. I'm just gonna sit down and rest for a while. Anyone got something to drink?"
- 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 -
"Well, all in all, that wasn't too bad a night," Warren said. It was the next morning, and the spell had expired. All three of them were back to their normal selves. "You know, I got quite a kick out of helping people out."
"Me too," Jonathan said enthusiastically. "Warren – don't you think being superheroes might be more fun than being supervillains?"
Warren frowned, sucked in his lips, and then smiled. "You have a point, short stuff. And the Slayer's a pretty nice girl when you get to know her."
"I know," Jonathan agreed.
"I had a grudge against her on account of me breaking up with Katrina, but I guess it wasn't really Buffy's fault," Warren went on. "Yeah, maybe we've messed her around enough. So, superheroes? What do you think, Andrew?"
"Spike is so cool," Andrew said dreamily. "Oh, yeah. Superheroes. Yeah. I could go with that. I mean, there are a lot of superheroes who are reformed villains."
"It's a shame Buffy's sister isn't about four years older," Warren mused. "She's a pretty little thing, yeah, but too damn young. Still, if we do set up as superheroes we're bound to rescue some other pretty girls eventually, and some of them will be the right age, and will be appropriately grateful."
"You think?" Jonathan said. "Even to a short guy like me?"
"I'm sure of it," Warren said confidently. "Okay, we'll turn over a new leaf. We won't rule Sunnydale, we'll save it. No need to rob the museum after all. The invisibility ray wouldn't be any use. We want people to see us saving them, don't we? Otherwise, how could they be properly thankful?"
"I'm not sure heroes are supposed to think like that," Jonathan said doubtfully. "Being good is supposed to be its own reward."
Andrew stared at the ceiling, his eyes vacant. "Superheroes," he muttered. "With great power must come great responsibility."
"Yeah, well, that's why Spider-man is broke all the time," Warren pointed out. "I want the girls and the fame."
"Fortune and glory," Andrew said.
"Damn right," Warren agreed.
"Okay, okay," Jonathan said. "We'll be superheroes who hang around to be thanked afterwards. I can live with that."
"I'll put together some gadgets for killing vampires," Warren said. "Hey, the freeze ray would come in pretty handy. Freeze them solid and then stake them at leisure. Or just leave them to thaw out in the sun."
"You could make a spring-loaded version of the claws," Jonathan suggested.
Warren pursed his lips. "It might be a little clumsy and dangerous. Maybe wrist stakes would be safer. Less chance of cutting myself."
"I'll work on some suitable spells," said Jonathan. "I guess Andrew's demons can fight bad guys just as well as good guys."
"Sure they can," Andrew said. "I guess. Hey, it was a good Halloween, wasn't it, guys? Only, I didn't get to be anybody really cool. Jonathan, are you sure you can't do that spell again until next Halloween?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. Hey, I wasn't anybody really cool either. I mean, Dark Helmet? Next year I'm gonna be way more careful."
"You can think about it all year," Warren said. "I think I hit it just right with Wolverine. I guess it's just as well I didn't go with my other idea."
"Why? Who else did you think of, dude? Batman?"
"Nope." Warren shook his head and grinned evilly. "Godzilla."
Disclaimer: the characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox. 'Wolverine' is the property of Marvel Comics, a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment Inc., and movie rights to the character are owned by 20th Century Fox. 'Dark Helmet' appeared in 'Spaceballs', which was written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks.