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.
BONUS: Check here for info on how to participate in next month's
experimental story idea! Don't be left out!
As always, thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the banners that put the perfect
visual to my words.
"Hey! There you guys are. Scoot over."
Buffy waited till Willow wiggled around on the bench seat and she dropped
down, opening her lunch sack a grabbing for her turkey and swiss.
Willow smiled apologetically
"We waited for you. Xander even went looking but he said you were
MIA, so we figured we would wait out here."
Buffy immediately turned a suspicious eye towards her friend. She
studied his apparently unconcerned chewing pattern and tried to
discern any change in the blank look his eyes always carried.
"That right? I must have just missed you. Where all did you look?"
Xander tried to supress the shudder that ran through him. It was all
becoming overwhelming and all he wanted to do was toss down his
sandwich and run. He wanted to run as hard and as fast as he could till
he slipped through the time warp continuum and find himself back in the
middle of last week when everything was still normal and safe.
But he knew it was too late for that. The time of his innocence had passed.
For now, and until he could understand his position in this reality, Xander
held his cards close to his chest.
"Um, let's see...." He took another bite and slowly chewed.
"I looked in the gym. No Buff. I looked on the second floor bathrooms.
Course I DIDN'T go in. No Buff. Theeeen, I passed by the media room.
Ditto on the lack of Buffage. So I came out here figuring I missed you."
Buffy watched his eyes, monitored his breathing, pulse and perspiration
with her enhanced senses. Xander was hard to read. On the surface
he appeared calm and uninterested, but there was some slight........
Buffy jumped and realized Willow was standing over her impatiently.
"I said come on. The warning bell rang and we need to get back inside."
With a mental shrug, Buffy relaxed. If Xander had seen or heard anything
he would be shouting it from the room tops. She glanced at the rest of her
lunch and decided she wasn't hungry after all. Tossing her half a sandwich
back in the bag, she set it in the wall for someone else to dispose of. Afterall,
she was the Slayer, not a janitor.
Hanging back, Jesse watched as his three friends walked, arm in arm, chatting
in quiet, subdued tones, back in the school building. He had carefully watched
Buffy as she stared at Xander. The seeds of his concern sprouted leaves and grew
in his brain. The affirmation stunned him. 'Buffy and Xander are involved!"
Suddenly everything made sense. All the times Jesse had a shot at Buffy and
Xander blocked it. All the discouraging things Xander had said. He couldn't
believe it, but it was true. His life long friend was playing him for a fool.
Jesse balled up his fists as his temper flaired. Vivid pictures flashed in his
brain of his best friend fucking his girl. He could see them doing all the
odd things and positions he wanted to try.
He was shocked at the betrayal.
Jesse stopped and watched their backs disappear into the milling crowd of
students and he resolved to make them both pay.
By the final 3 pm bell, both students and teachers had given up any pretense
of learning. Xander had spent the time thinking about what to do next.
He knew the right thing to do was go to Mr. Giles, who apparently had
some expertise in the bizarre world of vampires and the even stranger world
of Buffy. He should tell him everything he knew about Larry and Spike and
let them do what ever it is they do.
Then, Xander decided he was not yet ready to take that step.
Spike confused and scared the hell out of him, but Xander was not going to
point an accusitory finger at him. Not yet.
Rushing home from school, he darted down to his basement bedroom and
dusted off the old computer that sat on a corner desk by the clothes dryer.
Then, with the companionship of a cold Dr. Pepper and a couple of
Twinkies, he fired it up.
Just as a starting point, he Googled 'Vampires'. Xander was stunned to see
the thousands of sites listed. Everything from 'myths and legends' to 'modern
day goth clubs'. Xander sat back, cracked his knuckles and gave it some
thought. He wished Willow was here. She was the best at research. But this
was one homework assignment he would have to do himself.
Finally, Xander decided to start with 'the history of...' and move forward
to present day. He also was shocked to find a wealth of information on
'Vampire Slayers'. With a school notepad at his side, he dove in.
The entire subject was fascinating. Hours passed like minutes and each
site Xander visited added a scrap more of info to the ever growing picture
he was forming of the world of demons that apparently coexisted with the
oblivious human world.
6 hours later and Xander's eyes had grown heavy, yet he was reluctant to stop.
He continued to stare at the grainy, small monitor till his head tipped forward and
his chin hit his chest. Exhausted, he fell asleep.
"Huh? Wha? Huh?"
Xander jerked awake at the sound. He found his computer had gone into
sleep mode and the room was bathed in darkness. The sun had set and he
had dozed off without turning on any lights. Glancing around, everything
seemed normal. He raised his arms high over his head and stretched
the kinks out of his back.
This time his conscious mind pinpointed the strange sound and his head
snapped around toward the basement window. Cautiously, he eased out
of his chair and crept forward. It was dark out. No moon, no stars, the
sky was overcast, blocking out all forms of illumination and all Xander
could see was the mirror reflection of his own face.
Just as he was beginning to think he had been mistaken, he saw it.
A long, thin, seemingly bodiless finger that reached out and tapped
on the dirty glass directly in front of his face.
Xander jumped straight in the air.
"Open the window Xander."
Immediately, Xander knew. He recognized the tone, the accent, the voice
and two word, interspersed and exchangeable bounced in his brain.
'Spike. Vampire. Vampire. Spike.'
"Open the window and invite me in, Xander."
"No. I know what you are. Go away."
This time the voice was more insistent.
"Xander. Open the window. Now. And invite me in."
Against his better judgement, and until the day he died, Xander could not
fathom the reason behind what he did next.
He opened the window.