WARNING: m/m sexual activity. Adult language. Story is generally
SUMMARY: 10 Years after the fall of Sunnydale, Xander has
distanced himself from his past life until a demon forces him to look
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing including the characters and products
named in this story. I do, however own an unused treadmill. If you
want to sue for that, help yourself.
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Wesley Wyndham-Pryce was an analytical man. A man of science and
reason. A man with both feet firmly planted in the realm of the solid and
the clearly understood. Still, he had been part of the Watcher's Council
nearly all his life and had glimpsed, more than once, the supernatural
often enough to realize that these things were not exclusive of each other.
In fact, they were nicely complementary and coercive.
Wesley was pragmatic.
Wesley was a man accepting of the weird. His relationship with Angel
had proven that.
Right now he sat quietly at the side and watched as Willow expertly
manipulated the natural elements of the human world in order to
uncover the aspects of the otherworldly.
Their conversation ceased as her concentration demanded
and Wesley became as unnoticed as the desk or chairs.
One by one she would sprinkle herbs and ingredients into
the clear water of the large bowl as she chanted, murmuring
in what appeared to be Latin, but no Latin that Wesley
had ever heard.
After several minutes, just when he was beginning to doubt that
anything was going to happen, he felt the shift. The light in the
room seemed to dim every where except the very center of the
chalk circle. The air in the room became denser, heavier, syrupy,
and he could almost taste it on his tongue.
Sweet, sugary, thick and uncomfortable to his lungs. He thought
about leaving, slipping out unnoticed, but when he tried, his limbs
refused to respond to his mental commands. Apparently he would
Her chanting became louder, firmer, more demanding in tone. In
response, the air around her began moving and swirling. Wesley's
attention was again drawn to the bowl. The water had previously
been still and calm, disturbed only when something was dropped
into it. Herbs, powders, and suspicious fleshy things.
It's ripples would quickly fade leaving it again calm and placid. Now,
however, it too had started to move. Slowly at first, it quickly picked
up speed. It churned and turned in a clockwise motion as though
being stirred by a large invisible spoon. Faster now, it swirled,
churning and bubbling.
Closing her eyes, Willow held both palms out over the turbulent
water and she called out, now in English.
"Goddess of the elements of earth, wind, fire and ice, transform this
liquid to a window of truth and knowledge. Let us see, with your
approval, through this portal and into the land of dreams. Help us
find that which we speak."
She then picked up Xander's wine glass and dipped it into the roiling
water. Wesley then leaned forward, intent on seeing whatever was to
be revealed. Again the witch's chanting became unintelligible as she
turned her hands over, palms upward. Slowly, she raised her hands
and much to Wesley's surprise, the liquid left the bowl.
Still bowl shaped, the water hung suspended in the air as if being
contained in a clear glass bubble. Opening her eyes, Willow moved
her hands all around the turbulent water. As she did, it slowed
calmed, and finally stilled. Wesley wondered what the witch could
do with fishes and loaves. A sacrilegious thought he quickly checked.
Willow wriggled her bony butt around to get more comfortable and
"O.k. now, let's take a look and see what we have here."
Her cheery, bubbly tone snapped Wesley out of his trance and he
was ashamed that something so mundane as a vision spell had
held him in such a thrall.
The round, clear volume of water hung suspended in mid air and
awaited her request. Willow reached in her pocked and retrieved
the bear tooth necklace which she held firmly in her hand.
"Show us this man's dreams. Tell us what haunts him and who walks
with him in the dimension of sleep."
Following her command, the water began to cloud over. Although the
liquid itself did not move, shapes and forms inside it did.
Like a child's snow globe that had been shaken too hard, at first it
was dim and hard to see. Gradually familiar shapes began to take
form. Released from his partial paralysis, Wesley slipped to his
knees and scooted closer to get a better look.
"What is that building? Do you recognize it?'
"Yes, It's the Sunnydale High School. It's where we all graduated."
"Xander dreams about school?"
Willow grinned and waited for a bald man with cheese slices to
appear. Quickly her smile faded as she saw her old friend enter.
She could see the fear on his face, the desperation as he ran and she
knew something was chasing him.
Immediately, as though she had forgotten, Willow grabbed a waxy
yellow leaf from the smaller bowl and she dropped it into the floating
water. With a spark of light, it disappeared, dissolved into the mixture
and as it did, sound filled the room.
"It's coming Xander. We have to run."
Willow recognized the voice as her own.
"We have to stick together Xander. We can't fight this alone. RUN.
Hurry. You have to hide, Xander, you're next and I'm not the one
who can help you."
Willow knew that voice as Buffy's and she remembered that that
was almost word for word the dialog on the night of the fall of Sunnydale.
Almost, but something was not quite right. Still, it was all so familiar.
It was the night so many of their comrades and friends had died. It was
the night Xander walked away.
"He's been having nightmares."
Willow felt helpless as she watched. Although she knew it was
just a dream, it broke her heart to think her friend had been suffering
with this for the last ten years. She wanted to stop it. She wanted to
reach in and save him but knew she couldn't. It was, after all, just
She watched him race down the hallway expecting him to charge
toward the basement but, much to her surprise, he didn't. Instead,
he ran as the dream voices instructed him, in the direction of the gym,
to the sound of voices cheering and games being played.
"Wait, that isn't right. There was certainly no basketball game that night.
In fact none of us even went in to the gym that night. That was my voice
but I never sent him there."
Wesley did not see the importance in the discrepancy.
"It's been a decade, Willow. Memories get distorted. Dreams are
not accurate memories."
"These dreams are memories, Wes, and no amount of time could
cause them to dim or shift."
They both continued to watch as the dream grew in intensity. She
could see the terror in his eyes and the perspiration stains under his
arms as he darted through the maze of hallways to the sounds of
She watched as he reached the swinging double doors and pushed
them wide open. Tears stung her eyes as she saw him flinch and gag
at the sight of the torn and bloody bodies.
"That never happen, Wes. Someone or something is changing his
memories of that night to scare him."
Finally when she thought she could watch no more, he stopped.
Stopped running. Stopped shouting. Willow could see him frozen
in fear but she had no idea why.
With her hand squeezing so tightly around the bear tooth that the tip
punctured her palm, Willow saw him slowly turn around. She could
see his mouth open in a scream that died in his throat in terror.
Immediately, he disappeared from the scene.
"What happened? Where did he go?"
Wes couldn't stand it. It was like watching a movie and having the
film break at the last, crucial moment.
Willow sighed, "He woke up. That must be the point where he
always wakes up."
Looking again at the water, Willow tipped her head. That should
have been the end. The scene should have faded away, but it hadn't.
Willow leaned closer, her attention again focused.
"There, Wes, there did you see something? I thought I saw something."
Wes, too, caught movement. A shape. A shadow. Something.
"What is that?"
Willow asked as she too got on her hands and knees and scooted
closer, her nose now no more than an inch from the vague picture
in the water.
Suddenly a face, more mouth than features, black, threatening, knowing,
slammed itself against the side of the water from within. So near and
violent, both witch and watcher felt as though it may attack and rip
their faces from their bodies.
The force of the demon caused the water to explode, spraying both
shocked viewers with cold, wet liquid.
Willow screamed and fell back on the palms of her hands. With a
matching, unmanly screech, Wesley scrambled, crablike across the
floor to the safety of the corner of the small room.
The image was gone. Splattered and dripping off the noses of both
humans. When their breathing finally slowed, Willow's voice was the
first to return and she used it to express what the both felt.
"I think we just found our Nambulist."