The Golden Hunter

Author: Cyclone <cyclone[at]>

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Halloween and Prometheus.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: Xander dresses as a legendary hero...'s sidekick on that fateful Halloween.

Author's Note: For the record, I'm adjusting it so that the last episode of Xena: Warrior Princess to air in the Buffyverse before Halloween was Prometheus (which means that all the Hercules and Xena episodes aired about two years later than they did in our universe).

Chapter 1

"Hey, Xander!" Willow called, and her childhood friend walked up. "What'd you get?" she asked.

He held up the pre-packaged costume, and Buffy raised an eyebrow, "Iolaus? Why not go all the way and dress as Hercules?"

Xander snorted, "Oh, come on, Buffy. Look at me. Do I look like I've got the build to pull that off? Besides," his voice dropped, "like Iolaus, I'm the regular guy sidekick to the mighty superhero. It just seems fitting, you know?"

Buffy nodded.

And an idea came to mind as she glanced at Willow speculatively...


"And to complete the image..." Buffy tossed one of her quarterstaves to Willow, who caught it awkwardly.

"I'm telling you, Will, this is perfect!" Buffy said eagerly. "You remember this week's episode, don't you?"

Willow looked down at the outfit Buffy had created for her.

"Yeah," she said hesitantly, "but will he even notice? I mean, look at me, Buffy. I don't really look like Gabrielle. I look like a generic peasant girl." The redhead sighed, and her shoulders slumped in defeat, "Let's face it, Buffy. I could strip naked and give Xander a lap dance, and he still wouldn't notice me."

"I highly doubt that, Willow," Buffy said, shaking her head at the idea. "I'm pretty sure you'd get his attention if you did, but that's a little on the drastic side."

Willow pouted. Now she was making fun of her.

The doorbell rang.

"Oh! That's Xander," Buffy said, looking toward the stairs. "Are you ready?"

"Yeah, I guess," Willow said uncertainly.

Buffy dashed downstairs and opened the door. Xander stepped inside, "Alas, the golden hunter has arri-..." his eyes widened when he caught sight of Buffy. "Buffy! Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia, I am in awe! I completely renounce spandex!"

"Thank you, kind sir," Buffy said with a curtsy, surreptitiously eyeing Xander's exposed chest. The vest didn't cover much. Xander obliviously bowed in response.

Buffy then said, "But wait 'til you see..." She and Xander turned and saw Willow walking downstairs in her ghost costume, complete with the big bold "BOO!" on the front and sans quarterstaff.

"Hi," Willow said.

"...Casper," Buffy finished in disappointment.

"Hey, Will!" Xander grinned. "That's a... fine boo you got there."


Willow blinked as she pulled herself to her feet. She stared at her body at her feet.

"Oh, my God! I'm a real ghost!"

Then she heard the unmistakeable sound of fist meeting flesh and turned.


She ran, but as she got closer, Xander turned and saw her, "Gabrielle? What are you doing here?"

Willow blinked at that, then looked down at herself again.

*He thinks I'm Gabrielle? That means he really thinks he's...*


"Yeah, it's me," he said, looking around. "What's going on, Gabrielle? Where are we? Where are Herc and Xena?"

"O-oh," Willow stuttered, temporizing. "They can't make it. It's up to us, Iolaus. Trust me."

Xander paused, then nodded, "All right, Gabrielle."

"Okay," Willow said, trying to sort things out.

"Look out!"

"Huh?" Willow blinked as Xander leaped toward her... and passed right through her.

As did the demon -- which Willow presumed was another transformed trick-or-treater -- that he'd been trying to save her from. The demon shook its head clear as Xander stared at her, his face pale.

The demon snarled and launched itself at Xander, who reflexively threw it aside, knocking it out.

"Gabrielle, no..." he murmured. How could this happen? He and Hercules had been with her and Xena just the other day, after freeing Prometheus again.

How could this happen?

"Iolaus, please!" Willow interrupted his train of thought. "You have to focus! We just need to find..." she caught sight of the Slayer, "...Buffy!"

The temporary ghost ran across the street, and "Iolaus" followed.

"Buffy! Are you okay?" Willow asked anxiously.

Xander turned as snarls signaled the arrival of more demons.

"Gabrielle, we're running out of time here."

"Buffy, what do we do?" she asked the Slayer.

And the Slayer fainted.

Chapter 2

Willow looked around anxiously. Buffy, Xander, and Cordy were here, and Xander was barricading the door.

"Okay," she said, "you guys stay here while I get some help. If something tries to get in, just fight it off."

"Well," Buffy stuttered, "i-it's not our place to fight. Uh, surely some men will protect us."

"What's that riff?" Cordelia asked.

Willow leaned and whispered, "They turned into their costumes. Xander really thinks he's Iolaus and that I'm Gabrielle. I'm gonna find Giles." She turned and looked at them, "Just sit tight, okay?"

"Gabrielle," Xander said, and Willow stopped and turned.

"Y-yes, Iolaus?"

"Iolaus" stepped closer to her, and his hand reached out, stopping just short of touching her. He leaned in and brushed his lips across hers.

"I wish..." he trailed off.

"I know," Willow replied softly. "So do I."

She turned and left.

"Oh, good!" came a voice from the kitchen. "You guys are all right. It's total chaos out there."

"Iolaus" and "Lady Elizabeth" turned.

"Who are you?"

Cordy sighed and yanked Angel aside to explain.


"Giles!" Willow called as she barged through the library doors. Literally.

"Good lord!" Giles started, surrounded by the cards he'd been sorting through. "How did you...?"

"Giles, no time. Everyone's turned into their costumes."

"What?!" Giles sputtered. "What were they dressed as?"

"Uh, well, Xander was dressed as Iolaus from Hercules, and um, Buffy's an eighteenth-century girl."

"And you?"

"A ghost."

"Was everyone affected?"

"Ye-... wait, no," Willow said, suddenly thoughtful. "Cordelia didn't change." Another thought struck her, and she nodded, "Partytown. She said she got her outfit from Partytown."

"A-a-and everyone who changed. Th-th-th-they acquired their costumes where?"

"We all got ours at a new place. Ethan's."


"Hey, Buff," Xander said. "Welcome back."

"Yeah! You too."

"You guys remember what happened?" Cordy asked.

Xander nodded. "Uh, yeah," he said uncomfortably.

"It was like I was in here, but I couldn't get out," Buffy explained.


Xander was walking home, still in his Iolaus costume.

It was waaay creepy. He had memories. Lots of memories.

Memories of things that had happened to Iolaus after the latest episode.

He stopped and turned.

"You might as well come out. I know you're there."

"I never could sneak up on you, Iolaus," came a very familiar voice as the familiar figure stepped out into the light of the street lamp.

"Hercules," Xander murmured, stunned.

The demigod walked up and extended his hand, and Xander met it with his own, and the two clasped forearms.

"Gods, it's good to see again, old friend," Hercules said. He raised an eyebrow, "Even if you do look like Autolycus."

Xander snorted, "If you think I look like Autolycus, you should meet my uncle Ash."