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
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named in this story. I do, however own an unused treadmill. If you
want to sue for that, help yourself.
This chapter sent, along with a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to the lovely Purpledodah.
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Giles was stacking his cup and saucer on the counter next to
the sink when Willow and Wesley entered the kitchen.
"Well, there you two are. I was beginning to think we would
have to send the hounds out to..... Willow? Are you shaking?
What happened? Was there a problem with the spell?"
Giles quickly took her by the arm and led her to the nearest chair.
The look of alarm on her face was matched by the trembling he felt
coursing through her small body.
Once she was settled, the older Watcher gave her a hot cup of coffee
and a chance to collect her thoughts. Finally, after a good five minutes,
she set her cup down and took a deep breath, she glanced over at
Wesley who had sat across from her.
His pale face and wide eyes told her that there had been no distortion
of the water, no mistake of a shadow. The demon was very much
there and the scarey part was that they knew he saw Willow just as
clearly as she saw him.
Although Wesley had also seen the demon, he was anxious to
hear her take on it. Vampires were his comfort zone and he had
no experience with killing a demon you couldn't touch.
Immediately Andrew began his notes.
Finally, Willow pushed aside her empty cup and began, her hands
folded in her lap.
"Well, first, the spell worked. Very well. We both saw the
Nambulist demon and I gotta say, wow, Giles, he's scary as
H, E, double toothpicks."
Wesley actively nodded his agreement and took another gulp of tea.
"She's right, Rupert. I've done some research on them but facts are
few and far between. Nothing I read could have prepared me for
what we saw. Have you ever come across one before?"
Giles rinsed his cup, dried his hands and sat down beside them.
"Yes, once, years ago even before Sunnydale. I was a young man
and an older watcher, along with the slayer of the time, was sent to
dispatch it. I did assist with the pre-slay research but I was in no
position to participate in the actual disposal. What I do know is this,
Nambulists live in a dream dimension that intersects with ours. They
are like ghosts, incorporial, lacking in substance and solid form. They
cruise, passing through as we sleep, always coming and going. At
that time they can reach into our thoughts and they use that information
to build scenarios in our dreams. Most are harmless pranksters,
jokesters that tell us we are attending Council functions naked or that
we are caught in our office with.........,"
Giles eyes darted back towards Andrew, then returned to the two
sitting at the table with him and he continued.
".... anyway, some Nambulist are drawn to people who are very sexual
or sexually repressed and they seep into their minds causing their bodies
Wesley blushed at the reminder of the number of times he had awakened
with his boxers wet and stuck to his body. Glancing over, he noticed
Willow also diverting her eyes as she considered how, what Giles was
saying, fit with the impressions she received.
"That makes sense. Giles, this demon tried to frighten us off. I got a
definite feeling of ownership, of possession. I think maybe once it found
it's way into the nightmares Xander has, it was attracted by the strength
of them. It feeds off the negativity and with each episode it grows
stronger. Now, it almost feels like it has set up home there and is
violently protecting it's territory."
Giles clasped his hands on the table.
"That would explain why it seemed that Xander had summoned it. His
night terrors emitted such negative energy that it actually called to the
Nambulist. It would appear that the demon is now taking steps to feed
that negativity. Keeping Xander's fear and anxiety level elevated makes
the dreams stronger and in turn makes the demon stronger. It is a viscous
cycle that must be broken, and although we will help and support him,
Xander is going to have to be the one to do it. Could you tell from the
dreams what his fear is that controls the negative energy?"
"It's the night of the fall. His nightmares and fears are still trapped
in the past. In college I took a class in psychology and learned about
the negativity of repression. I think that Xander's attempts to deny
and forget the horrors of his past have made the dreams his mind's way
of reconciling and dealing with that part of him."
All of this made sense to Wes, but some things he didn't understand.
"What about the missing men? Are they dead? What happened to
them and how did the Nambulist do it and why?"
With no answers of her own, Willow, too, looked to Giles who, after
some thought, tried to reason it out.
"Well, using Willow's hypothesis, I think the demon has now gained enough
strength to enter into our waking world for brief spurts of time. I believe
it has targeted men who gave Xander happiness and removed them
to prevent Xander from slipping the grip of the negative energy that is
surrounding him. The Nambulist has banked it's entire being on the
negative energy of Xander's dreams. If the nightmares end, the
Nambulist dies. I don't think it has the ability to kill but the men could
be trapped, suspended between dimensions. I have an idea about
what must be done, but I'm afraid none of us is going to like it."
Reaching over, Giles tore off a sheet of paper from Andrew's note pad.
He pulled a pen from his pocket and he began jotting down the names
of ingredients and spells then slid the paper across to Willow with
"I want you to research and prepare these spells. Spike should have
Xander here in just a couple hours and I would like for it to be done
by then. We will explain the situation to Xander and he will have to
understand how important it is that he do this.
Willow picked up the paper and her eyes got big.
"Oh dear Lord, Giles! This is a..........."
"I know what it is, Willow, now, I suggest you get started."
Angel rolled over in the soft bed and scratched his flaky stomach as he
came slowly awake. He cracked his eyes open just enough to see
where he was. He knew from past personal experience that sometimes
a superhero will drink too much and wake up in strange places.
As soon as his eyes scanned the room he remembered. This was the
hotel. This was Spike's bed. Spike was not in it. Sadly, neither was
Wes. Angel felt discouraged, downhearted. He was sure that when Wes
saw him he would rush to him.
All would be forgiven. All would be forgotten.
For the first time, Angel had to consider the possibility that maybe this
would not work out at all. Maybe when the demon was destroyed,
Wes would return to London and Angel would return to LA, alone.
Tossing back the covers, Angel swung his feet over the side of the bed
with such speed and determination that the rubber ducky flew out from
between his legs and hit the floor with a splat.
"I refuse to give up! Would the Green Lantern walk away from Kato?
Would the Lone Ranger leave Tonto? Would Quick Draw McGraw
go home without Babalooie? Hell no! And I won't end this without
Wes back where he belongs. Why? Because I'm ANGEL and I
help the helpless and......"
Angel rested his elbows on his knees and dropped his face into his hands.
"......without Wesley, I'm helpless."