Xander was not pleased. He'd had his Halloween all figured out -- he'd already picked up a set of second-hand BDUs from a thrift store and had just came to the shop for a cheap, plastic gun -- but that brat of a kid had gotten to the budget bin before him and grabbed the last of the toy guns. He was so pissed that he barely noticed the kid scurrying away from his dark expression as fast as the little bastard's short legs could carry him, which was a surprisingly high speed indeed. Damn kids! If he hadn't got caught up in that crowd that had been filling the aisle with the cool costumes he would have gotten the gun and been done with it.
And so he was stuck rummaging through the threadbare racks of remaining costumes as he tried to find something that was slightly less than absolute garbage and was within his limited budget -- all of about ten bucks, and that was way more than he'd planned on -- before he had to be on his way. Most of the costumes left were really, really bad; he didn't want to show up in some moth-eaten old thing covered in tattered lace -- and he had no idea what that costume was supposed to be -- but it didn't look like he was going to have much in the way of choice.
Some of the costumes were pretty good but they were just way out of his price-range. He wouldn't have minded the Ranma costume or the Jedi costume, but their price tag was way out of his range. His scowl grew as he leafed through the racks and his frustration grew. There were vampire and monster costumes as far as the eye could see, but there was no way in hell he was going to wear them even if they were in his price range. He got enough of those things without dressing as them thank you very much.
Xander almost jumped out of his skin and he couldn't do much more than keep his slightly-girly yelp quiet enough that Buffy wouldn't hear. He'd thought that after fighting vampires and stuff a normal guy wouldn't be able to sneak up on him like that; would teach him about daring to have actual confidence in his abilities, he supposed.
"Aren't you Brits supposed to be all well-mannered?" asked Xander.
"I do apologise," said the shop-owner, though his eyes glinted with almost imperceptible amusement. "Is there a problem, young man?"
"Other than you trying to give me a heart attack, you mean?"
The shop-owner inclined his head slightly in a nod.
"Right," said Xander. "Well, I'm just trying to find a decent costume I can afford. Wouldn't be a problem but some kid grabbed what I came here for."
"Oh dear," said the man. "I believe I understand your frustration. Perhaps I can arrange a deal for you?"
Xander felt an instant wave of suspicion rise up within him in response to that. People just weren't that nice, not in his experience. This guy was a shop-owner, he wanted to make money; cutting Xander a deal wouldn't really go with that. But Xander couldn't spot any deceit on the guy's face. He frowned. Well, beggars can't be choosers. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"I've just received a late shipment of costumes," said the man smoothly, not even seeming to notice Xander's apprehension. "There's no way I can get them all on the racks and rented out now, so I would be willing to cut you a deal in exchange for an hour or so of your time helping me put the rest out in the store. How does that sound?"
"That . . . that would be great," said Xander. "Are you sure?"
"I wouldn't has asked if I wasn't," said the man. "Come on. I have a costume in mind that would be quite excellent for you, I think. You look like the sort that would appreciate it."
"What is it?" asked Xander as he followed the shop-keeper into the back of the shop.
"It's from a computer game," said the man. "A Star Wars game. Ah yes, you see what I mean. Yes, the new one. A 'Darth Revan' costume if I remember the name correctly."
Xander didn't actually know anything about the new game beyond its name -- Knights Of The Old Republic -- and the fact that it was for the PC, but a Darth meant a Sith Lord, which meant a good chance of a cool costume. "Sounds good," he said. "Thanks, uh, you didn't tell me your name."
"I thought you'd appreciate it," said the man. "And my name's Ethan. Ethan Rayne. Just call me Ethan, though."
"Right," said Xander. "Thanks, Ethan. I'm Xander."
"Well, Xander," said Ethan. "Time to earn your costume."
And Xander did. It wasn't hard work and it wasn't even that boring with Ethan to talk to and keep his mind occupied. Guy might have been British, but he wasn't half as stuffy as the G-man. Just over an hour later, he left the store with his spiffy new costume ready for his night escorting kids around Sunnydale scamming candy out of old people.
The red and black mask had looked cool as all hell when he'd first seen the costume, but it proved to be a damn sight less practical than it was cool when he put it on. The damn thing just didn't fit properly. It was just ever so slightly too small and not quite shaped right for his face, so it kept slipping over his eyes and obscuring his vision. And so yet another hole was punctured in his trust of pop-culture movies as wearing a mask proved to be less than useful.
Such was life on the hellmouth.
Soon enough, he reached Buffy's house -- nearly walked into a couple of lampposts on the way, but he made it intact -- and a moment after rapping the door with his knuckles Buffy opened the door looking very fine indeed. He hadn't thought much of the dress when he'd seen in the shop, but now with Buffy filling it out nicely? He liked it a whole lot. Maybe there was something to this fancy dressing thing after all . . .
"Buffy! Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia, I am in awe! I completely renounce spandex!" he said, covering his impressed reaction with a glib remark.
Buffy blinked. "Xander?" she asked. "Is that you?"
"It is indeed me," said Xander with a nod of his head. "Like the costume?"
"It's very, uh, concealing," said Buffy. "What is it?"
"Star Wars computer game character," said Xander, feeling slightly disappointed by Buffy's reaction. "Where's Willow?"
"She's just upstairs," said Buffy, perking up. "Wait till you see . . . "
Willow was stood at the top of the stairs in her usual ghost costume. Buffy looked crest-fallen for just a moment before she covered it up, but Xander wasn't quite sure what she'd been expecting. Willow always wore a ghost costume in the end. Such was the way of Willow. She'd buy another costume, and she'd even look like wearing it for a while, but she'd always fall back to the ghost before she left the building.
"That's a mighty fine boo you got there, Willow," said Xander, pulling the mask off to make conversation a little easier.
"Ohmigod," said Willow. "Is that a Knights Of The Old Republic costume?"
"Uh, yeah," said Xander. "I think. That's what the label said anyway."
"That's so cool," gushed Willow. "That game looks great! I didn't see any costumes from it?"
Xander shrugged. "They were out the back," he said. "I got this for helping the guy who owned the place out."
"So that's where you went," said Buffy. "I thought you'd gotten bored and wandered off."
"No quite, Buff'," said Xander. "Got stuck with the menial labour when some kid beat me to the two-dollar costume I was shooting for."
"Well, I think your costume's far better than whatever you would have gotten for two dollars," said Mrs. Summers looking in from the living room. "Now, you three, come in here so I can take some pictures."
"Mom," whined Buffy. "We have to go."
"I'm sure you can spare a couple of minutes for some pictures," said Mrs. Summers. "Come on."
Buffy pouted, but she went along with what Mrs. Summers asked, followed by Xander and Willow. Xander really didn't mind, and he doubted Buffy did beyond observing the usual forms of being contrary whenever an adult asked her to do something for them. The usual things followed: silly expressions, hand gestures behind the head of his much shorter friends, and all the rest. He wasn't sure that Mrs. Summers appreciated it, but Willow and Buffy seemed to find it amusing when they weren't aiming punches at his arms.
Dealing with the kids wasn't so bad really. Maybe it was a comment on his mental age and/or level of maturity that he related to them so easily, but he preferred to think that it was just a talent he had. Not exactly the sort of super-powered talent that would wow the girls, but, hey, better than nothing! And he wasn't a wussy, moping excuse for a semi-human being like a certain caveman-browed vampire of his acquaintance, so it wasn't all bad.
Of course, Sunnydale being Sunnydale, something went wrong. One moment everything was A-OK and the next it was chaos with kids and old people running around everywhere screaming and wailing and all sorts of bad stuff. It was a whole barrel of demonic laughs. He was just starting to wonder just what the hell was going on when he felt a wave of pure darkness wash over him. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, the pain hit. For a moment, he experience pure agony as invisible fire burned around his body. And then he blacked out.
Darth Revan, Dark Lord of the Sith, opened her eyes and hissed in pain. She was still alive but not for long if she didn't do something to heal her wounds. Damn Malak! If she survived this treachery, he would die a thousand deaths, each more horrifying than the last, before she allowed him the release of true, final death. There would be no mercy for that treacherous swine. How dare he! She was the Dark Lord!
She tried to move, to make the first step towards gaining her footing, and it was all she could do not to scream in agony. Her entire body was ruined, nothing worked! Even she could not defeat this through pure willpower. No, this would not be the end of her, not like this, not before she had her revenge. In a well-practiced move, she drew upon her hatred and slipped into the embrace of the Dark Side, drawing upon its power to try and find a solution.
And she was amazed.
The Dark Side came to her call stronger than ever before. This place was thick with it, stronger than even Malachor or Korriban! Perhaps, and this was almost terrifying in its revelation,s even stronger than the Star Forge! Here there was power that could repair the damage that was done to her; here was the power that could restore her! It was but a moment's effort to tap into the well of power sufficiently to mask the damage done to her body. A cure it was not, but that could be acquired once she was mobile.
And with that done, she rose and took stock of her surroundings. She was not on her flagship. She was not even on a world she recognised. How had she got here? As injured as she had been, she would have been defenceless. If a loyal officer had removed her from the scene, then they would have taken better care than to dump her in the middle of a street somewhere and then disappear, she was sure. Fear would assure that if nothing else.
Nothing made sense. If a loyalist had found her, she would not be here. If a traitor had found her, she would be dead. If the Jedi had taken her, she would be a prisoner somewhere if they hadn't had the required intelligence to finish her off before she recovered or she would be in a medical facility. No, there was no-one, not a single person or group, that would have simply abandoned her like that. She was too valuable either as a bargaining chip or as a trophy.
On top of that, she recognised nothing of the artefacts surrounding her. The vehicles -- that was what she assumed they were -- bore no resemblance to any swoop or speeder that she had ever seen, and they had wheels! It was a rare vehicle indeed that used wheels and they were never small, simple vehicles that seemed to be meant for urban use -- judging by the surroundings, they could be meant for nothing else. And that extended to everything else around her. Nothing looked like the technology she was used to. It all looked, well, primitive, and the air stank! Many planets had an unpleasant smell to them, but this place was different in some way and she could not identify the odour beyond it being entirely foul.
Still, the power of the place made up for the air. This place was power, pure and unadulterated power. It was as if she was standing on top of the source of the Dark Side itself. The feel of it was utterly intoxicating; it felt as if there was nothing she could not do. Nothing at all.
"My dear, you look confused. Are you alright?"
Revan turned her head to face the source of the voice. The woman was old and physically weak but her life-force was still strong. "You will do," she said, her voice utterly dispassionate.
Revan pointed her arm at the woman, palm up, and the woman's face showed nothing but confusion for a moment before a stream of purple light erupted from her heart and arced to Revan's hand. At that point, it turned to agony and the screaming began. Those screams lasted for a few moments and then turned to a choked gargling before finally ending in a series of rattling breathes as the stream of light thinned and then ended. Revan pulled her arm back and clenched her fist before letting a triumphant hiss out. She was healed. The power of this place combined with the stolen life had repaired all the damage done to her by Malak's betrayal.
With her body repaired, it was time to truly take stock of the situation. She sank into the embrace of darkness and cast her senses out to gain a true impression of where she had been dumped. The situation may have made no sense, but she would make the best of it and return to her empire soon enough. It came easily in this place. The Dark Side whispered many secrets in her ear and showed her many things as she traveled along its currents.
This place wasn't just a centre of great power, it was home to vile, unnatural creatures that even the Dark Side of the Force rejected as foul and unnatural. Disgusting things, things that should never exist. Rabid animals that sought the destruction of humanity and the domination of their foul brethren over all creation. She would not tolerate them. And there they were: three of the ugly little monsters charging at her now. It was but a trifling application of her vast power to raise a hand and unleash her hatred in the form of a torrent of lighting that blew the three back down the primitive road and left them as smoking corpses on the ground.
"Pathetic," she sneered. If that was the best they could manage, it would be beyond simple for her to simply annihilate all of the filth that crossed her path.
After destroying the demons that had attempted to confront her, Revan set out to explore the area she had found herself in and examine the terrain of the land she had found herself abandoned in. Perhaps she could find a spaceship she could use to return to and reclaim her empire, an empire that Malak had no doubt claimed as his own in her absence, and achieve some measure of vengeance upon her wayward apprentice.
That idea was quickly knocked on its head. The more she saw, the more clear it grew that the planet's technology levels were pathetic. She saw not a single speeder nor swoop as she walked, never mind a space-faring vessel of any sort. And seeing those wheeled vehicles in motion had been a truly enlightening sight. They were slow, they were clumsy, and the gases they expelled from their exhaust pipes were noxious beyond belief to her keen senses. It truly baffled her as to what they were using as a fuel source. She'd traveled the length and breadth of the galaxy and had never seen or smelled anything quite like it.
And then some strange spirit-creature appeared in front of her. Its physical appearance was that of a younger, red-headed girl in skimpy attire that bared far more skin that it actually covered. Not quite at the level of a Twi'lek dancing girl, but not that distant from that level of near-nudity either.
"Xander!" the creature said, speaking in a corrupted version of Galactic Basic. Revan just stared at her from beneath her mask, awaiting some enlightenment. "It's me, Willow!"
"I know no, Willow," rasped Revan. "Nor do I know any Xander. I suggest you elaborate."
"This is no time to be joking, Xander," said the spirit, Willow, her brow furrowed. "Everything's gone crazy and we've gotta help Buffy."
Revan reached into her powers and transmitted a sharp jolt of pain to Willow with a jab of her left hand's index finger. "I am in no mood for this, child," she said as the spirit shrieked. "Elaborate or suffer, that is your choice."
"Oh God," said the spirit. "The spell's got you too! Xander, you have to snap out of it; Buffy needs our help!"
Another jab of pain, more intense this time. "I have no interest in this Buffy," said Revan. "Information. Now."
The spirit looked to be on the verge of tears as she spoke, revealing everything with only a few more painful prompts on the part of Revan, as well as one escape attempt that had been easily blocked by a simple stasis field. And what she revealed did not please the Sith Lord one bit. She wasn't real. At least not the real Revan. No matter what the silly little girl thought, Revan knew that she had been real. But not anymore. She was a conjured spirit placed in the body of some foolish child who had been simple-minded enough to tempt fate by wearing a replica of her armour.
And the implications of that information did not please Revan. Not one bit. If she wasn't real, then she would cease to exist when whatever force binding her to the child was removed. There was, after all, very little chance that her own body still lived. Malak's attack had been devastating. She had felt the fire crawling up her back as she had lost consciousness. The wounds had been fatal without immediate and comprehensive medical aid, aid that even the most foolishly idealistic Jedi would not provide. She was dead.
No, a true Sith never died. She had suffered a setback but she had a new body to use now. If they could summon her spirit to this realm, then they could bind her permanently. The mechanism of it was beyond her ken, but she would find one for whom it was not and she would apply appropriate pressure to ensure the act was performed properly. It was that simple. And once that was done, she could start exploring the possibilities of these powers and the possibility of returning to her empire with a new array of powers to utilise against those who would stand against her.
The spirit had fled while Revan contemplated the information but she hardly cared. She had what she needed and the creature was irrelevant in itself.
The bar was every bit as disgusting as the cantinas of Tatooine or Taris or any one of the thousand other outer-rim holes that Revan had been forced to spend time on over the course of her life. She very much doubted that it had ever been cleaned properly and given the foul clientele that the place evidently attracted she found herself doubting that she would find what she needed there.
None of the creatures felt particularly powerful to Revan's senses, but then she really didn't know what was needed to bind her spirit to the body. It was possible, however unlikely, that it was actually rather simple given the proper knowledge set and that one of those disgusting things would be able to help her.
With that in mind, she approached the bar and the weedy-looking man who she could only assume was the proprietor. Strange that the only human in the place would be the owner, but she supposed that there would always be traitors willing to do whatever was needed to earn some blood money. She had, after all, made considerable use of such people herself over the years. Even the Mandalorians, for all their bluster, had their traitors.
"I'm looking for one with the power to manipulate and bind spirits," said Revan to the bartender. "Some sort of . . . mage, I assume."
"I'll manipulate your spirit any day," said a yellow-skinned, multi-horned creature sat next to where Revan was stood. How he was able to make out her figure well enough to decide to proposition her through her robes and armour was quite beyond her but she cared not. She simply drew her lightsabre, and in a motion too quick to follow, sliced the creature in two at the waist.
"I have no time for fools," said Revan over the screams of the creature. "I need someone with the power to manipulate spirits. Now."
Out of the corner of her eye, Revan saw several demons making a quick exit. Unfortunately, they were in the minority. Unfortunate for the remainder that is.
"We don't like mortals coming in here and making demands," said a particularly foul thing with a ridged forehead and yellow eyes as well as a pair of fangs that Revan saw clearly as he spoke. A vampire, she presumed. Disgusting thing. "And we really don't like humans that think they can kill us and get away with it."
There was a general chorus of agreement from the other inhabitants of the bar and Revan silently sighed beneath her mask. Solidarity amongst the monsters. Just what she didn't need.
"I have no time for this," she announced. "You will serve me as I need or you will all die."
The look on the bartender's face was comical. "No!" he shouted. Then he realised who he was speaking to as Revan's head rotated around to face him. "Now, now, there's no need for violence here, is there?" he asked, with a nervous smile. "We're all friends, right?"
"Fuck that," shouted the vampire, lunging at Revan to attack. He was met by a telekinetically launched chunk of wood pulled from a barstool through the heart before he moved more than half-a-dozen steps and promptly exploded into a cloud of dust.
"So be it," intoned Revan as every single remaining demon in the bar stood up as one and moved to attack her. "You will all die."
She reached deep into the hatred that made up the core of every Dark Lord's powers as the crowd charged at her from all angles. It was something that came as second nature to her with as long as she had been the Dark Lord and the air around her thrummed with a malicious power with the span of a few heartbeats. Then she threw her hands up into the air and released the power in a storm of Force-powered lightning created from pure hatred.
Immediately the bar filled with the sound of shrieking and wailing as demon and after demon fell to her power. Glasses exploded into clouds of razor-sharp particles, tables were smashed to matchwood, the bar was set ablaze, vampires exploded on impact, demons were reduced to slag, and in the centre of it all stood Revan like a dark goddess surrounded by the devastation she had unleashed with the power of her malice. And it was good.
It took mere seconds to reduce what had been a busy bar to a mass of corpses. Such was the power of the Dark side. As satisfying as it had been, though, she had wasted valuable time, limited time, on the expedition and now she had to start again, and there were no other areas of such concentrated demonic power in the vicinity. It was monumentally frustrating despite the release such use of her powers provided.
And then she heard laughter. Mad, cackling laughter. She whirled around to face its source and saw a very tall, almost as tall as Malak, man in a red hat and coat wearing a pair of orange glasses. And she sensed nothing from him. Nothing at all. It was as if he simply didn't exist. Well, she had a brain as well as power. The paleness of his skin and the fangs she saw in his mouth as he laughed suggested some variant of the vampires that the spirit had described to her.
Then he clapped. "Glorious!" he said in a deep voice that rang with an accent that Revan had never heard before. "Absolutely glorious! You are quite the specimen," he continued, running he tongue over his fangs as he spoke. "Ah. In years gone by I would have stopped at nothing to make you mine, little sorcerer. Such malice, such hatred. Glorious. Just glorious."
Revan didn't like it. For him to be so relaxed about her after seeing her annihilate the trash that inhabited the bar suggested that he was either very, very powerful or very, very insane. Given that he was apparently capable of completely fooling her senses and wasn't so much as singed, she was leaning towards the powerful. She had died once already and was not eager to repeat the experience.
"Cat got your tongue?" he asked, before laughing again. "Ah, caution. Some intelligence as well as power. I can give you what you need, you know. Spirits are as putty in my hands."
"And what do you want in exchange?" she asked. "I have little to trade."
The lights in the room dimmed and if Revan didn't know better she would have sworn that the shadows were moving. "It has been so long since I was truly challenged," said the man. "So, so long. Summon your powers. Entertain me. You need not hold back. You will not be able to destroy me. Show me your darkness, little sorcerer. Show me it all."
And she believed him, terrifying as that thought was. He was no longer concealing his power and she'd seen black holes of weaker intensity than the darkness he wielded. No light would ever escape it. Fear was not something she was used to feeling, not in a very, very long time, but it was something she could use as easily as anger or hate. She funneled her powers into her mouth and released a scream of force power that blew the man across the room into the wall as well as blowing out the remaining windows that hadn't been destroyed by her lightning. Before he could reply in kind, she leapt across the room and brought her lightsabre down through his neck.
The man's body and head immediately fell to the ground, leaving a deep depression in the wall she had blasted him against, and then stayed still. Revan frowned beneath her mask. Nothing could survive decapitation. Nothing. And yet he was not dead. She had not felt the rush of dark energy that always accompanied a violent death. She hadn't felt anything at all. She might as well have decapitated a training droid. But the body wasn't moving. It made no sense.
She'd almost given it up as a bad job and a waste of time when an arm lashed out of the shadows at her with blinding speed. The moment's warning that the Force had blared at her was barely enough, but she managed to twist at the waist in a way that caused the arm to pass harmlessly past before she cut through it with a swipe of her lightsabre. At least that's what she tried to do. The arm simply ceased to exist when she cut into it and she was left to wonder if she'd imagined the whole thing.
Laughter boomed out, seeming to come from all corners of the bar at once in a way that made the fine hairs on Revan's neck stand up on end, but still the body and head didn't move so much as a millimetre. Revan brought her sabre up and around to settled into a balanced defensive position, awaiting the inevitable attack. She hated to lose the initiative in a battle but she saw no other option.
"You made short work of the gutter trash," boomed out the man's voice. "But now you face a true creature of the night!"
Arms of shadow came flying out of the walls and floor at Revan and she found herself hard-pressed to defend against them all. She never had more than a moment's warning before an attack came and with her precognition so limited it was much, much more difficult to form a proper defence than it would normally be. She found herself forced to bounce around the room like a human pinball as she dodged away from what arms she couldn't destroy with her lightsabre. Somewhere along the way she noticed that the man's body had disappeared, presumable absorbed by the shadows.
She could have used a trick of her own device, something she'd never seen or heard of another Force-user using, and disappeared into the shadows herself, it was her usual choice when she needed to regroup, but she somehow didn't think that would be a good idea against this creature. His control of the shadows was . . . awe-inspiring for lack of a better word, and she had a hard time thinking of a suitable counter. Force lightning was the only thing that really came to mind and she rather doubted it would be effective against an incorporeal foe.
Eventually the arms stopped coming. "Such speed," said the voice. "For a human . . . what a vampire you would make! But it is not enough, little sorcerer. The arms are only the beginning of my powers!"
And then she saw eyes, gleaming red eyes, appear in the shadows accompanied by the ever-present booming laughter of the man. All along the walls and ceiling there were eyes, all looking at her her, all the exact same shade of red. And she could tell that they were mocking her. A million options ran through Revan's mind and none seemed adequate. This was completely out of her experience. And nothing had even happened; she could only anticipate what would come next.
That was when the monsters came from the shadows. Revan had thought she'd seen strange things already that night but monsters completely comprised of shadows emerged from the shadows and began to attack her. They were hideous, unspeakable things, misshapen and foul, and so they came. She'd thought the arms were fast but those things, bad as they were, had been nothing on the new enemy she faced. But monsters weren't like arms. They had bodies. They had form. She could fight back. And fight back she did.
And for what good it did her she might as well have not bothered. A life-time of sabre drills at the behest of her Jedi master had given her keen reflexes and skills that made her the envy of her age-group but what use are those when the monsters heal as quickly as you cut them? Whatever parts she sliced off regrew so quickly that it seemed almost an optical illusion that she had cut them in the first place. The power to regenerate in such a way . . . it was incredible, she'd have killed entire planets for such power, but turned against her as it was it was rather terrifying.
But, bad as that was, they had form, they had presence, and creatures that had those could be attacked in ways other than the physical. Her body on autopilot as it dodged around the attacks of the creatures, Revan reached out with her feelings and evaluated the situation. What she found did not please her over much. A Jedi could have dealt with the creatures easily, using the power of their light to cast aside the shadows, but a Sith . . . she would have to overpower them one by one.
So the powers of a Dark Lord were pitted directly against those that had been used to conjure the monsters into reality. It could have been a mismatch but it is much, much easier to destroy than create using the Dark Side and Revan had the sneaking feeling that this was all a big game to the bastard she was facing. One by one, she sent the monsters back to whence they had came and within minutes she was once again alone in an empty bar, her chest heaving with the exertion before she channeled her powers into refreshing herself.
"Good!" echoed the voice. "Very good! I haven't seen a mortal who could defeat my pets since Abraham!" The shadows concentrated in one spot in front of Revan and a moment later the man walked out of them. "You may call me Alucard," he said. And then he blurred towards her, arm outstretched in a palm strike. Revan reacted handily and stabbed her lightsabre into Alucard's hand and up through his forearm leaving the blade protruded from his elbow.
"Ouch," he said mildly before the arm dissolved into dust and then reformed uninjured at his shoulder. "My master will be most entertained to hear that I've been skewered by a lightsabre of all things."
Revan almost gawked. Master? How powerful did you have to be to hold mastery over this thing? Holding the Star Forge was impressive, or so she'd thought, but this? Beyond comprehension. If there was one out there stronger than Alucard, she did not want to meet it. Ever.
The battle continued to rage. Alucard attacked, Revan dodged or sliced limbs off to block the attack. Alucard used telekinesis to throw things at her, Revan used her own to defend against them and launch counterattacks. Alucard used some over-sized slug-thrower to open fire on her, Revan simply wasn't there for the bullets to hit. Revan reduced his body to vapour with lightning, Alucard reformed. Revan used her telekinesis to smash his bones, Alucard reformed. Alucard summoned demons, Revan killed them.
It was a stalemate. Or at least it seemed that way. Revan knew she was stretching to her limits and Alucard seemed to be enjoying himself, so she was growing rather worried. And then he just stopped.
"Our time here grows short," he said, seeming almost sad that they had to stop fighting. "Ah but what a vampire you could make. Are you a virgin, by any chance?"
"Can you fix me to this body?" asked Revan, ignoring his impertinent question. "Bind me here? I must know."
"I could," he said with a wide, manic grin. "But where would the fun be in that, little sorcerer?"
Revan opened her mouth to reply but was cut short by the feeling of being pulled away from the body she inhabited. She fought against it with all her strength, all of her will, all of the power of the Dark Lord of the Sith, but it was never going to be enough and she was pulled away into the darkness screaming in frustration all the way as Alucard laughed at her efforts.
Xander fell to his knees and pulled the mask off barely in time before he vomited all over the stained floor. The world swam around him as memories that weren't his slammed into his mind over and over until he would barely be able to tell you what day it was never mind do anything useful. It was all he could do to stay conscious but with a great exertion of will he rode the storm out till it was over and no more memories came.
With that done he shakily rose to his feet, legs feeling like jelly, and simply looked at the carnage that had been created by his choice of costume. And he felt nothing. They had been demons. They didn't count. The bartender had been human, and he felt a twinge at that, but to serve demons? Traitor. And the death of a traitor was hardly the end of the world. He'd seen the end of the world and it had been real ugly till Buffy had stopped it. Real cats and dogs living together material.
The old woman was different though. She'd been innocent, totally innocent, her only 'crime' being that of showing concern for a monster in human flesh. And she'd been killed for it. No, not just killed. Absorbed. Her life used to give life to the monster. It wasn't your fault, whispered part of his mind. Not your responsibility. All the fault of whoever made you into Revan. The voice was compelling, almost seductive, in its message. But no. He didn't listen. That sort of weaselly bullshit was for Angel, not him. When your body's used to kill you can't just walk away from it.
But there wasn't anything he could do there. Xander pulled down his hood and turned to walk away, leaving the guy who'd dressed as Alucard to sit in the middle of the room in a daze, but stopped when he saw his reflection in a cracked mirror that had somehow survived everything. He didn't see the face of Xander Harris; he saw the face of Darth Revan. And he stared and stared and stared at that face but it never changed.
That was where they found him, Buffy and Willow and Giles, stood in the centre of absolute carnage staring at a reflection that wasn't him.