Belated Halloween Fic
It was Penny who noticed the store first, in amongst the explosion of black and orange, plastic bats and grinning pumpkins. Though it was probably the 'Half Price Costumes for Halloween' banner that really swayed her.

She left Bernadette and Amy cooing over some Disney Princess costumes (not revisiting that trauma today) and headed off down the aisle, more to referee between Sheldon and Leonard than anything else. The Other Comic Store was having a costume party, and the group theme was being hotly debated.

She'd just caught up with them by a rack of coats, in the middle of a row about Marvel versus DC, when a little girl of maybe six years old ran down the aisle, waving a cutlass. She had a cardboard tricorne holding back a tangle of dark curls, and a pair of gauzy wings strapped somewhat askew.

“Aww.” said Penny, smiling mistily. Leonard, seeing a way to score Nice Guy points, leant down and plastered a sugary smile on his face.

“Hello, are you a fairy princess?”

The little girl kicked him in the crotch with devastating accuracy.

“Momma says I mustn't talk to strangers.”

“Quite right.” Sheldon said. “You should have introduced yourself first, Leonard. Hello, I am Doctor Sheldon Cooper, and you are quite obviously a fairy pirate.”

“I'm Captain Tinkerhell.” The scamp said proudly, and waved her cutlass. “This way, I get a sword.”

“Jessamine...” A slightly panicked call, and a man rounded the end of the aisle.

“Granpa.” The mite scampered towards him.

“There you are.” The haggard alarm melted away, as the man swung her up onto his hip. “What did I tell you about running away?”

“Don't do it, 'cos Daddy will be lining up to thump what Momma leaves of you if anything happens to me.”

“Absolutely. To say nothing of what everyone else would do.”

“But I kicked a guy, just like Aunty Cor taught me.”

“Jolly good.” The sharp dark gaze swept over the still wheezing Leonard, and somehow the shadows around them seemed to get a little thicker. “Were you bothering my granddaughter?”

“Oh, he was just a silly man. The tall one says he's a Doctor. Does that mean he's got a stethyscope and bandages and sews people up when they get bit?”

“I'm not that sort of Doctor.” Sheldon said, a little huffily. “I'm a physicist.”

“You're all about time and relative dimension in space, then?” The man gave a smirk. “I've dabbled a little in physics myself, mostly chaos theory.”

He set the tiny Captain down, though still keeping a hold of one hand. The child poked Leonard with her cutlass in a desultory way, and then lost interest in him, in favour of looking up at Penny.

“Granpa's a wizard. We've been casting spells for Hall'ween.”

“Yes, and when I have got you well dosed up on sugar and mischief, I shall hand you back to your parents, who will no doubt thank me very much for it.” The impish grins were very similar. “You know, I may have seen just the thing for you...”

The persuasive honey of his voice washed over them...


Later that evening...

Anyone looking into the back room of the store would have seen a rather unusual sight. Oh, the candles and ritual paraphernalia around the makeshift altar were odd, but nothing weirder than most New Age shops. The big glowing circle of blue-green light hanging in the air to one side wasn't something seen outside of movie FX, generally.

The man finished his chant, and got to his feet, brushing off his knees.

“Got your bag of goodies, then?”

“Yes, Granpa.” She clutched the grocery bag with both hands, proffered it up.

“Right then, time to go home. Just one last thing to do.”

“Can I do it?”

“Of course, my dear.” He picked her up under the arms, and she slapped both hands down on the statue on the altar.

“Showtime!” Her little chirrup and his deep tones sounded together, and she giggled as the force rippled out.

He hitched the child up onto his hip, and looked back at the faintly glowing statue. No stay and gloat this time, he had learned some things over the years. Grinning cheerfully, he stepped through the portal back to his own dimension.


Leonard was sulking. He'd wanted Penny to be Rose, but neither Emily nor Bernadette were that keen on dressing up at all, so they had claimed 'Donna' and 'Rose'. Raj made a rather charming Ten, and Howard a rakish Jack. Penny had vetoed the schoolgirl outfit of Romana, and decided on the far fiercer one of Ace. She already owned the bat. So he'd ended up as Seven, and the umbrella made him feel like the Penguin.

Sheldon, in tweed and a bow-tie, looked like he'd escaped out of Howard Hawks comedy rather than all of time and space. Penny would have bullied him into a leather jacket as Nine, if anything, but once Amy had registered the words 'Doctor's Wife' she hadn't been concerned about any further details. Though her attempt to dress as 'Idris' had left her looking, in Penny's private opinion, rather more like Bellatrix Lestrange.

There was an odd...shimmer across the room for just a second, and he wondered if someone had spiked the punch. Beside him, Penny gave a little lurch, shook her head.

Then Sheldon suddenly straightened up, stared down at his hands, and said, in startlingly British tones,

“Oh, bloody hell!”


The previous owner of the tweed jacket was not a Time Lord. He was a highly intelligent and capable scholar and researcher. And when he opened his eyes, and found himself looking out at an unfamiliar room filled with familiar seasonal trappings, it had only taken one look down at a strange and much younger body, before he knew exactly what was going on.


A blonde in a leather jacket with a baseball bat, looking very dangerous. The face was unfamiliar, but the stance and expression were not.


“Giles?” She half-lowered the bat. “What's the what, Watcher mine?”

“I'm sure that this is the jacket I threw out a while back...” He sniffed the sleeve. “Yes, still smells of Gsh'krr slime.”

“Eeuw...” She looked down. “And this is that jacket Xander said gave me linebackers shoulders.”

The others looked between them, wondering when Penny had decided to get in on this whole role-playing thing. As usual, there was jealousy and resentment at the easy way they fell into a rhythm, moving in synch towards the door.

“So, we have a fairly good idea of which pillock is responsible.” Sheldon said. “This is not the first time he's done this, after all.”

He looked sharper, a lot more focussed than normal. Penny, too, seemed almost predatory.

“Do I get to slay him this time?”

Howard made a strangled noise of comprehension, ducked back when they both swung round to glare at him.

“Make with the splainey.” Buffy hefted the bat. “Or say hello to a home run.”


Something closely resembling the first Mrs Rochester flung herself at Giles.

“Good Lord.” He tried to fend her off, looking utterly horrified. “Madam, I have no idea who you are...”

She clung to his arm, resisting attempts to shake her off, blinking beadily up at him.

“Don't be so ridiculous. Stop this silly play-acting nonsense with Penny right now. You know very well that I'm your girlfriend, and you aren't going anywhere without me ever again.”

“We don't have time for this.” Buffy swung the bat with careful precision. (For some reason there was an immense glow of satisfaction at the impact.) She hopped over the prone form. “Now, costume store is where?”

Several people pointed swiftly and helpfully.


“So, in this world, we're a...television show? And someone dressed as me for Halloween?”

(The short man in the greatcoat had talked very fast indeed. There had been a proffering of comics and DVD boxsets and little plastic action figures, which had been creepy as hell.)

“More...somebody wore a bit of your old clothing as part of a costume.” He flicked an eye over her. “By the other costumes, I'd say this was a Doctor Who theme party. I sincerely hope that doesn't mean there are any bloody Daleks about.”

“This body has good taste in shoes.” The blonde waggled a foot. “Pity they'll get all messed up kicking your friend unconscious...”

(A short man in glasses had tried to grab her as they left. She did feel a bit guilty about leaving him wheezing on the floor with a half-dislocated arm, but jumping out at a pissed off Slayer was usually asking for a close up and personal with Mr Pointy, so hey, restraint and moderation. She felt she was growing as a person.)

Maybe it was their surroundings, but events certainly seemed brighter and more benign than the last occurrence. Virtually everything they could see running amok was either Disney, under three feet tall, or both. Three excited Ariels were splashing in the fountain, and something blue and four-armed was pulling apart a machine, but since it was at Build-A-Bear, for some reason, Giles didn't feel like stopping it. Buffy wasn't getting any demon-y vibes at all.

She eyed the body Giles was in. A bit skinny, but almost cute, in a lanky, blue-eyed sort of way. It worked with the Giles-y accent. She was in something blonde, female and - slightly taller than usual. That was okay. Maybe she'd pull her punches, just a little, for that.

They weren't entirely surprised to find the store dark and empty. Buffy opened the back by the simple expedient of pulling the door handle off, and then kicking.

“I could have picked the lock.”

“But I have some aggression to work off. I think your friend has skipped.”

“Pity. I've got some aggression to work off, too. Oh, yes, and there's the glowy-eyed statue, over-theatrical bloody ponce...”

“Kind of weird, being the possessor, rather than the possessee. I wonder if we'll remember any of this?”

“If we do, I am going to knock seven bells out of that twit when I next see him.”

“Me, first.” She lined up the shot, and swung.


Penny looked from the baseball bat in her hands, to the smashed statue on the floor.

“What the hell...”

“Oooowww.” Sheldon rubbed his forehead. “Penny?”

“Yeah, I think so.” She shook her head, confused memories swirling...

And then everyone else came piling in through the doors, vociferous and shrill, arguments and complaints and asthma making any further conversation impossible. Amy was demanding that Sheldon take her home and stay with her, just in case she had concussion, hauling him away from Penny with a ferocious grip. Leonard latched onto her, wanting explanations. Bernadette was berating everyone for being silly, and Emily appeared to have abandoned Raj entirely. Helpless and bewildered, they were swept apart by the unrelenting forces.


Sheldon found the note in the pocket of the jacket later. He had convinced (demanded that) Raj drive Amy to the ER when she had explained Penny's vicious and unprovoked assault. When the waiting room proved to be full of panicked parents, and excitable children, a harried nurse had taken one look at the group, and demanded that all the unhurt ones leave, and he had managed to evade Amy's clutching grasp with only a very minor pang of guilt, and fled.

“The spell will either have dissipated of its own accord at midnight, or you smashed the statue.

I could apologise for the inconvenience, but that would be a lie. Be assured that I sold nothing hazardous this time around, though – I am after all, if not an entirely reformed character, in the present company of my granddaughter, and I would allow nothing to harm her.

Firstly, all worlds are real somewhere. (I suggest Heinlein's 'The Number of the Beast' on the subject - once you get past his tiresome enthusiasm for incest, the general theory is sound.) As some version of our reality is your fiction, so are you to us.

Also, your reality is one that still stocks a variety of cake product discontinued in my world, and my granddaughter was keen to get some for her daddy.

Everything else was just for the hell of it.”

It was signed with a smiley face.

Sheldon looked at the note for a long moment.

“Wanker.” He growled, then blinked at the sound of his own voice.


A couple of days later, and Sheldon was sitting with a cup of tea, watching the news. He glanced up as Penny came through the door.

“I went back through the mall, and there's no sign of that store. Half of it is still closed off for repair, but I swear there's a cell-phone concession there now.”

“The authorities are claiming it was some kind of gas leak, causing hallucinations.” Sheldon unfolded off the couch. “Tea?”

“You still sound British.” She plumped down in the vacated spot, just to bug him. “You're gonna have to bully the maintenance guy again, another doorknob came off in my hand today.”


“Yeah. It's been a sucky few days. I've been having some really weird dreams. And when Leonard woke me up unexpectedly, I kicked him out of bed and right across the room.”

“Hmm.” Sheldon looked thoughtful for a moment. Then he flung a kitchen knife at her.

Penny caught it. By the handle. And sat there, eyes crossed at the blade pointing at her face.

“What the hell!”

“Penny, do you recall a tv show called 'Buffy, the Vampire Slayer'?”

“What's that got to do with you throwing a freaking knife at me, you lunatic!?”

Sheldon explained. Penny stared at him. Sheldon started to explain again, but she waved a hand at him.

“No, I got it. I just don't believe it. You think we became characters off a goofy tv show?”

“Not...entirely.” Sheldon blinked. “Though I am not as conversant with the show as I am other shows within Joss Whedon's oeuvre, since my mother did not approve of anything with supernatural creatures in it, I am sure that certain events happened very differently to the way I...he remembered them. I think we became versions of the actual people.”

“So you threw a knife at me.”

“And you caught it.”

“Oh.” She thought about that. “Oh crap.”

“Try picking up the couch.” Sheldon suggested. Penny gave him a weird look, but put a hand under the edge of the furniture and lifted.

When the whole thing rose in the air without effort, she was so surprised she dropped it with a shriek.

“Super strength, check. I have some ideas about how to test the healing factor...”

“Woah, back the hell up...” Penny huffed angrily. “Sheldon, I can pick up a freaking couch with one hand, what am I supposed to do?”

“Yes, well...” Sheldon fumbled at the bridge of his nose for non-existent glasses. “You could hunt vampires?”

“I don't think they exist in this reality...” She looked momentarily doubtful. “The only wiggins I've had recently has been around Amy.”

Sheldon twitched slightly. Having the ghost-memories of a man who had been far more adept with women – and with a taste for exotic beauties, at that – meant that he, too, suffered what Penny described as 'a wiggins' around his erstwhile girlfriend, though for very different reasons.

“So, what did you get from this?”

“I'm not entirely sure. The man was a historian, which is useless in my line of work. And as for all the, huh, knowledge about magic and demons, well, I mean, really, as if it were as simple as waving a hand and saying 'liber incendio'...”

Five exciting minutes later, after they had smothered the remains of the blazing magazines with a couple of wet towels, Penny threw open the window to let the last of the smoke out.

Sheldon was regarding his hand with glassy-eyed alarm.

“Fascinating.” he said, weakly. Then perked up. “A whole new field of energy manipulation.”


And so life went on.

After Penny made three citizen's arrests of muggers within a fortnight, the local cops asked if she'd ever thought of becoming a reserve officer. She ended up qualifying to teach self-defence classes, and won a civilian marksmanship award. And with the ghost-memories of being brooded at by experts, she really didn't have time for Leonard's sulking.

Sheldon was no longer quite as hopeless at normal social interaction, though he had a tendency to stutter when confronted with Penny at her most...Penny. He still had very little clue about modern pop culture, but had developed a fondness for prog rock. His experiments on 'Quantum Thaumaturgy and the Manipulation of Probability States' were progressing well.

Other things proved a little more problematic to deal with...

They both looked down at the cage in Sheldon's hands. The bald, wrinkled, ugly thing inside flung itself at the bars, chittering angrily, beady little eyes and bared fangs.

“What the hell is that?”

“It's a naked mole rat...” But his eyes skittered away from hers.


“She was going on about coitus again, and I panicked.”

“You can't keep turning people into rodents when they piss you off, sweetie. We still haven't worked out how to turn the others back.”

They looked across at the large habitat against the wall. From within it, a hamster, a pygmy shrew and a couple of guinea pigs all looked accusingly back.

“Technically, Bernadette is a soricomorph, not a rodent...”

“Whatever, it's your turn to change their bedding. Leonard over-stuffed his cheek pouches again, and made himself sick. I'm going to brush Raj.”

Raj, a smug handful of tousled black fur, allowed himself to be carried off. Sheldon regarded the remaining creatures with an unfathomable look.

“I'm sure I'll remember the incantation to return you to your former selves. One day.” He smiled, and the unforced happiness was more disconcerting than his Joker grin had ever been. “Meanwhile, I have Thai food and some vintage video games to share with Penny.”

And humming Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit', he ambled back to the couch, and his spot.

Happy (belated) Hallowhedon, folks. Big Grin
The following 5 users Like SpaceAnJL's post:
  • Tuesday Pajamas, lewstonewar, Toad, Gamma, Nutz
Great job, Space. Well worth the wait. And quite a wonderful happy ending. The pet keepers have become the pets.

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