Disclaimer: I own none of the characters or products named in this
story and make no profit from it.
Summary: A mysterious carnival appears on the outskirts of Sunnydale.
Despite the sudden disappearance of townspeople and pets, Xander is
intrigued and wants a closer look. What he gets is more than he could
This story is based on a suggested story idea from the lovely Mystic Oblivion.
As always, thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the banners that put the perfect
visual to my words.
Buffy stood, quiet as a mouse and listened at her bedroom door.
Tipping her head, she could hear her Mother moving around in the kitchen
below. Her Slayer sense of hearing detected the clink of the silverware
as Joyce stacked it in the dishwasher and even the sigh of disgust as she
tried to rinse the dried milk from the glass Buffy had forgotten in the den.
She knew her Mother was a creature of habit and after cleaning the
kitchen, would finish the laundry before shutting off all the lights, locking
the doors and calling it a day.
After complaining of monthly cramps, Buffy had kissed her Mother on the
cheek and told her she was turning in early. Now, however, sleep was the
last thing on her mind.
After considering the situation from all angles, she and Giles had come
to the agreement that before making a final plan of attack, they had to
know exactly who they were up against. They needed to know who
the owner of the Carnivale Mystique really was.
Quickly and silently, Buffy moved around her room. She stuffed pillows
in her bed, just in case Joyce peeked in, and she slipped the bulb out of her
Tinkerbell night light.
After taking one last glance around, she crept to her bedroom window,
slid it open and crawled out, pushing off and landing, cat like on both feet
on the soft ground below. Without hesitation, she ran.
Looking up into the night sky, she knew it was nearly midnight and figured
she would be back home no later than 1. It was a simple assignment.
Slip in, snoop around, slip out. No sweat. Which was of the good as
Buffy hated to sweat.
"Whoa! Hey, watch where you're going. Well, it's a good thing I didn't
step around that corner any sooner or you would have knocked me down.
What the heck is a little girl like you doing out alone at this time of night
Buffy swerved and skidded to a stop just a fraction of an inch from the
incredibly handsome man who had nearly crashed into her. Immediately,
she took a step back to put some space between them. And she stared.
He was amazing. Dark hair and darker eyes. His body was big. Stronger
and more filled out than the silly boys she knew from school. He was
everything the romance novels told her to look for and her body reacted.
Her heart pounded, her face blushed and the crotch of her panties clung to
her, sticky and warm.
The man tipped his head back and inhaled deeply.
"Mmmmmm. That smells so sweet."
Buffy sniffed, turning her head in several directions.
"Oh, just the night air. Speaking of which, what Are you doing out here?"
The question jogged her memory, and Buffy started, reluctantly, to move away.
"Oh, just out for a walk. People walk all the time in Sunnydale. It's safe.
Speaking of people, I know almost everyone in town but I don't know you.
What did you say your name was?"
Falling in step beside her, he knew exactly where they were headed.
"Oh, I'm just in town to visit some friends. My name's Angel. And you
Buffy giggled. 'Angel' It was just the perfect name for such an angelic face.
"Buffy. My name's Buffy."
Suddenly, Angel stopped walking and turned, offering his hand.
"Well, Buffy, it was wonderful meeting you but this is where we must
part. I'm afraid I'm late and......"
Buffy knew she should be relieved. She had business, Slayer business
and a romantic moonlight stroll was, unfortunately, not on the agenda.
Still, she was reluctant to go.
"Oh, sure. Me too. It was really nice to meet you, Angel. Maybe we
will run into each other again sometime."
Buffy reached for his offered hand, but instead of shaking it, Angel bent at
the waist and gallantly kissed the backs of her fingers with surprisingly
cold lips. The combination of the act and the temperature sent a shiver
through her and he answered.
"Oh, I'm sure we will. In fact, I insist on it."
Then, with a smile and a wink, Buffy watched as the man of her dreams
walked off into the dark night and disappeared.
She whispered the name into the damp night air before turning her attention
back to the task at hand. Clearing her head, she again took off, dashing for
the vast open field at the end of town.
Crouching in the foliage at the cusp of the woods, Willow stared toward
the cluster of tents and shanties. The lights on the rides were slowly shutting
down and the awnings of the booths closing up. She knew it wasn't too
late to turn and go home. Other than being out, alone at this ungodly
hour, she hadn't done anything foolish, yet.
Still, she made no move to stand.
She had done a locator spell earlier tonight and she was positive that
it indicated Larry was down there. Somewhere hidden in one of those
tents, trailers or shacks. Against his will or with it, he was there.
She had done the spell a dozen times before, just for practice. Dangling
the blue crystal on a silver thread over a map of Sunnydale, she had
quickly pin pointed each of her friends, then with a phone call, verified
her accuracy. After some early missteps, she had the spell perfected.
She knew she was right.
The only problem was that no one else knew. Telling her strict Jewish
parents was out of the question. Xander would think she had flipped
her lid and Buffy blew her off as a dingbat when ever she mentioned
magic. Willow desperately wished she had an adult she could talk to
about this. Someone who understood. Someone who could guide and
encourage her, but the fact was, there was no adult like that in Sunnydale.
A couple time she had thought of talking to the school librarian, Mr. Giles.
Buffy spent a lot of time with him and he always seemed very nice and
patient. But it was hard. How do you even broach a subject like that?
"Hi, Mr. Giles, I'm a Wicca. What do you know about magic?"
Willow shook her head. No, that was not at all feasible.
So here she sat. Watching and waiting while the carnival closed up for the
night. Waiting for her chance to slip down into Kutters' Field for a look around.
If she could find any evidence, any indication of where Larry was, she would
immediately take it to that nice Officer Werstler.
She would save Larry.
She would be touted as Sunnydale's heroine.
She and her magic would be taken seriously and finally shown respect.