Angel, Angela

Summary: This time, it was Angel's turn to wear something to impress Buffy. Too bad it didn't turn out the way he expected. WARNING: mild Xander/Angel-ness.

Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.

Timeline: season 2 'Halloween'.

Challenge: Challenge: #6210 'The Great Gender Bender Halloween' by BarbarossaRotbart.

A/N: To avoid any real person issues, I've left Angel's character as a generic description.

A/N2: This is to celebrate another couple milestones crossed in college. Plus I'm hoping this story will put me over the 1 million hits mark on TtH.

Thanks to my betas: zigpal, AshDawnSoulmates, and AerynSpeedleCaine.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission. Song from Barry Manilow's album 'Showstoppers'; not entirely sure who wrote it.

Ethan's store

Angel stared at the storefront of the costume shop, trying to decide whether to go in or not. Normally, he'd avoid anything to do with Halloween, but recent conversations with Buffy had him thinking maybe he should make an effort. The past few times he talked to her, she kept talking about Xander; things he said, movies they went to together, the fact they were spending most of Halloween night with each other.

Okay, so those conversations actually were about things Willow and Xander said, movies the three of them saw, and the forced volunteering they had to do for a couple hours early Halloween night. But the important thing – at least in Angel's mind – was that Xander was more involved in Buffy's life.

Remembering the movie Buffy chattered on about, Angel made his decision. Apparently her favorite actor – Angel couldn't recall the guy's name…James something – was this heroic military guy. What was the character's name again? Looking through the soldier costumes, he checked the tags, hoping for a clue. One looked very familiar to him: 'Crazy' Hal Crovia. Yeah, there's no way he could forget a name like that.

He checked the size; it'd be kind of small on him, but hopefully not too much. Ignoring the odd look from the storeowner when he said he wanted to purchase it, Angel grabbed the garment bag, humming the tune 'Real Live Girl' softly as he left the store.

Because Angel was too caught up in imagining dancing with Buffy, he missed Ethan Rayne's choked laughter at hearing the tune coming from the male vampire. Yes, Ethan knew who and what Angel was. He also recognized the song the vampire was humming. The prospect of changing the Slayer's pet ensouled vampire with one of his costumes made the chaos mage giddy with glee. His god would be so pleased with that particular costume and the lasting effects from it.

November 1st

When he woke up the next morning, Angel had two startling surprises. The first was walking up in direct sunlight and not bursting into flames. The second came when he yelled at the realization of the first one. It wasn't his voice that he heard.

Looking around for anyone else in the room, he found he was alone. "What the hell?" he demanded of no one…but instead of his normal baritone, it came out in soprano. And not the kind of falsetto soprano that comes from getting kicked in the groin; the kind that sounds natural…to a woman!

Even though he dreaded it, Angel looked down at his body and saw some pretty serious changes in it. Two of which were practically coming out of the top of his wife-beater undershirt. Deep in the recesses of his mind, he was glad nobody was there to witness his whimpering as he futilely searched his lower half for something that was no longer there.

Oh god, what happened the night before?

He remembered dressing as that soldier from the movie Buffy was all gaga over. The costume was small on him, but only by a couple inches. Fortunately, military clothing had a bit of leeway built into it. After that, he went out to find Buffy to surprise her. Then there was the feeling of a wave washing over his skin, prickling it. As he thought about it, Angel placed the feeling as that of magick being cast on him.

That led to a bigger question. He understood why he was given his soul back by the gypsies, but why the hell was he changed into a woman? What exactly had he done to deserve this?

There was only one thing to do.

As much as he hated the idea of anyone seeing him like this, he needed help. Unfortunately, the best people to help him were Giles and Buffy. The only plus he could see was that he didn't need to wait until nightfall to talk to them. Because he was a human female – something he realized when he caught himself breathing – he could go out in the daytime.

The Bronze
That evening…

Despite his best efforts to find either one of them, Angel still hadn't located Buffy or Giles. His last hope was going to the Bronze and seeing if Willow knew where Buffy was.

Although he'd deny it if anyone asked, Angel actually enjoyed his day as a woman. Most of that was because he got to enjoy being human again, but the teensiest, tiniest part of him enjoyed the attention he got from men and even some women. While he normally thought of himself as being on the heterosexual end of the spectrum, there were times when he dabbled in the man/man love – both as Liam and after he was turned.

Without stopping to think about why he was doing it, he dressed in a pair of tight jeans, boots and a spaghetti strap top that he purchased earlier in the day. Then he grabbed a couple stakes, hid them in his leather jacket and headed out.

He barely got in the door of the club before he ran into Xander…literally. Angel bit back his annoyance that his rival for Buffy's affections would see him like this, and opened up his mouth to ask where she was.

Xander beat him to the punch, though, when he started babbling, "Sorry. Oh my gosh you're like supermodel beautiful. Can I buy you a drink, a car, a- whatever you like?"

For a second, Angel almost told Xander the truth about who he was. Then he got an idea; if he could get Xander to talk about Buffy, the boy might give Angel some idea of how she felt about both of them. The chance was too good to pass up. S/he smiled in a way that was hopefully coy, and answered, "How about we just try dancing? We could talk, get to know each other better before you buy me anything."

The expression on Xander's face was priceless. Usually whenever he asked a gorgeous girl to dance or anything, she'd either slap his face or laugh in it. The best he ever got were the nice rejections like Buffy gave him time after time. Instead of questioning his good luck like he maybe should have, he just grinned and held out his arm in an attempt at chivalry.

While they made their way to the dance floor, Xander said, "Oh, I'm Xander, by the way."

Thinking quickly, Angel replied, "Hello, Xander…I'm Angela."

A short while later…

After a couple dances, Angel broached the subject of Buffy in an off-handed way, "So, are you here with any friends?"

"Nope. Willow said she'd come by a little later, but her folks are in town, so she's having dinner with them." Xander paused for a moment, then added, "Buffy's in LA."

"Both your friends are girls? Should I be concerned?" Angel asked in mock worry.

"No!" Xander exclaimed. "Willow's like a sister to me."

When he didn't continue, Angel prompted, "And Buffy?"

"I think I'm like a brother to her…or maybe a sister, I'm not sure which. All I know is that she isn't interested in me," Xander said bitterly.

Silently gleeful at how certain Xander was about Buffy's feelings for him, Angel had to double-check, "You sound pretty sure of that. Have you asked her?"

"Well, I've asked her out before, but she says the chemistry just isn't there for her." Forgetting the rule about complaining about another girl with the girl you were with, Xander grumbled, "Even last night – when I dressed up like her latest favorite movie guy, Major John Harmon, she barely noticed I was there. Maybe I should have dressed as Deadboy," he muttered under his breath, then almost kicked himself for the nickname slip up.

"Major John Harmon?" Angel uttered in disbelief; that wasn't the name he remembered Buffy talking about – although it sounded vaguely familiar too. His surprise over that caused him to miss the 'Deadboy' comment.

Xander kept explaining, grateful Angela didn't say anything about the last thing he said, "Yeah. There was this movie that came out a couple weeks ago, and the male lead was Major Harmon. The female lead was this woman who needed to hide from a crazy father who beat her, so she dressed up like a soldier. Even picked out this funny name: 'Crazy' Hal Crovia. She falls in love with the Major, but can't tell him 'cause she's supposed to be a guy."

Angel interjected, not wanting to hear anymore about the character he accidently chose to dress up as, "And Buffy wasn't impressed with your costume?"

"Not in the least," Xander said with a shake of his head. He shrugged, then continued, "Although, to be fair, she did get a call from a hospital in LA telling her that her mom was in an accident, so her mind was kind of preoccupied. At least Angel didn't get to see her in that costume she picked out for him," he added with his own bit of glee.

Intrigued by the idea that Buffy picked a costume for him, Angel inquired, "Oh really? What did she dress as?"

"Well, she was going to dress as this noblewoman from a long time ago, but when she found out she needed to go to LA, she changed back into her regular clothes and called Giles for a ride." Suddenly Xander realized that Angela was asking a lot of questions about his friend. "Why are you so interested in Buffy?"

"Just curious. You can tell a lot about a person by the people they hang out with," Angel replied reasonably. Then he vowed to be more careful in his questioning.

They kept dancing and talking until they became thirsty and went to get something to drink. Angel let Xander buy him a Coke, and thought about the evening while he waited for him to get back to the couch where they were sitting. He hoped that Buffy's mother was alright. Xander said it didn't sound very serious, but he didn't know the details about what happened. Angel couldn't press the issue without sounding overly interested in Buffy again.

The biggest surprise for him was Xander's dancing ability. Despite being kind of a spazzy dancer when it came to fast songs, the teenager was actually pretty good at slow songs. Once or twice Angel found himself enjoying being in Xander's arms – another thing he'd deny if anyone ever asked.

And when the snarky comments weren't directed at him, Angel found Xander's wit rather amusing. Oh dear god! Was he actually becoming attracted to the boy? As a male and a vampire, Xander was barely interesting as a meal, but as a human female, Angel wasn't sure. He really needed Giles' help to get back to normal before he did anything he'd regret later.

Still, when Xander came back with his drink, 'Angela' smiled gratefully at him and said thanks.

Given his own mixed thoughts about the situation, it didn't surprise Angel when Xander decided to risk rejection by leaning over to kiss the beautiful girl sitting with him. When 'Angela' didn't protest right away, Xander deepened the kiss some more.

His bliss was interrupted by Buffy's voice asking curiously, "Who ya kissing, Xander? Why does she have a tattoo like Angel's? And it's even in the exact same spot as his."

Xander looked up at the blonde, wanting to tell her to leave so he could continue with what he was doing, but then he caught the guilty expression on his smoochies partner's face.

"Hey, Buffy. Something happened last night, and now I'm a human girl," Angel said, looking rather sheepish at being caught kissing Xander. He had no idea how he'd explain that to her.

A/N: I thought it would be funnier to leave it there.