YAHF Gender-Bender Xander's choice of costume causes him to disappear Halloween night.
Enter The Magician
Xander stared at the items on display in the costume shop after having the last toy rifle be taken by some kid. Thanks to some kid, his Halloween costume was just blown out of the water. He was about to leave the shop when the shop owner stepped up from behind him.
“Anything I can do for you, young man?” He asked with a smile on his face.
Xander jerked away. “Don’t do that.” He said.
“I’m sorry, young man.” The owner said. “My name is Ethan Rayne and I’ve noticed that you seem to be in a sort of funk about something.”
“I was planning on going as a soldier for Halloween but that just flew out the window.” Xander said wondering why he was confessing this to the owner.
“You honestly don’t want to go as a soldier, young man.” Ethan informed him. “I’ve sold dozens of soldier items and Ihighly doubt that you merely want to be just a grunt this Halloween.”
“Well, no.” Xander replied. “But I don’t exactly have much in the way of cash which is why I was going to just by a gun here and use some old fatigues I had at home.”
“Nonsense, my boy.” Ethan said. “I have just the thing for you in the back.”
Xander followed the owner into the back where he saw a black tuxedo suit was on a display that hadn’t been out. Ethan then pulled out a hat box which he set down on a table. The shop owner opened it to reveal a magician’s top hat and wand which Xander picked up. He shook his head and put the hat and wand back into the box.
“I can’t afford this.” Xander said a little disappointed.
“Nonsense, who said I was going to charge you for these items?” He asked. “You need a proper costume and these items will give you one. I’m not going to charge you. I’ll even let you have this tuxedo to go with it.”
“Okay, I’ll take it.” Xander replied.
Zatanna Zatara stood in the middle of the street a little confused. She knew she’d have to get in contact with the Watchtower as that was the last place she had been and for her to have been teleported here during a meeting would raise quite a bit of fuss.
“.rewothctaW eht ot em ekaT” She said transporting herself away before acertain redheaded ghost could see her.
She materialized in the Watchtower to see several people she knew charge at her as if she was the enemy.
“!potS” She exclaimed.
Ironically, Batman was not one of those who had charged at her. While her voice may have sounded different, the way she said her spell told him exactly who she was.
“Zatanna, you fell unconscious during the meeting we were having and you were taken to the infirmary.” Batman informed her.
Zatanna’s eyes widened with the news. She had realized that something strange had happened but to realize she wasn’t in her own body anymore. A weak smile formed on her.
“I guess I should be heading there too.” She informed them before proceeding down the halls.
Thoughts raced through her mind as she wondered who she was possessing and how was it possible. She thought she detected the use of chaos magic but she wasn’t sure. Dealing with the forces of Chaos wasn’t her expertise but rather Doctor Fate’s own field. Hopefully, they called in the good Doctor to help. This was starting to give her a headache.
“It’s nice to see you up and about, so to speak.” Dr. Fate said to her as she entered the infirmary.
“I’d be nice if I knew why I’m literally in two places at once.” Zatanna said gesturing over to her prone form on one of the infirmary’s beds. “The only time I’ve managed this trick is in my act.”
She sat down on the bed next to herself and contemplated the circumstances that she was in. Another thought crossed her mind and it frightened her. Zatanna looked over at Doctor Fate.
“What about the person who wore this costume?” She asked taking off the top hat. Her eyes widened as she noticed the embroidered name within it. “This was my hat. I’ve had a few of them stolen from me over the years. A few of them I’ve recovered but some where lost even to me.”
“Due to the fact that the mage who cast this spell invoked the chaos god, Janus, and your own magical nature, I’m afraid that while the changes to the other costumed individuals will be temporary but not to the person who wore your hat.” Doctor Fate explained. “I’m afraid that the change will be permanent.”
Before she could respond, she felt the sting of a needle as she realized that someone had given her a sedative. It was probably a good thing as she had been to feel the effects of the spell begin to lift.
“Zatanna, how are you feeling?” Doctor Fate asked as the magician woke up back in control of her own body.
“Better but what about...” She began to ask as she gazed at the teenage girl who bore a striking resemblance to her.
“Sleeping peacefully and a meeting has been called to discuss the matter.” Doctor Fate informed her. “I was asked to bring you there if you felt up to it.”
She shrugged. “Might as well.” She replied getting to her feet. Zatanna turned to look at one of the attending nurses on duty. “Please inform me if the patient awakes.”
The nurse nodded and Zatanna followed Doctor Fate to the main briefing room. Despite some misconceptions about the League, certain briefing could be sat in on by anyone interested. When seating became aproblem however, then the advantages of useful knowledge of the situation and seniority kicked in. She saw Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Wally West), J’onn J’onzz, Doctor Fate, Kyle Rayner, and Black Canary. Sitting down next to Doctor Fate, Batman got up to start the meeting.
“I apologize for waking some of you and asking you to come to this meeting but the subject matter is rather grave.” Batman stated to them before a driver’s license photo appeared on a screen. “This is Alexander Lavelle Harris, age 17 and—.”
“Crap, what is he gonna do?” Kyle asked. “Does he have some kind of freaky doomsday weapon that going to reverse everyone on the planet’s gender so that there’s going to be mass confusion? Or has he made a pact with a hell god to gain great and unspeakable power or—.”
“Kyle!” Zatanna exclaimed. “This is no time to joke.”
“Who’s joking?” Wally asked. “Batman calls me up late at night with his typical ‘the shit has hit the fan’ tone of voice and tells me that something’s happened. I’m half-expecting a new Legion of Doom headed by Darkseid, Brainiac, the Anti-Montior, Mongul, Lex Luthor, the Joker whose mind somehow got put inside Doomsday, and Clock King to attack.”
Kyle glared at Wally. “All those villains and you throw in Clock King!” He said with a little disgust.
Batman ignored the childish banter and pressed a button on his console changing the display to a camera overlooking the patient’s bed in the infirmary. It stopped their banter as both men looked at the teenage girl on the screen.
“Okay, cute teenage girl, what’s the deal?” Kyle asked.
“From what I was able to gather, this is Alexander Harris.” Batman answered.
This caused a few people’s eyes to widen with surprise. Kyle seemed a bit more surprised by it than the rest since he’d mentioned gender reversal. Doctor Fate stood up to continue the briefing.
“From details I obtained from the victim’s mind, he had obtained what was suppose to be a magician’s costume from a costume shop.” Doctor Fate explained. “I’ve been able to detect the faint remnants of chaos magic on both the victim and Zatanna and that is how he was changed into his current state.”
“But why would Zatanna have chaos magic on her?” Dinah asked. “Has she ever been to Sunnydale, California before?”
“No, I haven’t been to his hometown before unless you count what happened tonight.” Zatanna answered her. “Part of his costume was a top hat that was stolen from one of my shows a few years ago. I honestly didn’t think much about it until now.”
“The top hat though was the focal point of the former young man’s transformation.” Batman continued bringing up a pair of holograms in the center of the table. “The DNA on the left is Harris’s original DNA obtained from a hair sample. The DNA on the right is from his newly transformed body.”
Zatanna paled as she saw the holograms flash at genetic differences between the two strands of DNA. Batman, of course, knew why she was shocked.
“Genetically speaking of course, the young man is now Zatanna’s daughter.” Batman informed the group.
Before anyone could react, three of their number got out of their chairs and walked out of the room. They were a bit confused until they received a telepathic message from J’onn.
The three members of the Justice League known to the world at large as Green Lantern, Flash, and the Martian Manhunter materialized in the middle of a deserted street in Sunnydale. They were about to attempt to locate the costume shop when a loud explosion rocked the street as a gas station exploded with a fiery fury. Rushing there, the trio saw a teenager clad in a blue version of Green Arrow’s costume fighting what looked like a gang. The teen fired an arrow into the chest of one of his attackers which somehow caused the attacker to burst into a cloud of dust. When another of his attackers got too close, the teen quickly grabbed an arrow from his quiver and stabbed it into the attacker’s chest for the same reaction. Reaching ahand back to his quiver, the teen’s eyes widened as he realized he was out of arrows.
“Out of arrows, blue boy.” One of the attackers, obviously the leader, said. “What are you going to do now?” The attacker revealed himself to be a vampire as he let his demon out.
“Call for help.” The teen said with a weak smile.
“Doubt you’ll get it.” The vampire said.
A blur of red enveloped the vampire gang and all but the leader burst into clouds of dust before the Flash came to a stop next to the teenager. A smile was plastered on the face of the scarlet speedster.
“I’ve always wanted to do that.” Wally said to the vampire.
The teen’s eyes widened as the Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter landed near him. A green arrow construct was made by Green Lantern and handed to the blue clad teen who took it in his hand. He notched the arrow and pointed the bow towards the vampire. The vampire looked on in disbelief at what he was seeing.
“What can I say?” The teen asked. “I like to get to the point.”
The arrow construct proved to work as the vampire was dusted and the teen’s confident persona faded as the teen became a quivering mess.
“I can’t believe how weird this night’s been.” He said. “First, I have to get a discounted Halloween costume because Larry took my money then the next thing I know I’m being chased by a bunch of freaking vampires. I feel like I need to scream.”
“Go ahead.” Wally said to the kid.
“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!” The kid screamed.
What was quite unexpected was the normal scream to suddenly shift into aCanary Scream and Kyle acted quickly by forming a gag construct to cover the kid’s mouth. Wally shook his head.
“Better yet, don’t.” Wally informed the kid who nodded.
“Where did you get your costume, young man?” J’onn asked. “We’ve already had one of our number effected by a spell cast in this town.”
“A costume shop called Ethan’s.” The teen told them. “Some dye fell onto mine during shipping which is why I got my costume pretty cheap there.”
“You should probably come with us unless you want to try to explain to the cops how you blew up a gas station with a bow and arrow.” Kyle said with a small grin on his face as he realized the strangeness of what he said.
The kid’s shoulders sagged with resignation and they were able to reach in record time. They saw a middle-aged man trying to pack and before the seasoned heroes could stop him, the teen let out amodulated Canary Scream that sent the man to the ground knocking him out. A construct similar to the restraints that Hannibal Lector wore in Silence Of The Lambsformed on the man and Wally took out his communicator.
“Flash to Watchtower, five to beam up.” He said into the communicator.
They teleported up to the Watchtower where the blue clad teen fainted. J’onn looked over to one of the attendants.
“Take him to the infirmary and run the same genetic tests that Batman performed on the other patient.” He ordered them.
“Well, I hope no one dressed like me.” Kyle said as they walked back to the briefing room with the mage in tow.
Several Months Later...
The young woman with dark hair sat down in a chair backstage after she’d finally completed her act. She looked up to see her mother dressed up in the same outfit that she also wore clapping her hands.
“You did great, Zarina.” Zatanna said to her daughter. “The crowds just ate you up in your last three shows.”
“You really think so, Mom?” Zarina asked with a smile. “I kinda lost control when I went to the card tricks.”
Zatanna waved a finger at her daughter. “But the way you turned the cards into fifty two doves that you had land before you and then turned them back into cards was brilliant.” She praised her. “Don’t run yourself down like that.”
“Just trying not to be like Zachary, that’s all.” Zarina said with a laugh. “I swear if his head got any bigger he’d be able to float away.”
Before Zatanna could reply, a beeping sound came from Zarina’s hat. The teenage magician reached into her top hat to pull out her communicator and flipped it open.
“Zarina here, what’s up?” She asked speaking into the communicator.
“Hey Z, Blue Bowman here.” Blue Bowman said to her. “I’m in Boston trying to save a Slayer from a really old master vampire named Kakistos or Tostistos or something and I could use some help.”
“On it, Jon.” She said hanging up the communicator. “Sorry, Mom. Jon ran into some trouble in Boston and needs help.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Zatanna said placing her daughter’s top hat back on her head. “Be safe.”
“I will.” Zarina said stepping back a bit. “.namwoB eluB eht ot em ekaT”
She appeared in a warehouse only to have an arrow fly towards her head. A quick wave of her hand deflected the arrow into a crate and she saw the blue-clad archer who fired the shot. He wore a look of surprise on his face when he realized who she was.
“I’m sorry.” He said apologizing. “Please don’t turn me into a rabbit.”
“Have I ever done that to you before?” She asked.
“No, but I have seen you do it to others.” Blue Bowman answered.
“Point, so where’s this Slayer?” She asked.
“Follow me.” Blue Bowman said.
They ran out of the warehouse and down the street towards a graveyard where what looked like an army of vampires had surrounded two people. One was an older brunette in her late thirties and the other though was a teenage girl with brown hair. From the stake in the teenager’s hand, it was clear that she was the Slayer in question.
“We live for Kakistos! We die for Kakistos!” The vampires chanted.
Blue Bowman turned his head to Zarina. “Think you can generate sunlight?” He asked.
“!thgilnuS” She exclaimed.
An artificial sphere of sunlight formed in her hand and Blue Bowman held out a standard arrow which the sphere somehow was able to be attached to. He notched the arrow and stood up taking aim at Kakistos.
“Sorry, care to take a rain check?” He asked with a smile as he fired the arrow.
The arrow struck Kakistos in the forehead destroying the master vampire as the artificial sunlight burnt any nearby vampires into fleeing. Zarina and Blue Bowman ran over to the Watcher and the Slayer.
“Hey, you two okay?” Blue Bowman asked.
“Five by five, blue boy.” The slayer replied.
“I’m alright, young man.” The Watcher said. “If I might ask, how did your arrow destroy Kakistos?”
Zarina smiled. “Helps if you attach an artificial sphere of sunlight to it.” She informed the Watcher.
An eyebrow arched on the Watcher’s face as she got a better look at Zarina. “I believe I recognize you.” She said. “Zarina Zatara, Mini-Mistress of Magic.”
A surprised look on the face of the Slayer formed and she seemed to get quite excited. “I don’t fucking believe it.” The Slayer exclaimed. “Diana took me to the show you and your mom did here last month. You were fucking awesome.”
“Faith, language.” Diana admonished her charge.
“It’s quite alright, Mam.” Zarina said taking off her top hat. She reached into it and pulled out a picture of her and a Sharpie. Zarina wrote on the picture before handing it to Faith who became overly excited when she received the picture. “I love meeting a fan.”
“Come along, Faith.” Diana said walking away.
“Bye, Zarina.” Faith said before following her Watcher.
Walking away as well, Zarina and Blue Bowman walked out of the graveyard. They proceeded down the street to see a local fast food restaurant being robbed by a lone gunman. Blue Bowman pulled out a bola trick arrow and fired it at the robber. The robber was quickly bound up by the arrow and Zarina walked up to the window, stepping onto the back of the unfortunate robber.
“Okay, I’ll have a deluxe cheeseburger, large order of onion rings, and a Large Coke.” She said turning to look at Blue Bowman. “Anything for you?”
“Number Six with a chocolate shake.” He replied as a Boston squad car stopped with its two occupants getting out. “I think you can get off of him, Zee.”
Zarina got off of the robber and paid for the order. She sat down with the order at a table as Blue Bowman sat down at the table. Before taking a bite of her cheeseburger, she laughed at the sapphire archer.
“You do know that this is going to appear in gossip columns, don’t you?” She asked him. “It’s not like they’re going to believe we’re just friends.”
Shaking his head, he responded. “I know but what are they suppose to suspect. When do two superhero teens ever have dinner that it isn’t considered a date?”
“Point but you need to get into a relationship.” Zarina said to him.
“God, you sound like Mom.” He replied.
“How is she, anyway?” Zarina asked.
A look of realization washed over his face. “Oh crap, I was suppose to get back to hotel after I took care of Kakistos.” He said. “Mom’s gonna kill me.”
“Kill you?” Zarina replied. “No. Make you wish you were dead, probably.”
Blue Bowman ran off and the teenage magician finished up her meal. She threw the trash out and walked into a deserted alley.
“.moM ot kcab em ekaT” She said teleporting to her mother’s location.
Zarina teleported into their hotel room to see her mother as well as Doctor Fate were talking about something. She knocked on the wall.
“I’m back, Mom.” Zarina said. “Hello, Doctor.”
“How did it go?” Zatanna asked.
“Rather easy. I created a sphere of artificial sunlight that Blue Bowman attached to an arrow which he shot into Kakistos’ head.” She explained. “We then stopped for a couple of burgers to celebrate. Funny thing, the Slayer in Boston is a fan. Why do you have that look that you have something you need to talk to me about?”
Taking a step forward, Fate said. “Jason had come across information about your hometown. The Mayor of Sunnydale seems to have sold his soul for immortality.”
Zarina smiled. “So he’s just as evil as almost all other politicians that you hear about.” She replied.
“He’s also seems to be planning an ascension ceremony that could kill a lot of people.” Doctor Fate informed her. “If he succeeds, many people could die.”
“What do you need me to do?” She asked thinking she already knew the answer.
“I know this will be hard but your old friends in Sunnydale will need you now.” Doctor Fate told her. “You could save many lives.”
“Okay.” Zarina responded. “When do I leave?”
“I took the liberty of acquiring a very nice house for you to live in while you’re staying there.” Doctor Fate informed her. “The house will have the most powerful wards placed upon it to ensure your safety and it will also have portals that will connect it to the Library of Infinity and Shadowcrest. These portals will only allow you to use them so that I don’t have any uninvited guests.”
“Thank you, Doctor.” Zarina said. “I’ll be sure to put them to good use.”
“Think nothing of it, Zarina.” Doctor Fate said. “Hellmouths need to be guarded and should any more agents of Chaos try to have their fun, I’m certain you’ll show them the error of their ways.”
With that, Doctor Fate teleported himself out of the room and Zatanna hugged her daughter tightly.
“I know you don’t want to go back there.” Zatanna said.
“I know but if I don’t, my friends could die.” Zarina replied. “I can’t let that happen.”
It was a couple of weeks later but she was now back in Sunnydale. She tried to display a bit of normalcy for the first week she was there but she now found herself in a graveyard late at night standing over a grave. Zarina knew that no one would be coming up out of it because it was already empty. She knelt down and placed the roses on the grave.
“Hey Jesse, sorry I haven’t been by in a while.” Zarina said speaking to the grave. “As you can see, I’ve been through a few changes since we last spoke. I’ve been through so much since that Halloween and I don’t know if I can even tell the others about it. Will they accept it or will they be scared? According to the obituaries, I’m dead. Not as dead as you but still legally, Alexander Lavelle Harris is dead. He died Halloween night.”
She heard someone walk up behind her and she turned to see a vampire wearing his game face behind her. He smiled.
“I didn’t know that there was delivery here.” He said to her.
“Funny, I’m gone for a few months and the vampires got dumber.” She replied. “!eriF”
The conjured flame consumed the vampire and Zarina took a few steps before she heard something else move towards her. She turned to see someone she hadn’t been expecting to run into yet. Willow seemed a little awed at what she’d seen. Zarina smiled because it was nice seeing a familiar face.
“How did you do that?” Willow asked. “I thought it took a lot of work to conjure fire.”
“What can I say?” Zarina asked. “I’m good.”
“I’m Willow.” Willow said introducing herself.
“Zarina Zatara, Mini-Mistress of Magic.” Zarina said introducing herself to her friend.
Author’s End Notes: So what does everyone think? Before anyone asks about it, I will explain what Zarina did during those missing months as well as how the Scooby Gang survived without Xander there for certain times.