Kind of a Watcher

Summary: **Part of the '2012 Halloween Fics' series** Relationships are strengthened and new alliances formed when Halloween changes the Scoobies.

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

Timeline: season 2 BtVS 'Halloween'.

A/N: This has been on my computer for a couple years; decided to post it now. Instead of only the people from Ethan's store being changed, all the people in Sunnydale turned into their costumes.

Thanks to my betas: zigpal, AerynSpeedleCaine and AshDawnSoulmates.

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.

Sunnydale High School

"So we don't end up with a bunch of ridiculous costumes, this year the chaperones will dress as a real person you admire – and have personally met. When you sign up, list the person you are going as so there are no duplicates," Principal Snyder sneered as he instructed his 'volunteers'.

As they escaped the nasty little troll – who unfortunately wasn't a demon the Slayer could get rid of – Xander grumped at his buddy and hero, "Okay, Buff, what's the deal with stealing my first choice of costumes? Don't tell me that you've developed a secret tweed fetish."

Buffy just shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant about her choice even though she was anything but. "I was just reminded the other day of everything Giles has given up for me. And even though his taste in clothes needs help, he's pretty cool – for an adult." Needing to change the subject before she got too emotional, she asked, "Who did you guys decide on?"

"Since I didn't want to be a crossdresser like you," Xander teased, "I couldn't go as you or Willow. The only person I could think of was Mayor Wilkins."

"The terminally cheery guy? He kind of creeps me out," Buffy replied with a shudder. She'd almost prefer Snyder's nastiness to the Mayor's perkiness; that was just wrong on sooo many levels.

Since he agreed with her, Xander just nodded, "Me too, but between him, my dad or Principal Snyder, he was the lesser of three evils."

Willow shot him a look. "What about your Uncle Rory?" she reminded her childhood friend and crush.

"Shoot! I wonder if I can switch choices?" he asked, looking back at the troll as if seriously considering it. The expression on the Principal had him sucking up his original choice instead.

Buffy felt a little bad about taking Giles from Xander now, but then again, he was her Watcher; she should get first dibs. If it weren't for her, Giles wouldn't even be in Sunnydale. "What about you, Willow? Going as Miss Calendar?" she asked the redheaded girl between her and Xander.

Willow actually blushed. She wouldn't go as Xander, would she? "No. I hope you don't mind, but I picked you," she told the gobsmacked Slayer, who stopped dead in her tracks at the announcement.

When Buffy found her voice again, she had to wonder, "I'm flattered, but wouldn't Miss Calendar be a better choice? I mean, other than the Slayer thing, why would you admire me? And I didn't mean that to sound like I was fishing for a compliment. Unless you want to give me one, then compliment away," she teased.

Glancing semi-shyly at her best friend, Willow was adamant about her choice. "You wanted to be friends with me when you could have been part of Cordelia's circle. I would have picked you even if you weren't the Slayer."

Dramatically wiping away a fake tear – to hide the fact that his eyes were actually getting moist – Xander declared, "Awww, talk about a group hug moment! I insist that you make me the center of it."

Halloween Night, after the spell ended…

"I didn't realize how hard it was to be the Slayer," Willow complained to her 'Watcher' of the last couple hours. "You make it look so easy."

"I've had a little practice," Buffy reminded her 'Slayer'. "Besides, you managed to kill Spike, aka William the Bloody, your first night out. Not too shabby for a rookie Slayer," she declared proudly.

Willow wasn't willing to take all the credit for that kill. "Well, yeah, because you helped me!"

In a more subdued tone, Buffy agreed, "Yeah, Giles is pretty great, huh? Guess it sort of makes up for the fact that it was his old buddy who changed everyone."

That reminded the redhead of something she had been wondering about since the spell broke. "How did Giles-you know who was responsible?"

Not wanting to reveal all of her Watcher's secrets, Buffy only gave a partial answer, "Just as the spell took hold, he recognized the magical signature. It was just bad luck that we ran into Spike first. Well, mostly just bad luck for Spike," she clarified with the Buffy-version of a Ripper grin.

Oblivious to Buffy's omission, Willow was still pretty impressed with the stuffy librarian. The way he handled that Ethan character was a little frightening now that she thought about it. "Huh, we learned something new about Giles today."

Before they got too close to the school, the blonde made her request to her friend, "Do you mind if I talk to him alone? There's some stuff that I think he would rather keep private."

"You even sound more like him now," Willow teased. Seeing the serious look on Buffy's face, she added more somberly, "Sure. I'll go see if I can track down Xander."

City Hall

"So what should we do now, Mr. Harris? You've returned to normal, yet still have confidential information about my plans." The Mayor's voice was still cheerful, but it was clear he wasn't happy. "Now I know that you are friends with the Slayer-"

Xander cut in before the demon-wannabe could make his threat, "Which puts me in the perfect position to keep an eye on her for you; let you know if she's getting too close."

The Mayor stared incredulously at the young man. "You expect me to believe that you would change your allegiances so easily?" he asked with clear disbelief.

Normally, Xander would agree with that statement. However, part of the Mayor's darkness and ambition stayed with him after the spell worn off, so he was more than willing to be a junior partner. There was enough of him left to make some requests, though, "I'd ask for a couple concessions: one being that you don't go after Willow, Buffy or Giles."

Pleased that it appeared he had a willing accomplice who was close to the Slayer, the Mayor was willing to consent…for the time being. "Perfectly reasonable request. What else?"

"Could you arrange for an 'accident' to happen to Angel?" Xander inquired with a malicious glint in his eyes.

"Very well. Is that all?" Weren't kids today more materialistic? The young man should be asking for a car, or-

"Umm, maybe some money and an apartment," Xander asked sheepishly. He felt the need to explain that request a little more, "In case I need to get away from my folks."

Like any good Mayor, Wilkins knew who the Harrises were and how they treated the boy. "Gladly. If someone can't care for their offspring, they shouldn't have them in the first place," he said with a severely disappointed expression.


Looking up from his Watcher's Diary, Giles did a double-take to see his Slayer in a tweed suit with glasses. Something very odd was going on here. Was this some new way for her to mock him? "How did the trick-or-treating go, Buffy?" he inquired neutrally.

Buffy sighed. "It was very…" she paused, "illuminating."

"Yes?" Giles turned wary at her tone; it was like she knew something she wasn't supposed to.

She nodded as she took a seat on the table next to her Watcher. "One thing I found out was that Ethan Rayne is in town. Or he was until I beat the crap out of him. He's probably run by now," she replied calmly, waiting for his reaction.

Which came in less than a second. "Ethan Rayne?!" he growled lowly. "What did he say to you?"

"Me-Buffy or you-Buffy?" the Slayer inquired innocently, complete with wide eyes.

Giles was taken aback by the comment – despite his earlier wonderings about her outfit. "I beg your pardon?"

"Herr Snyder made us dress as a real person instead of a fictional character, and I picked you," Buffy explained. "I'm guessing that he didn't know Ethan had plans to turn everyone in town into their costumes – even those who didn't get their costumes from his shop."

He was horrified at what that could mean; what Buffy could have learned from being him for long. "Dear lord! That means…" he couldn't finish the statement.

"For an hour or so tonight, there were two Gileses in town," she said smuggly. Too damn smug for Giles' comfort.

Taking off his glasses, Giles almost broke the lens from his rubbing. "Exactly how detailed was the spell?" he inquired guardedly.

"Enough that I think we should talk about my pretty, new decoration." She pulled off her coat, rolled up her sleeve and showed him the tattoo. "It didn't go away with the spell."

Giles sighed in resignation before explaining, "That's because you can't remove it with magick."

Deciding to take pity on her Watcher, Buffy gave him a dilemma to solve, "Well, while I'm glad to know that you had a rebellious streak when you were younger, I can't exactly go around with this tattoo. Snyder and my mom will think I've joined a gang or something."

Since the proverbial cat was already out of the bag, Giles saw no reason to hide his ability to do small magick spells without danger of falling into old habits. "Until we can get it removed, I'll put a glamour on it so nobody will see it – at least nobody who doesn't already know about it. I'll pay for its removal; it's the least I can do. I'm just sorry that you found out about that time in my life." He dropped his head in shame. "You must be so disappointed in me."

Buffy squeezed his shoulder gently to comfort him. "A little shocked that you would do something so dangerous – given what you had been taught for so many years – but I meant what I said earlier. I like that we both have had our moments of being less than happy with our destiny. It's a little weird, but at the same time, it's kinda cool. Makes me feel more like your partner instead of the annoying child you have to take care of," she said with a warm smile.

"You can be both, you know," he snarked, relieved that she still respected him after learning his worst secret.

Buffy narrowed her eyes at the teasing, but was secretly pleased with it. Still, it didn't stop her from doing a little teasing herself, "Very funny. You might want to watch the attitude with me…Ripper."

A/N: Don't ask me how the Ascension went; I have no clue whatsoever.