A/N: Not very original, but thought a nice short would be fun. Set after 'Careful What You Wish For,' Fourth Doctor theme. Reasonably sure it won't be continued.

Oh, yeah, and I tried my best to keep the tone/slang American. If it doesn't sound right, tell me and I will correct it!

Disclaimer: Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Moffat, BBC, et al. Additionally, whomever first came up with this idea, wherever/whenever you may be.


Authenticity


Xander liked to be authentic.

Or, barring that, at least kind of clever sometimes.

"Were you going for Ironic Guy, or were you just feeling lazy?" Buffy asked, gesturing to screwdriver in Xander's hands, which he'd authentically and cleverly labelled 'SONIC' in sharpie.

Xander rolled his eyes. "You haven't even seen the show. It might look like that."

Buffy smirked. "Pretty sure ratings would have tanked twenty years earlier if it did."

"The sonic's not an advanced tool at this point, Buff. Fourth Doctor, come on, keep up? Right now it's not some fix-all deus ex machina; it sorta just comes in handy if his cleverness fails," Xander argued, then wondered why. It didn't exactly make him sound less like Total Nerd Guy. His face flushed. "Um anyway," he muttered, unable to shut up, "people watched for the characters, not the tech. The cybermen were made of cardboard. No one complained."

"Right," said Buffy. She looked like she was trying hard not to laugh. "Look, no one's judging. We're here to support you through anything. Cardboard villains and not-so-super tools and all. God knows we've been through worse together."

The unnatural shriek of laughter and tiny, stomping feet - happy children - filled the halls of Sunnydale High. Great. Tonight's torture was here.

"Like that," Xander replied.

"Like that," Buffy confirmed. "Guess this is our cue. Oh and Xander - try not to trip on your scarf."

"I'll have you know I am extremely suave when you're not looking!" Xander called after her as she walked away. "And really smart, too."

He looked resignedly at a small child in front of him. She appeared to be dressed as a misshapen pepper pot, with a wilting and kind of phallic unicorn horn coming out of her head and held in place with elastic string. Something about it seemed vaguely familiar but the proportions were so lopsided and off that Xander couldn't place it.

Maybe the kid found condiments terrifying. Who knew with kids these days. Just as likely her parent-or-guardian let her play with papier mache unsupervised.

Xander sighed, settling in for a long night, and pasted a disarming smile on his face. He extended the small white paper bag in his left hand.

"Hello, there," he said charmingly. "I'm the Doctor. Would you care for a jelly baby?"

The child stared up at him innocently. "No thank you," she replied. "I've never liked them - they leave a gritty taste in my mouth. And anything that does that - well, really, I think they should all just be exterminated."

Xander stared at the lopsided-pepper-pot-girl-with-a-unicorn-horn and frowned. Then he glanced at his own woeful screwdriver and inaccurate scarf and found his heart lightening. Well, he thought amiably, if he had to be pestered by a Dalek all night, he could at least take pleasure in the fact the kid's costume was more embarrassing than his.

He told the voice in his head reminding him the kid was seven and Xander was 17 to kindly shut up, please, he had children to control and candy to consume.

But not necessarily in that order.

He had to keep his priorities straight, after all, because that's what the Doctor would do. And really, Xander did want it all to be authentic.