Warnings: Strong sexual language and M/M sexual situations.
Disclaimer: The Bee freely admits she owns none of the characters in this story
and makes no profit. I simply borrow them, then hose them down before returning
them to the shelf for others to use.
Summary: AU. This story is a follow-up to Carnivale Mystique.
At the ending of Carnivale, Willow vowed to spend her life looking for her lost
friend and that is just what she has done. Now, after nearly 40 years, she and
the carnival cross paths again. Can she finally get the answers she needs and
protect her granddaughter from falling victim to the special allure of the carnival?
During the telling of this story will be flashback chapters that tell how Spike
and Xander adjusted to their roles of master and pet.
Note: If you haven't read Carnivale Mystique or have forgotten the story,
there is a prologue that contains a brief summary of the story. Use the tags
at the top of the page to find your way there.
Thanks and credit to silk_labyrinth for betaing the spelling, punctuation and
finding wandering boo boos.
ALL CHAPTERS HERE: http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=bmblbee&keyword=Dream+Catcher&filter=all
As always, thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for her friendship and her banners that
put the perfect visual to my words.
Hope stood with her arms crossed and gazed out the kitchen window that
looked out into the small garden area where she and her father spent countless
evenings sipping tea and talking of everything and nothing. It was a quiet life
that had no controversy or conflict. A peaceful existence that saw each day
flow into the next until the years had accumulated behind her.
Ten years ago she had been a mess. Growing up, her only strong parental
attachment had been with her father, and she had the impression from her earliest
recollection that her birth had not been planned or cheerfully anticipated by
She knew her father was considerably older than her mother and that he was retired
from a very influential position in the government, of sorts. It was never much
up for discussion and Hope resented that the past, apparently seeped in drama
and mystery, was something her parents shared and excluded her from, so she
was content not to ask.
Despite all that, her childhood had been a fairly happy one until she reached her
troubled teens and rebellious adulthood. While still in school, she began hanging
with an older crowd at the local pub, The Copper Pot. When she finished school,
her parents separated. It was only a physical separation as the emotional bond
had been broken long ago. At least that was the way Hope saw it.
Her mother returned to the States in search of something Hope could never identify.
Whatever Willow needed, it was not to be found in London or in her small family.
Hope sank into depression and continued to drink. When she turned twenty-one,
she left London with the intention of starting life anew in her mother's homeland.
What she found instead was true love. She discovered crystal meth. The next few
years were a fuzzy nightmare of drugs, prostitution, depression and attempts to get
clean. When she discovered she was pregnant, she did her best to pull it together.
She named the baby Alexandria because her mother had always said that if Hope
had been a boy, her name would have been Alexander.
It was a new start for her. Hope quit the drugs and found work in a truckstop
restaurant and, for a while, was doing the right thing. She located her mother's
address and considered going to see her, but wanted to wait. For what, she
was never sure.
But the lure of the meth was a constant whisper in her brain and a nudging in her
addicted body. It was offered as a tip by the truckers in exchange for more
than a hamburger and a cup of coffee and, on a weak night she finally relented.
For the next three years, she and her small daughter travelled first with one trucker
then another. Across the United States and back again. Living on handouts
and spare change, doing what she had to do for the drug.
The end came in Michigan when she awoke to find her latest boyfriend, Hank,
trying to coax a now six-year-old Xani into his bed. After splitting his head open
with a lamp, Hope took the child and begged a ride-along with another driver.
Together, they headed for the address in Ohio. She knew her filth and corruption
would taint the child forever if she kept her, and Xani deserved better.
The meeting went as expected. There were no wide-open arms, no loving
embraces or tears of regret, only questions tinged with accusation and
disappointment. Hope didn't care. Her mother's opinion of her couldn't be
any worse than Hope's opinion of herself. Willow saw this decision as a sign
of her daughter's failure and weakness but for Hope, it took all the strength
So, with money taken from Hank's wallet, she bought a ticket and returned to
her father. He put her in rehab and dried her out. When she emerged, she
was thin, tired and emotionally devastated, but she was clean and determined
to stay that way. Her father arranged for his old employers to pay her a small
stipend to care for him and, after ten years, that's still the life she lived.
Until now. Now, her usual habit of playing ostrich and sticking her head in the
sand when it came to her mother was not an option. She could hear an
urgency in her mother's voice. An urgency and something new. Something
she had never heard before. Fear. Her mother was afraid. Hope had never
known her mother to be afraid of anything and the revelation shook Hope right
down to her toes.
It was time for some answers to the questions she should have asked thirty years ago.
She was ready for the truth. With no more hesitation, Hope marched back into
her father's den only to find him again on the phone, arguing and frustrated.
"...I simply can't believe that! Nothing? Are you certain? Well, give me
the times for that and reserve two. Yes, yes I am well aware of that."
When he slammed down the receiver, Hope jumped. She took a step backward
and considered silently retreating, but this time she didn't.
"Dad, what's happening?"
"Oh, Hope my dear, I didn't hear you. Nothing. It's nothing."
Hope knelt down and took her father's frail hand, feeling the paper-thin skin as
she ran her thumb across his knuckles.
"What's going on, Dad? Why are you trying to book tickets for Mom and Xani to
come here? Are they in trouble? Who were you just talking to?"
Giles was old and tired but still full of the spunk and spark of a Watcher whose
charge was in peril. He cursed the failings of his physical body and longed for the
days when he could stand shoulder to shoulder with the heroes and fight the good
But those days were past, as were the power and influence of his former position.
The Watcher's Council now was a businesslike organization with its head more
CEO than rogue demon hunter. They were not someone he could call. He was
on his own.
"That was the airlines. Commercial flights are such a Nazi regime. They tell
you when you can fly and where to. Apparently due to financial cutbacks, there
are no more flights from Cleveland to the UK today. They do have one in the
reverse in about two hours but, as I pointed out to the young twerp, that does
me no good. I reserved two seats for the flight tomorrow but I fear...never
mind. I suppose they will have to come then."
Hope watched the expressions of fear and frustration that flickered in her father's
eyes and her concern grew by leaps and bounds. Suddenly, with a strength and
determination that surprised even her, Hope pointed to the phone.
"Call them back and get me on that flight. Then you come to my room while I
pack. It's time for the truth, Dad. I want the whole story and nothing held back.
And DON'T waste time arguing!"
As she turned on her heels and marched from the room, Giles' eyes lit up and
twinkled as they hadn't done in years. He had never doubted that this day would
come. Hope was his daughter. His flesh and blood. His and his beloved Willow's,
and he knew when the chips were down, she would step up to the plate swinging.
A wide grin broke out on his face as he did as he was told. He booked one ticket
to the US today and three open-ended tickets for the return trip. He then
braced himself on shaky, weak arms and pushed himself to his feet as his brain
scrambled to find the words of explaination that would help Hope to understand
When he entered her room, he found her tossing clothes wildly into a suitcase and
without looking up she tipped her head toward a small rocking chair in the corner.
So he did.