The Princess and the Mercenary

Summary: When two strangers wear costumes of the most romantic couple in history, things change for those on the Hellmouth.

Timeline: Season 2 'Halloween' episode for BtVS. Pre-series for Leverage. Slight canon change to make Buffy's birthday October 31st.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Leverage characters belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, and TNT. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission. Dialogue copied or paraphrased from The movie 'The Princess Bride' – owned by MGM and 20th Century Fox.

A/N: Sorry to put this out without having it beta'd. It was a last minute idea and I wanted to post in on Halloween.



"I don't know, Willow. I was really hoping to dress as the 18th century noblewoman," Buffy commented to her best friend, staring at the dress in question longingly. Angel would go absolutely non-verbal seeing her in that.

Willow refused to back down, though. "But Princess Buttercup was such a romantic figure, remember? Being with her one, true love against all odds?" she prompted, knowing that Buffy's weak spot was the sappy romance stuff.

"Yeah, that was pretty great." Buffy smiled dreamily at the memory of Buttercup and her Westley. "Okay, you talked me into it. On the condition that you go as something other than a ghost. In fact, I have the perfect costume at home for you; I wore it a couple years ago."

"It's a deal," Willow agreed, hoping that it wouldn't be anything too revealing. "Besides, what better way for you to celebrate your 17th birthday than to be a princess?"

They moved away from the costumes to pay for Buffy's, then left the store. Xander came from behind the display he was listening from. He briefly looked at the costumes for the other characters from the movie Buffy picked. As soon as his eyes caught one, he grinned in triumph. It would take all of his money, but it would be worth it.

"After all, a girl can't be a princess without her prince, can she?" he thought out loud, taking the Prince Humperdinck costume up to the register. Ethan decided that if the boy didn't know the movie, it wasn't his place to say anything.


Later that day…

Eliot stomped into the costume shop, muttering to himself, "Can't believe that my first job is on Halloween, and the guy who hired me wants me to wear a stinking costume!" The Mayor of Sunnydale needed him to retrieve something from the librarian of the high school, but because of the trick-or-treaters running around the school, Eliot needed a costume to blend in.

"Can I help you?" Ethan inquired politely, looking at the young man in his early twenties.

"I just need a costume; preferably nothing lame," Eliot answered, glaring at the offensive costumes around the shop.

Ethan smirked. This could be an interesting twist for his spell. "Well, I have this one that is part of a matching pair. The young lady who purchased the companion outfit didn't need this one, and since it's a couple, there isn't as much interest in just the one."

Not really interesting in the history of the character, Eliot blew off the explanation, "Yeah, whatever. As long I don't look like an idiot."

"Westley was a master swordsman and a pirate," Ethan remarked, hoping to entice the young man.

Eliot definitely liked the idea of being an expert with a weapon. And what little boy didn't dream of being a pirate when he grew up? "Actually, that sounds pretty good," he allowed.

"Good. Will that be cash or credit?" Ethan asked, moving towards the counter.


That evening…

"Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind."

Westley and Buttercup were in the midst of that kiss which put all others to shame when the spell finally was reversed. It took Willow clearing her throat several times…loudly, to make the couple break apart. Even then, they didn't move far, despite the other people in the room – including two unhappy brunette males and one jealous brunette female.

Buffy stared at the man standing before her. 'Wow! He was gorgeous! Who is he?'

Eliot was having similar thoughts. 'Who is this stunning girl? Will she let me kiss her again?'

The blonde Slayer blushed under the intensity of his stare. "Umm, I guess I should introduce myself. My name's Buffy Summers."

"Eliot Spencer. It's a pleasure to met you, Buffy Summers," he answered with his charming southern drawl and kissing her hand. All the girls gave an involuntary sigh.

Buffy felt herself melting with that accent. She just wanted to plaster herself back on his oh-so-talented lips. "So what brings you to Sunnydale?" she asked to keep from doing just that.

"A job," Eliot replied, memorizing every inch of her face. She looked a couple years younger than he was. Hopefully not too much, though. He didn't want to get mixed up with jailbait. "But I don't think it's all that important anymore."

Angel muttered disgustedly, "Oh please! That's such an obvious come on."

"As opposed to giving her cryptic messages, then disappearing?" Xander hissed back. He wasn't particularly excited about this new guy, but anything that bugged Deadboy couldn't be all bad. Xander was still shuddering at the idea that his character had planned to kill Buffy's. What the hell kind of movie was 'The Princess Bride'?

Still unaware of the other people surrounding them, she kept smiling brightly at him. "Was your talent with the sword real or the result of the spell?" Buffy inquired, impressed with his abilities.

Eliot wished that he could claim credit for the skill, but he hadn't studied much fencing…yet. "Mostly the spell," he admitted. Then his forehead wrinkled in confusion. "Speaking of which, what the hell happened?"

"I think Giles will have to explain it – if you're really interested," Buffy answered, biting her lip and looking very enticing in doing so. She wasn't sure if he understood the underlying meaning of her words.

When he leaned in next to her ear so he could whisper in a husky voice, "Looking forward to it," she whimpered in desire.

But she still needed to check, "You'll be sticking around Sunnydale then?"

"If there's something to stay for?" Eliot prompted with a raise of his eyebrow.

The look she gave him made all three men gulp. "I could probably think of one or two things," she teased, walking out of the room with an enticing sway of her hips. "Shall we go?"

Eliot took off like a shot behind her, calling out, "As you wish!"


A/N: Way too short of a fic, but the bunny was demanding to be taken care of today.

A/N2: Whoa! That ended up a touch steamier than I expected. Good thing there were other people there or I might have had to bump up the rating. FYI, Eliot was 20 at this time, so not much age difference.