Title: Mirror Shards

Author: MavenAlysse

BtVS (YAHE) with a couple of crossovers thrown in as well. [American McGee's 'Alice', CSI, and CSI: Miami)

Spoilers: None – though Dawn exists at this point.

Disclaimer: Not mine, though wouldn't that be cool?

Summary: AU Halloween episode. When Xander goes as Cheshire Cat for Halloween, there are more changes then any could have imagined.

Mirror Shards

* * Chapter 1 * *

Dawn nervously bit her lip as she waited out in the hallway for her sister to leave the room. She really wanted to ask Xander a favor, but knew that Buffy would just make fun of her request.

"I need a drink. Want one, Xander?"


'Finally,' the girl thought. She slipped into the room. "Hey, Xander."

"Dawn Patrol, how are ya doing?" Xander grinned at her and Dawn felt her heart hammer in her chest.

"Okay. Um... Would you ... could ... um... " she twisted her hands together, unable to look her crush in the face. "I wondered..."

Xander's brow wrinkled, and concern filled his chocolate eyes. "Hey, hey. Calm down. Have a seat. Tell me what's wrong." He sat caddy-corner on the couch so he could face her.

Dawn took a deep breath. "Would you take me trick-or-treating for Halloween?"

The frown deepened and Dawn felt her chest tighten at the upcoming rejection. "What happened to the party I heard you'd been invited to?"

A ray of hope. "Cally got herself grounded. She tried to sneak one of her mom's cigarettes. So it got cancelled. And Buffy's been going on and on about how much she's looking forward to staying home and vegging out that night. So I know she won't take me. Mom's got a party of her own to go to, and I just know she won't let me go out on my own."

"In that case, I'd be honored to go trick or treating with you."

She glanced up, eyes wide in excitement, "Really? You mean it?"

"Sure. Well, we'll clear it with your mom first, but it'll be a lot of fun," Xander grinned lopsidedly.

"Whoo hoo!" She lept forward and wrapped her arms around Xander's middle. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you." She jumped up. "I gotta go tell mom!"

"Let's both talk to her, so if she has any questions, we can answer them."

Xander smiled to himself at the bounce in Dawn's step as the two left the study.

Joyce had been surprised, but grateful that her daughter's friend was willing to give up his evening to escort Dawn. "Are you sure it's not an inconvenience? I mean, you're not skipping anything to do this, are you?"

"Nah. I usually went trick or treating with Willow and Jess. But Wills got roped into a function her parents are attending." Jess' fate was left unspoken. "Besides, staying home isn't in the cards for candy night." The Harris house never got rung up for candy – his parents never bothered buying any and they were usually well into their bottles by evening. Xander had no desire to be a verbal or literal punching bag on a night when he had a legitimate excuse to be out. "And trick or treating isn't nearly as much fun by yourself."

Joyce had smiled at the eagerness in Xander's voice. "Okay. I agree. Just be sure not to stay out too late."

"You got it, Mrs. S."

"Xander, where'd you go?" Buffy stood in the hallway, two sodas in hand.

"Xander said he'd take me trick or treating and mom said it was okay." Dawn restrained herself from sticking her tongue out at her sister in triumph. She was going to spend an entire evening with Xander! {whoo hoo!}

Buffy looked shocked. "Xander? Are you sure? She can be quite a handful."


Xander soothed, "Nah, the two of us will be cool. Right, Dawnmeister?"

Dawn relaxed, a smile splitting her face. "Right!"

"Tell you what. I'll come by after school tomorrow and we can decide on costumes. We've got a few days, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem finding what we need. Okay?"

"Okay," Dawn practically floated up the stairs to her room, thinking about the possibilities.

Buffy shot her Xander-shaped friend a skeptical look as they returned to the living room.


"Are you sure you want to do this?"

Xander sighed. "Yeah, Buff. I'm sure. She's a sweet kid. Besides, this way you can have your quiet evening in and I get an excuse not to be home. It's a win-win situation." He switched topics and soon the two friends were laughing once again, Buffy forgetting the dark look that had entered his eyes at the mention of home.

* * Chapter 2 * *

As promised, Xander was at the Summers' door shortly after school let out. Joyce opened the door, a bemused look on her face. "Hello, Xander. I'm glad you're here. Dawn has commandeered the kitchen table in her quest for the perfect costume."

Grinning, Xander crossed the threshold. "Well, Halloween's important. It wouldn't do to be seen in anything other than the best."

She just smiled and gestured for the young man to make himself at home.

"Hey, Break of Dawn, how's things going?"

The fourteen year old looked up from her sketch book with a grin of her own. "Hi, Xander. Okay, I guess. I was thinking of costumes. But some of the ones I thought of would cost too much, or they don't have a partner."

He glanced over her drawings, impressed. "These are terrific. You'll make a wonderful artist." Dawn beamed. He looked them over and noticed a pattern. "So, you'd like matching costumes?"

Dawn looked shy, "If you don't mind. But I couldn't think of any that you would be comfortable with."

He ran his eye down the list of crossed out characters. Peter Pan and Wendy = tights (he shuddered), Romeo and Juliet = age difference and suicide, Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon = expensive costumes and 'relationship.'

Dawn was a fourteen year old with a crush on a seventeen year old, but she wasn't stupid. If she wanted to spend a pleasant evening in her crush's presence, she couldn't do anything that made him uncomfortable. Having matching costumes of characters in a relationship would make him uncomfortable.

"Unfortunately, most of these require buying quite a bit to make them recognizable. And I'm not what you'd call rich." Xander studied Dawn for a minute, a small smile growing. "You know, you'd make a perfect Alice if we can find the right stuff."

She frowned, "I thought she was blonde?"

"Not the American McGee version."

Dawn's eyes lit up, "Oh, I've seen that game. David's older brother got it for his birthday. That'd be cool." She frowned, "Who would you go as?"

"Humn...well, Cheshire Cat's the only one who could be considered Alice's partner. And I could probably cobble together a basic costume from stuff at home." He tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Course, I'd need a tail and some paint for the stripes."

"Oh, oh!" Dawn scrambled out of her chair. "Hang on, I'll be right back!" She dashed out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Xander could her her footsteps thunder down the hall, a door slam, some rummaging, an excited "Yes!", a door close, and more thundering footsteps. Dawn careened around the corner, out of breath, a grin on her face and a blue dress in one hand. She held it up against herself. It went to mid-shin and had puffed short sleeves and a lace collar. "Dad got this for me for a function he took me to last year. I hated it, but it'll work for Alice's dress. Just needs an apron with pockets. What do you think?"

"Perfect." He grabbed the pad of paper as she lay it over the back of a chair and retook her seat. "Alright, let's make a list of what we think we'll need. Hopefully, we can find it all at a reasonable price."

Joyce had walked in, overhearing part of the conversation. "Well, there's a new costume shop that opened on Elm. Called Ethan's. They've got most of their items on sale – a good competitor for Party Town. Work on your list and I'll take the two of you over tomorrow."

"Sounds great. Thanks, Mrs. S."

* * Chapter 3 * *

Joyce dropped them off in front of the store, "I've got an errand to run, I'll be back in half an hour. Have fun."

Xander and Dawn stepped inside to find "Ethan's" was crowded with enthusiastic teens and hyper kids. They threaded their way through the throng, heading over to the miscellaneous items section. Xander nodded in acknowledgment to the greeting given by what must be the owner, but pressed on.

"Okay, we need an apron with two pockets." They searched, discarding the little French Maid aprons without a thought, until they located one that had probably come from a prairie style dress. "Cool, and, hey, I got Willow to print out those two symbols on transfer paper. We can iron them on tonight."

"Cool!" Dawn beamed. "What next?"

Xander consulted their list. "Pack of cards is a necessity, but I've got a set at home you can have. You need some type of blade." They headed over to the bin that held all sorts of knives, daggers, swords, even chakrams.

Digging through, Dawn gave a squeal. "Oh, wow! Look. It's perfect."

"It" was a large butcher knife, the blade an odd pale yellow-green plastic. "It glows in the dark." They grinned at each other and recited, "One, two! One, two! And through and through! The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!" and dissolved into giggles.

Xander's eyes lit up as he scanned the other bins. "Oh, look at these. Small enough to fit in one of your pockets, but large enough to easily identify." He held them out to her, "Demon dice."

She grinned, looking them over. They were red, about one and a half inch in size, and little devil heads replaced the pips on a regular dice. "Perfect."

On another shelf was a gold colored pocket-watch that could be hooked onto her apron. Dawn nodded in satisfaction. "That should do it. I've got everything else at home. Now for you."

They located a dark gray tail with matching cat ears. The kit even had whiskers and putty for applying them. Xander picked up a jar of both gray and black grease paint and on their way to the register he snagged a pair of gold clip-on hoop earrings. "Done."

The owner of the store creeped them out a bit – asking about their costumes – but they muttered they'd swing by to show off their costumes and walked out with their purchases, meeting up with Mrs. Summers outside.

* * Chapter 4 * *


Dawn brushed her hair till it lay in a smooth dark curtain down her back. She put on a blue satin headband – it's color perfectly matching the dress. Looking in the mirror, she adjusted the apron. The symbols had been easy to apply and she was glad that the items in the pockets didn't make them bulge unseemly. Among the collection his family had amassed, Xander had found a miniature deck of cards with a horseshoe and the number thirteen on the backs. They lay in one pocket, the Demon Dice in the other. The pocket-watch hung comfortably off her apron – she'd shortened the fob so it wouldn't swing about as she walked. The dress – which she had hated when her father purchased it – fit perfectly, the added lace to the apron giving it just the right touch to suggest a Victorian style. White tights and black Mary Jane's completed the look. With her vorpal blade in hand, she looked almost the spitting image of American McGee's Alice.

The doorbell rang downstairs and with a squeal of glee she grabbed the orange pumpkin bucket she was using to carry any candy and headed for the stairs.

Buffy had gotten to the door first, and so Dawn got a bird's eye view of Xander's costume. He wore black combat boots painted with gray stripes. His black jeans and t-shirt clung like a second skin and were artistically decorated with black and gray stripes. The striping was echoed on his arms and face, even his hair, perfectly mimicked Cheshire Cat's markings. He was half turned from her and she could see the tail attached to the seat of his jeans – also striped appropriately. Spotting her from the corner of his eye, he turned to face her. The cat ears had been on a headband to sit on the top of the the head – but Xander had altered them so they actually covered the tips of his ears, a gold hoop dangled from one. She gasped in surprise as he grinned an authentic Cheshire grin. He'd found a small set of fangs that subtly lengthened each of his upper and lower eye teeth, making his normal smile positively feline, especially with the whiskers just under his nose. He also apparently decided to splurge a bit, because he wore a set of contacts that gave him the illusion of slitted pupils. He bowed as she descended the stairs. "Good evening, Alice," his voice was a bit lower than normal and he drawled the phrase.

It sent delicious shivers down her spine, Buffy's too if her own shocked look was any indication. "Good evening, Cheshire Cat." She'd been practicing a proper British accent, even gaining praise from Giles over it.

Xander shot a more familiar lopsided grin. "You look great, Dawnie."

Her own grin widened. "You, too. Wow. Did the make up take long to apply?"

Xander shrugged. "A bit. But worth it, don't you think?" She nodded happily. "Got something for you. Spotted it yesterday. It'll make your costume perfect."

"What is it?"

He pulled a small package out of his pocket and handed it to her. Opening it she spotted a small, somewhat battered horseshoe charm on a silver chain. "Oh, Xander!" He took it from her and helped put it on. "It's great. Thank you!" She got a glimpse of his nails. "What did you do? How'd you do that?"

"I used a nail file. Every cat's got to have claws, right?"

Buffy shook her head at the two of them. "Isn't that a bit much? I mean, it's just a costume."

Xander put a hand over his chest and staggered in mock horror as Dawn giggled. "Just a costume? I'm shocked, truly shocked you feel that way. It's Halloween. The night where you can extol goods from people in exchange for leaving their property alone – and it's legal!" He straightened up. "Besides, if you're going to go through the trouble of dressing up, you might as well do a good job at it. There are a lot of folks who tend to give more candy to those who go all out on their costumes."

"And, of course, the goal is to get as much candy as possible. Right?" Buffy said, in fond exasperation.

"Absolutely." His attention returned to Dawn. "Ready to go?"


"Alrighty then."

"Hang on," Mrs. Summers came out of the living room carrying a camera. "I want a couple of pictures before you go." She had the two pose in front of the hall mirror. "You both look wonderful. Now Dawn, I want you to listen to what Xander says. No running off by yourself, got it?"

"Yes, mom," Dawn nodded in agreement. Why would she run off? She'll be spending quality Xander-time.

"I want to thank you again, Xander. It was really sweet of you to volunteer."

"Like I said, Mrs. S. No problems."

"Since there's no school tomorrow, then you can stay out until ten. I have cookies cooling and you're welcome to stay for a movie afterward if you'd like, Xander."

Both grinned happily at Joyce, nodding.

The two had been enjoying the walk – and each other's company. Dawn loved Xander's smile and laugh, and did everything she could to elicit them from him. Xander made her evening when he clasped hands with her and swung them back and forth in his happiness.

They were in the park – taking a shortcut between neighborhoods – and decided to spend a few minutes playing on the equipment. They were both on the swing set, seeing who could go the highest, when Dawn suddenly began reciting 'The Jabberwocky.'

"'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; / All mimsy were the borogoves / And the mome raths outgrabe."

Xander jumped from the swing and pointed dramatically at Dawn. "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! / The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! / Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun / The frumious Bandersnatch!"

Dawn hopped off too, wielding her blade, mimicking searching with one hand shading her eyes. "He took his vorpal blade in hand: / Long time the manxome foe he sought - / So rested he by the Tumtum tree, / And stood awhile in thought." She leaned up against a tree, grinning at Xander.

"And as in uffish thought he stood, / The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, / Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, / And burbled as it came!" Xander pretended to stalk Dawn, coming closer and closer, his own grin a touch evil.

"One, two! One, two! And through and through / The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!" She swung her blade at Xander, who accommodatingly fell to the ground in fake death throes. "He left it dead, and with its head / He went galumphing back." She skipped away.

Xander rose and brushed himself off. "'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? / Come to my arms, my beamish boy! / O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' / He chortled in his joy."

Dawn skipped back over to him, smiling up into his eyes as they finished the poem together. "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe."

A wave of dizziness hit the two; Xander instinctively drew Dawn closer as the world tipped on it's axis. Everything went dark.

* * Chapter 5 * *

Cheshire Cat woke, grass tickling his nose. He blinked a few times, a small park coming into focus, as well as the collapsed figure of a small, dark haired girl. Before he could get his bearings, he felt a tug on his mind and everything dissolved into black.

"Well, this is unexpected." Cheshire Cat found himself laying stretched along a tree limb, eye level to a human boy with dark eyes and hair who perched on a stone wall – the same wall that had encircled the small park he'd been in earlier, but the blankness beyond the wall stated they were no longer within the waking realm.

"Not really," the boy replied, staring solemnly into his eyes – without flinching, no less. No mean feat. "Not when you live on a Hellmouth."

"A Hellmouth, you say?" he was intrigued and wary at the same time, a shiver of fear and anticipation rippled down his spine, ruffling his fur. "Nasty places, those. Though at times, useful when you wish to hide."

"Precisely." A fleeting grin crossed dark features. The grin looked natural there, but the seriousness of the situation weighed heavily.

"So, how did I get here, as well as here?" Cheshire Cat waved a paw around to indicate their present surroundings. "Last I remember, Alice and I were about to confront the Jabberwock."

"I dressed as you for Halloween. My guess is somehow, someone turned people into our costumes. As for this, this is a representation of my mind, or at least a small section of it. I wanted to talk to you before you went running amuck in my body."

Cheshire Cat grinned, amused. The boy knew how to play the game. "Very well."

"Name's Xander Harris. I've checked, and so far you're in the driver's seat. I could bump you out, but then no one's in control until the spell or whatever wears off – basically, we'd be in a coma. Two problems with that. One, we're outside where any nasty-bad can use me as a free snack. I'm not sure what would happen to you in that case. And two, I want someone who can protect Dawn." Xander studied Cheshire Cat with such an intensity that the feline had to make a concentrated effort not to squirm in discomfort. It was a sensation he'd never experienced before – as if the young man was reading his very soul. Suddenly, the teen grinned, a humorous, yet feral grin. "I don't think you'll have a problem wanting to protect Dawn, though."

Cheshire Cat perked his ears, curious. "Why is that?"

The grin turned into a smirk. "'Cause she dressed like your Alice." With a flick of his wrist, the park dissolved and Cheshire Cat woke once more.

He quickly scanned the park for nasties, going over the conversation he'd just had more carefully. 'Wonderland is odd, but even I find that strange.'

Cheshire Cat grinned at the chuckle he heard in the back of his mind. {There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Cheshire Cat, than are ever dreamed of in your philosophy. Looks like you're in the clear for the moment. Dawn should wake up soon, or Alice. If you can, see if Dawn's as aware as I am of what's going on. I don't want her frightened if we can help it.}


"What's understood, Cheshire Cat?"

"Just talking to the voice in my head, my dear. Are you alright?"

Alice sat up, one hand to her head, "Ouch, I feel as if someone's been using my head for a croquet ball." Green eyes, instead of blue, in a slightly narrower face gazed up at him in shock, a hand flying up to cover fuller lips. "Cheshire Cat, is that you?" She flicked her gaze over him, head to foot, the shock fading quickly into acceptance. "Oh, it is you! I've never seen you in a human form before..." she trailed off, studying him as he helped her to her feet. "But this really suits you."

"I appreciate that, but we are not who we once were, my dear Alice."

"How so?"

"Apparently, someone is playing pranks. It is Halloween, and people have been transformed into their costumes."

"Costumes?" Fear flashed in Alice's eyes, an expression so unusual for her, that Cheshire Cat knew that Xander had been correct, that Dawn was aware, and frightened.

Cheshire Cat nodded, looking deeply into her eyes. "Dawn. Xander says things will be fine. I promised him we would help."

The fear disappeared, though Alice looked confused. "Dawn?"

"Your host for the evening. Can you speak with her?"

Alice's eyes went unfocused for a bit before she shook her head. "No..., though now I can tell she's there. I can feel her emotions. She appears to be calming down."

"That's my girl," a lopsided grin graced his features as he instinctively relayed Xander's statement.

Alice shot him a measuring look. "Seems you're a bit more connected to your host, am I right?"

He took her arm and they strolled out of the park. "We have much in common, my dear. Much in common."

"So, you were being literal when you said you were talking to the voice in your head."

"Absolutely. I find it fascinating how well he's taking everything." Crossing the street, they skipped from shadow to shadow, avoiding a few people dressed in bright spandex.

The next street over was pure chaos. Parents tried to chase down their children, or in turn were being chased by those whose costumes had been enchanted. Small groups of roving monsters menaced others. Pockets of resistance could be spotted here and there – Zorro slashed at a green skinned monster, Kitty Pryde phased frightened trick-or-treaters away from a wolf man, and a couple of normal teen had armed themselves with branches and stood guard in front of a trio of third graders.

"Any ideas what caused all of this?"

Cheshire Cat's yellow-coin eyes flickered over the scene. "Obviously someone with more talent than sense. Unless very careful, and lucky, people may die."

"What can we do?"

"If we speak to Giles, he may know."


"School librarian and mentor of the supernatural to our hosts and their friends."

"Curiouser and curiouser." They retreated to a tall tree in someone's yard, away from the main knot of mayhem. "Where can we find this librarian?"

Cheshire Cat chuckled, "At the library. Apparently, he's taking an easy night."

"Which way?"

"Well, we could go this way," he pointed to their right. "Or we could go that way," he pointed to their left. "But I prefer taking the short cut," he pulled on a branch and a door opened within the trunk of the tree. On the other side was the quad that led up to the school. "My dear," he bowed, allowing Alice before him.

"Thank you, kind sir." She crossed over cautiously, throwing cards in hand – they'd make a good deterrent against anything that tried to attack them without being immediately fatal; unlike the vorpal blade. She had no desire to harm those who couldn't help what was going on.

Cheshire Cat was smirking. At Alice's raised brow, he explained, "Xander's impressed. Say's it's a good trick and hopes he can learn it before we leave."

She smiled back, "It could certainly make things interesting."