bmblbee (bmblbee) wrote in bloodclaim,

Dream Catcher

Title: Dream Catcher
Author: BmblBee
Rating: NC17
Paring: S/X
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.


As always, thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for her friendship and her banners that
put the perfect visual to my words.

Willow drove across town, trying to keep her focus on the short list of the
necessary items she would need for their trip. Toothpaste, deodorant, tampax,
shampoo. All items she had in ample supply on the back shelf of the
bathroom closet.

No, what Willow needed more than toiletries was space and silence to think
and sort out the maelstrom that was whirling through her body and mind.

She was exhilarated with shocked excitement that she had, after all these years,
found not only the carnival but the actual vampire who had last seen her friend.
This is what she had devoted her entire life to. In fact, she had long ago all but
given up hope that this day would ever come, and now it has.

Just like in Kutter's Field, the carnival of vampires had appeared when she was
most complacent, but now she was ready. And she was certain that the blond
man had the answers that she needed. She could read in his expression that he
remembered Xander. The knowledge of her friend's fate was within her reach.

Unfortunately, competing with that joy was a gut-wrenching, nail-biting, anal-
clenching fear that delving any deeper into the complexities of the carnival could
put her granddaughter and herself in mortal danger. By going there, Xani had
already stepped into the perimeters of Hades and Willow had to ensure that she
was as physically far from the carnival as possible.

It was what she and Buffy and Giles should have done years ago. They should
have known what was happening and taken steps to prevent any of their friends
from going to the travelling show in the first place. But that was pointless conjecture.
20/20 hindsight that does no one any good. They acted on the information they had.
They reacted to the tragedies as they unfolded.

They had, all those years ago, stumbled blindly and stupidly into the vestige of hell
and it had cost them dearly.
She would not make that mistake again.

So, her choices were clear. She could do the smart thing, the adult and responsible
thing, and take Xani to London to mark the days until the evil had left town. Or she
could take this one last chance to achieve her life's quest.

Willow's mind was on everything but the road ahead. She recklessly cut off an old
woman in the intersection and answered the finger with a wave of apology, after which
she realized she had been sitting through two changes of the green light when the SUV
behind her laid on the horn. She was becoming the poster child for inciting road rage.

At that point, she pulled into the parking lot of the public library and she turned off
the key. Her hands gripped the wheel and she rested her forehead against it with
her eyes closed. 'What to do? What to do?' Her brain spun the question like a fine
golden thread until the fabric of it began to form a garment whose fit made perfect

She could do both. She blinked at the startling simplicity.

Immediately, she started the car and pulled back out into traffic as her brain scrambled
to devise a scenario that would make this plan appear plausible. It would take a bit of
acting which, luckily, she was no stranger to. In grade school, she had played the
part of a tree in a Winnie the Pooh production. Her reviews had been glowing.

Without conscious thought of her destination, Willow turned west and headed for the
outskirts of town as she continued to plot and scheme. Before she realized it, she was
pulling into the grassy field that had been converted into a temporary parking lot for the
duration of the carnival.

She again cut the engine and she grinned smugly at the silent, closed traveling show.
She squinted her eyes and she quietly whispered as her brain sparked and sizzled with
the fine points of her brilliant idea.

"I've got you now, you bastards."

'First things first,' she thought. 'I go home and fix Xani and me a nice lunch. If this is
our last day together, I don't want the memory she carries to be one of harsh words and
hurt feelings.'

The realization that she may have to forfeit her life for her granddaughter brought her
sorrow more than fear, but no regret. They would spend a day together. Really together.
Talking, sharing, and Willow would make sure Xani knew she was loved and cherished.
Then when the time came, they would go to the airport together but only one would
board. She would give the girl a letter of explanation and an apology to give to her
grandfather and, with a kiss and a hug, send her away.

That's when Willow's real plan would be set into motion. With a dozen prepared torches
in the trunk of the car, she would drive directly to the carnival. By then, it would be late
evening and the last of the crowd would be tiring of the fun and excitement, and the
grounds would be thinning out.

She would try one more time. She would seek out the blond man, the vampire in the
game booth and she would beg him for any information she could get. Perhaps he would
slip up and say something unintentionally that would give her a foothold. A new starting
point. It's a big world but if she only had a hint of where to start, it was more than she
could hope for.

In the end, it wouldn't matter. So much for the better if a misspoken word or an
accidental gesture or expression gave him away, but whether it did or not, the carnival
had come to the end of its run. After speaking to him, she would feign fear and rush
away leaving him to think she was just another frightened rabbit.
No threat. No danger.

She would return to her car and park it far from view, to wait. Wait until the last of the
revelers were gone. Wait until the lights were dimmed and the music was silenced.
And then she would make her move. It would not be like the last time. There would
be no running about like a stupid child trying to save any innocent humans who worked
the carnival alongside the demons and vampires.

She was older now. Older and wiser and she knew that none of the humans who
stood with the creatures from hell were innocent. If they escaped, fine. If not, well,
those were the casualties of war.

The blaze of the burning tents, wooden booths and trailers would paint the early morning
sky with an orange glow. It would signal and alert the local volunteer firemen that they
were needed, but she knew them all by name and reputation. By the time they roused
from bed or sobered sufficiently to drive the fire engines, the carnival would be a pile
of hot ash and she would be headed back to the airport to hop a later flight.

If the timing was right and the Gods were smiling, she would walk away unscathed
and they would not. If the reverse were to happen, well, it was probably just an
outcome 38 years in the making.

Willow sighed as she squinted at the waiting carnival. She caught a brief, passing
glimpse of a young, dark haired man walking across the lot and imagined he must
have been a human hired to guard the property while the monsters slept. She
shook her head in disgust that anyone could sink so low as to partner up with
despicable creatures like vampires.

So with a nod of her head, she again started her car and she knew it was time to go.
There were torches to make and fences to mend. She threw it in reverse and
began backing up, then again put her foot on the brake.

It had been years and miles between her and her Jewish upbringing, yet some things
stay with you forever. With a stern frown, Willow pointed her finger at the distant
carnival and she uttered an old Yiddish curse.

"Zol er krenken un gedenken!"*

Then, she drove away.

* Let him suffer and remember!

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