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.
Xander grabbed her elbow and started to lead her back in the direction
she had come, but Willow would not be persuaded and she jerked her
arm back, breaking contact.
"No! I'm telling you he is here. Now, if you are that scared, go home, but
I'm not leaving till I find him."
Xander was frantic and quickly getting pissed off at her stubbornness. Why the
hell, out of 18 years did she have to grow a metaphorical set now?
"How can you know that? What the hell makes you so sure?"
With just a moments hesitation, Willow removed the hand she had hidden
behind her. When she uncurled her fingers, she showed her friend what
she held. It was a small crystal. Chiseled and polished, it was the size of
a silver dollar with eight sides and it fit neatly in her delicate, small hand.
Staring at it, Xander was stunned to see that although the crystal itself
seemed to be clear, it glowed with a pulsing, throbbing blue light that pierced
the darkness that surrounded them.
Xander shook his head and, much to Willow's surprise, barked out a laugh.
"Jesus Fuckin' Christ. Can tonight get any weirder?"
Her mouth fell open and her body flooded with fury. Her fingers again closed
around the crystal in a tight fist but before she could speak, something caught
her eye that stopped her in her tracks and dissolved her anger. It was one small,
almost invisible tear that rolled down Xanders' face.
"Xander? What is it? Do you know something?"
Xander shook his head.
"No. All I know is that we shouldn't be here. Please, Willow, let's just go."
Willow paused. She stared at her old friend silently and knew that this was a
turning point. Did she turn her back on her beliefs and go with him or was this
where she took a stand?
For the first time in her life, she felt strong, calm and confident. She smiled
"You're right, Xan, it probably isn't safe. You go on home and I'll see you
tomorrow. I love you but I can't leave. Larry is here and I need to find him."
Xander had never seen her look like this and he knew there was no dissuading her.
The best he could do was go along and make sure she was safe. If it cost him his
life, he would not allow her to be turned into the broken sickening creature that Larry
With a sniff and a swipe of his sleeve over his face, Xander nodded.
"Fine. Which way?"
Relief, pride and jubilation swept through her. Holding out her hand, she turned
in all direction till, like a divining rod, the crystal pointed the way with an increased
color and pulse. Xander didn't need to look. He already knew which way it pointed.
Now, together and conspiratorially, the two friends held hands and darted off
following the spelled magic she held in her hand. Unsure what they would do or
say once they reached Spike's tent, Xander's only concern was now that Willow
not see the huddled mess that used to be Larry Fine.
"Come on, hurry, this way. Look, Xander, see how bright the crystal is? He must be
near. He has to be here."
"Well, well, what have we here?"
The familiar greeting shot through Xander's body and he instinctively pulled Willow close.
The two friends skidded to a stop and stared at the man who stood before them. Spike
leaned against the outside tent pole and lit a cigarette. He was naked from the waist up,
his jeans unsnapped and partly unzipped leaving no doubt that he and underwear were not
on speaking terms.
"Shouldn't you two kiddies be tucked safely in your little beds at this time of night?"
Spike circled the two intruders, giving no indication that he had ever met Xander before.
Pulling away from her protective friend, Willow held out her closed fist and wore a hard
look of certainty.
"Larry is here. I know it and I want to see him."
Spike's eyebrows shot up in surprise as he sniffed the electric air of magic around
the redhead. With a chuckle, he shook his head.
"Sorry, Love, but I don't know any Larry. I believe you are mistaken."
Quickly, Xander stepped up.
"See, Willow, he isn't here. We should......"
"No! I'm not leaving till I see!"
"Well, then Love, if it's a look you want, it's a look you shall have."
Grinning broadly, Spike tipped his head and with a flourish, swept back the flap
of his tent. He then stepped aside and motioned for Willow to enter.
Xander's brain screamed at him. He knew it would kill her to see the broken and
bloody boy that they had known since kindergarten. Hurrying forward, Spike
quickly positioned himself between Xander and the disappearing back of his friend.
With a wink and a leer, Spike whispered.
"Seems your little girlfriend is very determined. Wonder if she has found what
Xander whimpered and shoved Spike away from him. He then rushed in, terrified of
what he would find. There standing in the center of the tent of horrors, was Willow.
Alone. Xander spun in a circle. There was no trace or sign that Larry had ever
been there. Willow stared at her open palm. The crystal laid there, clear and inactive.
It no longer throbbed and could have been a cheap piece of worthless, clear glass.
"I don't understand. I was so sure. It just stopped."
"Come on, Willow. It's late. We can talk about this tomorrow."
Xander again took her arm. He knew now she would go. Looking down, he
saw that he was standing in a small pile of dust and he wanted desperately to brush it
off his shoes. Something Spike had said earlier stuck in his mind and he knew
without a doubt that Larry would never be found.
Reluctantly, Willow allowed herself to be led away as Spike stood outside his tent
watching, laughing. When they had disappeared into the night, he stepped back inside.
"They're gone, Pet. It's safe to come out."
Cautiously, the scantily dressed blond stepped out from behind the curtain partition.
"Wow, that was close."
"You hurt my feelings, Love. I might get the impression you are ashamed to be
seen with old Spike."
"Oh, no, not at all. It's just that they are such tattle tales. What did they want
"Nothin' to concern yourself with. Now what did you say your name was?"
The blond flipped her hair and stuck out her chest.
"Harmony. My name's Harmony. Hey you look kind of funny. You o.k?"
Spike smiled sweetly.
"Just a bit peckish, Love. Haven't eaten a bite all day."
"Oh, wow, sorry, you want to go get something?"
"Not to worry, Pet. I've already ordered take away and I plan on eating very soon."