From the Declassified Journals of Watcher Council Leader, Rupert Giles…
I am relatively certain that some puffed up ponce of a historian a couple of decades from now will ultimately come to the conclusion about the much "maligned" Ethan Rayne.
About how despite the man's faults; the benefits of his actions far outweigh the harm he did. How he was an unsung hero in the events that would revolutionize the world, bringing about a new bright age and saved and improved countless lives.
Ethan was no hero, unsung or otherwise. He was a selfish bastard and the consequences of his actions were the least of his concern. If his actions had a beneficial impact; it was purely by accident and certainly not by his design.
The Halloween Spell was merely a bit of whimsy on his part. Performed with no thought to the suffering, the deaths, and trauma he inflicted on his unsuspecting customers; many of whom were children. They were his victims. He changed them into monsters, demons, and all manner of creatures. Many forget that a number of innocent did not survive that horrific night.
Perhaps fortunately, most of those who survived and reverted back; did not retain full memories of their metamorphosis. I can only suspect trauma and perhaps a desperate desire to forget whatever pain and suffering that they had inflicted on others. I can only pray that they never did recover those memories.
Life itself can be harsh enough without having the memory of becoming a demon and murdering and eating your prey, ie. other human beings.
No, Ethan was no hero. His "heroism" was forced upon him by chance, by accidental design, … by … by Fate. Fate took a deliberate hand and Fate used him in such a cruel manner that even I cannot help but feel some measure of pity for Ethan. His crimes were many and far too numerous to list and Fate extracted a fearful price, punishment, and penance for Ethan for that.
No, Ethan was no hero and no saint … but Fate cares little of such things does he? Fate uses us all...
Chapter One: Costume Alterations
October 31st, 1997
Oooh! Buffy mentally squealed as she saw the PERFECT Halloween costume for her. She would be Lady Buffy of Sunnydale, she thought to herself dreamily. She pictured herself dressed in the elaborate dress with Angel at her side as noblewoman and prince as they danced the night away. She was reaching out to grab it when someone sneezed and she glanced sidewise instinctively.
She turned back just in time to see an overweight girl snatching HER outfit out from right in front of her. "Hey!" she yelped, "That was mine!"
The girl retorted, "I don't see your name on it."
"It was right in front of me!"
"And it's in my hand and not yours," she sneered as she turned (and in Buffy's opinion) waddled away.
Buffy grit her teeth and stalked angrily after her.
Willow looked up to see Buffy approaching them at a fast walk, almost sprinting with her eyes narrowed into slits of fury and her lips flattened in a tight line. Uh oh.
"What's wrong?" she demanded as she frantically began sorting through possible threats. Even it was indoors, most vampires wouldn't risk moving about during the day; it was the wrong time of the month for werewolves…
"She snagged my Princess costume!" Buffy snarled, directing a gimlet eye at a chubby girl approaching the check out counter.
Willow sweat dropped as if she could literally see Buffy mentally determining the most effective manner to take the unaware girl down. As painfully and as messily possible.
"Down girl!" Xander said grinning.
"Xander is right Buffy," Willow said soothingly, before Buffy could go all Slayer on the girl. "You can find something else."
Buffy growled as she turned away and began flipping savagely through the racks of costumes. Well, she thought to herself, the overweight cow needed something extra large to cover herself.
"Hey if you're interested in a Princess outfit, then how 'bout this? Xena! Warrior Princess!" Xander presented the costume up for appraisal.
Buffy pursed her lips thoughtfully. "Hmmm. Leather…"
"Ick," Willow said shaking her head. She glanced over and saw another rack of costumes that they hadn't looked at yet. She picked up a set that she recognized as belonging to the My-HiME anime series although she didn't recall the name off hand. She blinked as she began looking through the costumes. Hmm. This rack seemed to be all anime characters.
She held up a costume that belonged to Jo, the main protagonist of Burst Angel and thought with some amusement that Buffy might actually wear this stuff regularly and not just for Halloween. It consisted of a tight leather top that left the arms bare and ended just above the stomach and a pair of shorts that hung low on the hips and barely covered anything.
Ah. The signature orange top and full body black leotard identified this one as being Yoruichi Shihonin from Bleach.
"Hey Wills, whatcha looking at?" Buffy asked in Willow's ear. Startled, the red headed computer geek jerked and banged into the rack of costumes, causing several to fall to the ground. Buffy looked sheepish, "Oops. Sorry, didn't mean to frighten you." Willow waved her off, struggling to hide her embarrassment. "It's OK."
Xander and Buffy began picking up the fallen costumes and began replacing them on the racks. Buffy eyed one that had some sort of weird symbol on the back of a green jacket. "What's this one?"
"Oooh! I remember this costume!" Willow blurted out excitedly. "That's Princess Tsunade!"
"Princess?" Buffy inquired, cocking her head thoughtfully.
"She's like one of the strongest ninjas ever! She was this character in this anime series called Naruto.
"Tsunade is the granddaughter of the first Hokage who founded Konoha. When she became a ninja herself, she was one of the Three Legendary Ninjas alongside her teammates that no one could defeat them. Not only was she one of the greatest medical ninjas, she was so strong, she could cleave the earth with a single finger!" Willow recited eagerly.
"Interesting…" Buffy admitted.
Xander held up a blue fright wig of hair that stuck straight up as though someone had stuck their finger in an electric socket along with a set of robes, "Hey, isn't this from that series you made me watch a couple of weeks ago? Tendo something?"
"That's Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!" Willow corrected.
"Oh yeah. She was a cosmically powerful space pirate right?" Xander inquired, having fallen asleep about mid-way through the series and had a rather disturbing dream of himself in the starring role of the teenage Jedi-wannabe and being caught between Buffy as Ryoko and Cordy as the Alien Princess while Willow had merely shaken her head in amusement as she fiddled with her holo-computer. He winced as he remembered how the dream ended with both girls saying "Whoops," as one of his arms was torn off during their little tug of war.
"Looking for something in particular, gentleman? Ladies?" an unfamiliar voice in a rather familiar accent inquired.
They all turned to see an older man with dark hair looking at them expectantly. Willow recognized him as the man who had been standing behind the check out counter.
Xander shrugged dismissively, already planning to pick up a plastic gun to complete his El Cheapo Soldier Costume. "Ah, just looking."
"Hmm. Well, let me know if you find anything. I'm Ethan. Ethan Rayne. I own this establishment."
"Wow, that's like," Xander smirked and lowered his voice dramatically, "Bond. James Bond."
Ethan gave a wan smile that indicated he had heard that joke before as he glanced at the rack behind them, "You know," he said, his eyes gleaming, "if you're interested in the anime costumes, I'll give you a good deal on them."
"Yes. Those outfits haven't been moving too well so you'd be doing me a favor … how about 50% off if they're from the anime section?" Ethan eyed all of them speculatively, "If all three of you get one, I'll knock it down to 75%."
Xander straightened. "Seriously? Cool! I'm in! You two have to get one!" he blurted out excitedly to Buffy and Willow as he began rummaging through the racks. "This is going to be the best Halloween ever!"
Ethan smirked. "Oh, I guarantee it."
A/N: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions. This takes place in the infamous 2nd Season, 6th Episode "Halloween".
Xena comes from the popular television series Xena, Warrior Princess and was created by John Schulian and Robert Tapert. Xena was portrayed by the awesome Lucy Lawless and was a spin-off series from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
My-HIME is an anime series created by Hiroyuki Yoshino, Burst Angel is by Fumihiko Shimo, Bleach was created and written by Tite Kubo, the famous Naruto series is by Masashi Kishimoto, and the Tenchi Muyo! series is the brainchild of Masaski Kajishima and Hiroki Hayashi respectively.
I never watched the BtVS series when it was playing, mainly 'cause I had a work schedule that interfered with it and I had seen the original movie starring Kristy Swanson and wasn't that impressed. I have however become a bit of a fan of some fanfictions out there such as "Xander Harris: The Iron Tau'ri" by Gunsmith3000 which remains my most favorite Halloween stories.
However, I have remained an anime fan and have always felt it odd that in many of these Halloween stories that only Xander gets a power upgrade while the others don't. So I decided to see if Buffy and Willow couldn't get one as well. I originally wrote an early draft of this chapter as an episode on Anime Addventures which is why I included so many different possibilities from those different anime series as potential divergent points for the story. Sadly, no one seems to have picked up on it so I am taking up my own gauntlet as it were and continuing it.