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.
Running a carnival, especially a mystical one, was not the piece of cake the great
slug Angelus made it appear. Of course his tactics of slaughter, rend and eat the
help were a bit on the archaic side and Xander chose a more subtle form of
control, which was probably one of his obstacles.
When it finally came down to it, he had no problem with kicking a human carny's
ass or dusting a fledge, but considering how many hands it took to keep a traveling
show this size operating successfully, he preferred more nonlethal methods.
Still, that lack of death threats meant that he had to be ever vigilant. He needed to
patrol the grounds constantly during their morning off-hours to make sure that the
drug use was not out in the open or that the copulation between species was not
happening in a spot that could be observed by a small child or law official sneaking
onto the lot for a peek behind the scenes.
This morning though, he felt like a million bucks. He had left his vampire master
in a puddle of spunk after a toenail-curling orgasm that satisfied his body, followed
by a lovely breakfast conversation that satisfied his mind and heart. The sun was
shining, it was now nearly noon and the cool autumn temperatures were warming
to a level of Indian summer.
There was nothing that could spoil Xander's wonderful mood today.
He whistled as he jauntily strolled past the closed booths that sold trinkets, cheap
jewelry and embroidered ball caps, pausing only long enough to reprimand the boy
that was supposed to be collecting all the litter and trash that had been left the night
before, telling him to also check under the trailers and behind the tents.
After securing a promise from the boy that he would do a more thorough job, Xander
moved on in the direction of the barns, pens and corrals that contained the animals,
both wild and domestic.
There he spotted Toad Penn leaning over the railing, smoking a cigarette and staring
down into the cat pit. Casually, Xander stepped alongside and lightly slapped the
old man on the back.
"How is he today?"
Toad shook his head, dropped his cigarette and ground it out with the toe of his worn
"Fuckin' cat just ain't comin' around, boss. After Tilly died and we picked up this
one and I figured a few weeks of training would have him calmed down and ready
to start picking up the basic tricks but so far, it ain't happening."
Xander watched the sleek, black cat as it glared at them and paced back and forth
in the deep cat pit. Xander was familiar enough with vicious predators to recognize
the look of blood hunger in its eyes.
"Where did it come from? Circus? Private collection?"
Toad snorted and scratched his nuts.
"Nah, some fuckin' idiot bought it as a kitten with the idea of keeping it in his
apartment. When it finally got so big and mean that it nearly ripped his dick off
one morning, he tried to dump it on a zoo but they wouldn't take it. We just
happened to be playing a town close by and I saw the advert in the locals.
Got him cheap enough but he still weren't no bargain."
Xander frowned. Give him a vampire or a Na'rkl demon anytime over an inbred,
wild, unpredictable cat. They were trouble that the carnival didn't need. Especially
if animal rights activists got wind of it and started poking their noses around. Last
time that happened they mistook Clem, who was passed out from a drunk, for a
deformed shar-pei dog and he woke up in a kennel with a bow taped to his forehead.
Spike got a hell of a good laugh over it, but Clem failed to see the humor and it
brought an attention to the show that no one relished. They had moved on early
"I know you are doing your best, Toad, but if he doesn't start to come around by the
end of this run, I think we may have to eliminate him."
Toad nodded his agreement, and although he hated the perception of personal failure,
he knew what boss Xander was saying was true. Xander gave him one last shoulder
pat as encouragement and he moved on.
He strode past the small tent that touted "Fortunes Read By The Amazing Tara"
and he thought fondly back on the days that Drusilla had been their palm reader
and tarot mistress. He chuckled as he recalled the marks that she predicted would
die that evening by vampire. The poor sod would be incredulous at the ridiculous
premonition. Xander had often wondered how foolish they must have felt when
those fangs pierced the jugular vein and the life drifted from their bodies.
Drusilla had been one of a kind. Although she was slightly insane, Xander had a
real fondness for her childlike mentality. After Angel left, she folded in on herself
and one night, simply wandered away. Soon after, Tara showed up asking for a job.
Spike hinted that she didn't smell entirely human but that was all right with Xander.
"Hi, boss. Beautiful weather, isn't it? It will stay this way for the rest of the week."
Xander walked over to where the shy, quiet blond was sitting in a folding chair
just outside her tent.
"Oh, yeah? And how do you know that? Did you see it in your crystal ball?"
Tara chuckled quietly and tipped her head down, causing her hair to tumble loosely
around her shoulders and fall around her face.
"No, actually, I heard the forecast on the radio."
Xander laughed easily and, with a nod, started to move on. When he did, she called
after him and the humor was gone from her voice.
"Xander. Be careful. Something is swirling in the air and you are its apex. Before
this week is out, you will be visited by visions of the past who do not mean you well."
Xander's stomach churned in undefined understanding and a dark cloud formed over
his head as he turned back to face her.
"Should we pack up and move on? Should we cut the run short?"
Tara slightly tipped her head and seemed to consider that option before sighing
and answering, giving careful measure to her words.
"Some foreknowledge may suggest many possible outcomes. Some are written
in stone. This resolution has been a long time coming and avoidance of it could
bring its own disaster. We can't walk around every dark tunnel, Xander. Some
of them have to be passed through to reach the other side."
Xander stood where he was and stared silently at her calm face. Years of living
with Drusilla had taught him the language of second sight and he had a farily
good translation of what Tara was saying. And he didn't like it. It was too
much of a coincidence to ignore that Willow and Xani, elements of his past life,
had suddenly materialized, and he knew that he was a fool to think that his curiosity
could be satisfied with no consequences.
"Um, yeah. Thanks Tara. I'll be vigilant and try not to step in any of the road apples
the elephants leave behind."
Tara smiled, although she easily read the tension in his forced cheer, and her ESP was
not necessary to know that Xander knew exactly what she was talking about. While
her foreboding was vague and undefined, she could tell that his interpretation of it was
clear and concise.
Xander's gaze darted off in the direction of the trailers at the far side of the lot and, for
a moment, he considered waking Spike again and talking to him about it but quickly
dismissed the idea. Spike would, as he always did when it came to Xander, overreact.
No, this was a situation best handled behind Spike's back. After all, if ignorance be
bliss, Xander liked his vampire master as blissful as possible.