Rupert Giles was at the end of his patience and about to lose his temper. This was shown by irately brandishing today's morning edition of the Sunnydale newspaper with its extra-large headlines towards the smirking young man across the library table from him. Further evidence of this touchiness displayed itself by Giles' testy delivery of several questions, "Xander, just why do you think your Halloween possession is still part of yourself, given that Buffy and Willow report their own changes are gone? And also how is this in any way connected to the incredible fact that last night, every single vampire, bellicose demon, and other dangerous creature of the dark within the Hellmouth's range spontaneously combusted at what seems to be the exact same minute?"

Taking a deep breath to continue his rant, Giles added while also glancing once more in utter disbelief at the front page of the newspaper, "Including the town's mayor, who somehow managed to conceal from ourselves his century-long magical rule over this city?"

A completely unabashed Xander responded in his most cheerful tone, "Hey, G-man, it's like this. See, I was in the costume shop your friend-"

"Former friend!" angrily snapped Giles.

"Okay, okay," shrugged Xander, beginning all over again. "Anyway, when I was in the place and started looking for my outfit, I checked my pocket for the cash I was carrying, and found nothing inside but a hole in my pants. The money was gone, and all I had was some change in my other pocket. There wasn't anything for me to do but check the rejects bin for the cheapest thing I could grab, and hope for the best. Well, your, uh, ex-pal gave me the snottiest look possible - do all guys from your home have this talent? - but he rang up the sale, sneering all the while, and I left then."

Frowning, Giles remarked, "Weren't you going to pass yourself off as a soldier? Precisely whom did you dress up as last night?"

Looking a bit embarrassed, Xander reached into his back pocket, and he pulled out a crumpled, cheap plastic half-mask. Holding this in front of his face, the teenager peered through the round eyeholes of the mask at where Giles was slightly flinching in his chair from the horrible effect of a young man now wearing a white-feathered face and an attached oversized bird's beak, with this avian upper mouth part being a ghastly bright orange color.

Xander stated, "Do you need to guess who I started off as?"

Shuddering, Giles shook his head, replying with, "Not at all. I'm quite familiar with the character, thank you very much. The Disney cartoons did manage to reach my native shores, believe it or not."

A very evil smile shaped itself under the mask which Xander continued to hold in front of himself, while he corrected the British librarian, "Yeah, but when I was still in Ethan's costume shop and walking out, I scratched the name of some other Carl Barks creation on the mask with my thumbnail. Just for the sheer hell of it, 'cause I sure didn't know what'd happen soon after. I think since I was still in the shop when I did this, the Chaos magic didn't actually change me into him that Halloween, but I definitely got his incredible knack for getting out of jams. Which sure kept me alive, when Spike grabbed me later on that night, and the only thing I could do then was to hope he'd get hit by lightning, or something just as weird to save my ass. Like, say…mysteriously bursting into flames."

Taking the mask away to guffaw at Giles' astonished face, Xander amiably suggested, "Look, it'll be easier to just show you, okay? Now, here's what you need to do-"

A couple of minutes later, the Englishman was dubiously regarding the penny he was holding in his fingers, to then switch his bemused gaze at where all the dollar bills from his wallet were laid out on the library table. Raising his eyes to where Xander had turned his chair around, Giles heard from his companion with this young man's back to the other, "Ready? This is the way it'll work: you flip the coin, and I'll call it in midair. If I'm right, I win a dollar. If it's wrong, I'll owe you double. Okay, start tossing."

Giving a baffled shrug, Giles obeyed the younger male's instructions, with Xander not even bothering to look, but instead casually saying, "Heads." Blinking at where the penny with Abraham Lincoln's face shown was resting in his palm, Giles did it again. And again. And again…

After Xander won for the tenth time in a row, Giles disbelievingly burst out, "Are you saying, your mask gave you a predisposition for incredibly good fortune against extraordinary odds?"

Turning to sit with his legs spread apart around the back of the library chair, Xander placidly nodded, before mentioning, "Oh, yeah. What's more, it's still going on. There's no other way to explain a few minutes ago, when I was in the hallway on my way here, and I saw Larry - you know, the football player who roughed me up yesterday? - and I walked right up to him. When I suggested to Mr. Muscles that if he ever let scientists check him out, it'd be proved for once and all the link between humans and apes, Larry took a swing at me. Somehow, despite being right in my face, he missed, and instead clobbered Principal Snyder just when chrome-dome was walking by. After I picked up our dearly beloved school administrator off the floor he was bleeding onto, he actually thanked me for that, just before starting Larry's expulsion. Who in turn, after lunging at me for getting him in trouble and kicked out of school, managed to trip over his own feet and ram his head directly into a locker. The last I saw of ol' Larry, he was out cold and being carried off in a stretcher."

After a few moments of incredulous silence in the library, Giles managed to say in a faint voice, "That's still not adequate proof you've succeeded in retaining anything brought about by Ethan's Chaos magic, Xander. I think you should be more cautious-"

"Why don't you ask Buffy about that, Giles, before you make up your mind?" sniggered Xander, enjoying his interrupting the older man, who just blankly eyed the laughing youth. It took a few more moments for Xander to restrain his mirth, before briskly explaining, "See, for some reason, our Buffster has completely broken up with Deadboy. It seems this morning, when she went to check on her vamp crush at his crypt to tell him she still loved her little Angel-Wangel, right in the middle of this, Sir Broods-A-Lot developed the worse case of alopecia in medical history. Well, there wasn't any way Buffy was gonna stick around and possibly catch such a terrifying disease that'd also make her completely bald, so she ran off, shouting over her shoulder that they were through, and if he ever came near her again, she'd stake him at long range."

A dazed Rupert Giles then saw Xander Harris proudly regarding the Halloween mask he was still holding, and then give it a loving kiss. After this, the teenager confided to the numb adult, "I'm telling ya, G-man, even without all the misfortune he brings to his enemies, Gladstone Gander is one lucky duck!"

Author's Note: A relative of Donald Duck, Gladstone Gander was one of the creations of comic book master Carl Barks (known as 'The Good Artist'), who gave this duck amazing luck which defied probabilities. Capable of walking unharmed through a raging hurricane save for a treasure map leading to untold riches being blown into his face, this avian's attributes now shared by Xander Harris is certainly going to help the Scooby Gang safeguard Sunnydale during the future. Not to mention making a former donut boy wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, gaining one hell of a love life, and otherwise having an absolutely wonderful time.

Disclaimer: The title of this story was taken from the song 'Lucky Lips', as created by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and originally recorded by Ruth Brown in 1957, with its most memorable performance done by Cliff Richard and The Shadows in 1963. All lyrics and rights for this song belong to their proper owners.

When I was just a little baby
I didn't have many toys
But my mama used to say son
You got more than other boys

Now you may not be good looking
And you may not be too rich
But you'll never ever be alone
'Cause you've got lucky lips

Lucky lips are always kissing
Lucky lips are never blue
Lucky lips will always find
A pair of lips so true

Don't need a four-leaf clover
Rabbit's foot or a good luck charm
With lucky lips you'll always have
A baby in your arms.

I never get heartbroken
No, I'll never get the blues
And if I play that game of love
I know I just can't lose

When they spin that wheel of fortune
All I do is kiss my chips
And I know I'm bound to win, yeah
'Cause I've got lucky lips.

Lucky lips are always kissing
Lucky lips are never blue.
Lucky lips will always find
A pair of lips so true.

Don't need a four-leaf clover
Rabbit's foot or good luck charm
With lucky lips I'll always have
A baby in your arms.