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.
Monday morning at Sunnydale High was anything but sunny. Homeroom
bell rang as the last of the stragglers found their seats and quietly settled in.
The huge elephant in the room was the empty seat where Larry should have
been slouched, belching and tossing about rude and nasty comments. None
of the others would look in the direction of the empty chair.
Solemnly, Mr.Heebert went through his morning routine. It was obvious
to everyone that he skipped his declaration at the end. When he returned,
he paused by Xander's seat, almost hoping the boy would break the tension
with one of his inane, stupid comments.
Xander glanced over at Willow. She sat, head down and hands in her lap.
Glancing behind him, he spotted Buffy who was frantically texting someone
on her phone and Jesse who was staring at Buffy's chest as it bounced
slightly while her thumbs flew over the pad.
As his eyes scanned the rest of the room, Xander was suddenly struck by
another sight that gripped his throat and caused the blood to pound in his ears.
Before the filter between his brain and mouth could kick in, he spouted.
Mr. Heebert's eye went directly to the other vacancy. He was too startled
to point out Xander's faux paus.
Uncharacteristically, Mr. Heebert stuttered and fussed.
"Um, get out your books. Turn to chapter, ah, oh, what the hell. Just
study something. I'll be back."
With that he rushed from the room. For all of 30 seconds, the class was
dead silent before erupting into a chaotic flurry of everyone comparing
notes, sharing gossip and developing their own theory as to what the hell
type of evil had befallen Sunnydale. Xander was amazed that no one
seemed to connect it to the carnival....yet.
Buffy scooted up to crouch between Willow and Xander.
"Have you heard anything? Has anyone seen Harmony?"
Willow glanced at Xander hoping he would read the 'please don't say
anything' in her eyes. He did. With a shrug, he turned to Buffy.
"Hell, Harm skips school more often than I do. I think it's too early
to worry about her. The cops still don't know where Larry is?"
Buffy shook her head causing her ponytail to swing from side to side. It was
an action that worked like a croked finger. Immediately, Jesse slithered
up to join them and listen as she continued.
"Nah, and it has my Mom all in a tither, but, she does have a point. Maybe
till this is settled, we should all stay in at night."
The three friends all looked back and forth between them. Each had
their own thoughts they didn't want to share.
The remainder of the morning passed quickly. Each classroom they
sat through focused on the subject of police investigators, questions, and
urban legends of missing teenagers. None of the teachers seemed concerned
with the lack of study as they too, were interested in the discussions and
When lunch period finally arrived, Willow, Jesse and Xander met up at their
lockers, sack lunches in hand. Willow clutched her brown bag to her chest.
"Let's go out in the courtyard. Has anyone seen Buffy?"
Xander glanced around at Willow's question. He hadn't seen their friend
since shorty after homeroom but, if he thought about it, he had a pretty good
idea of where she could be found.
"You guys go ahead. I'll find her and we will catch up."
Jesse and Willow nodded and headed out for a seat in the sun as Xander
started down the main hallway toward the school's library.
As soon as he walked through the double doors, Xander could hear what
sounded like angry voices. Quietly, he crept in, following the sound to
the back office of the head librarian. There he stood to the side and
"...told you not to go back there so soon."
"How the hell else was I supposed to do it, Giles? The only way I could
find out was to go the office trailer and look through the paperwork."
"Did you at least have a stake and a bottle of holy water with you?"
"For heavens sake, Giles. I'm the Slayer. I kill vampires. I know
what the hell I'm doing."
Giles sighed and Xander could hear him pace around the room.
"Fine, fine, so what did you find?"
Xander could now hear the excitement in her voice as she conveyed the
results of her midnight trip to the carnival and he was stunned to realize how
close she had come to catching him there. He didn't know why that made
him feel so guilty, but it did. Leaning closer, he strained to hear not wanting
to miss a thing she said.
"Well, luckily there was no one around but I did find a lot of invoices and
permits. They all listed the carnival's owner as Liam O'Connor. So,
apparently, you were right. Our little traveling show is not only infested with
demons and vampires, it is apparently owned and operated by one of the
oldest and most powerful vampires in the world."
Three days ago, Xander would have heard this and laughed, thinking
his leg was being pulled, but now, strange as it was, he had a sickening
feeling that it was all true.
His brain scrambled for known facts to match the word. He came up
with visions of black and white movies where men turn to bats, bite women
on the neck and sleep in coffins.
He wondered if that could be Spike.
He wondered if he had lost his mind.
Quietly, Xander backed away and slipped from the library.
Innovative story concept.
Title 'Cabin Fever'
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