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.
As soon as Willow parked the car, the three women jumped out and acted
in concert as they rushed to the rear and waited while she popped the trunk lid.
Hope and Connie deferred to Willow in all decision making as she was obviously
the only one of them with genuine demon and vampire experience. It was a job
qualification neither of the other two ever considered needing.
Apparently they had been wrong.
"Here, each of you grab two of the torches and I will get the other two and the
gas can. We are going to head around to the eastern side of the field where the
spotlights don't shine and we will set up there. You will stay there, Connie, and
wait about five minutes after Hope and I go inside. Then I want you to soak
all of the rags on the ends of the torches in gasoline. The second the three of us
get back here, light the match and set them to flame. Hope, you will take two and
go to the rear of the encampment, Connie, you head for the tents over there and
I will go to the far western side. Do not burn the clown at the entrance. We must
leave that open for any humans that need an escape route. Also, and I know
you don't want to hear this, but whatever condition Xani is in at the time is not
our immediate concern. The destruction of the carnival is the main objective.
Connie stood on rubbery legs. Hell yes, she had questions! Questions like 'What
the fuck?' and 'Are you fucking kidding me?' came to mind first, but they were
immediately followed by 'Is this really happening?' although she found it humorous
that, for once, the question of 'Do these pants make my ass look fat?' was not
the most pressing point.
Hope, on the other hand, was more businesslike and efficient. After the long
conversation with her father, so much of the past 38 years made perfect sense and
when this was all over, she and her mother had some fence mending to do. They
might not be able to retrieve all those lost years, but Hope was determined not
to lose any more time with her own daughter or her mother.
After removing their torches, Willow again reached into the trunk and pulled out
two sharp wooden stakes, one of which she handed to Hope. It was a reality slap
that caused Hope's bowels to churn in fear. In an effort to appear strong and
confident, Willow ignored her daughter's reaction.
"Stick this in your pocket and when the time comes, don't be afraid to use it. Just
remember, hit the heart. If you miss, it will only piss them off and, believe me, a
pissed-off vampire is not of the good."
Without waiting for a reply, Willow began her march toward their point of preparation.
Her two helpers trudged along wordlessly behind. When they arrived at a location
that most met Willow's specifications, she set down the can. She then stabbed her
torches into the ground so that they stood straight up and the other women copied
her, placing the torches in a tight round ring that resembled a medieval fortification.
When everything seemed ready, Willow took both Hope's hand and Connie's and
nodded for them to do the same. Then, standing in a circle around the wooden
torches, Willow bowed her head.
"I call to the Goddess of protection. We pray that you watch over us and bring us
safely through tonight. We ask that the fire consumes the evil and cleanses the earth.
We pray that our daughter and friend, Alexandria, falls under your golden wings and
that no harm touches her while she is entrenched in the sadistic vile presence of the
In unison, the other two whispered, "Amen."
Phil leaned against the support pole at the side of the freaks tent and watched with
curiosity as the three figures walked across the parking lot and off into the darkness.
In fact, the lack of functional lighting was the exact reason he often selected this area
for his slack time.
He found that if he didn't sneak away and hide for a few hours, the fucking owner
of this travelling dump would always find some piddly-ass little chore to keep him
busy. And the worst part, the thing that really chaffed him was the fact that the
owner himself wasn't even the one that tossed about those fucking commands.
No, he always ended up being bitched at by the master's fucking human pet.
Talk about insulting! It was like a pit bull taking orders from a fucking chihuahua!
The wind shifted slightly and carried the scent of the interlopers across Phil's
sensitive nose and he shuddered in delight. Humans. Women. Three of them,
and one is on the monthly bleed. "Holy fuck," he muttered. "I didn't know this
fucking town had a delivery service."
Quickly, he darted back into the carnival grounds to round up some friends for the
picnic that was being set up for them.
Although whispered softly, Spike and Xander jumped apart and both their heads
snapped to the side of the intrusion. Immediately, Xander recognized her.
"Xani? What are you...."
Looking down, Xander saw the suitcase she had been carrying and the look of
devastation on her face. Spike's expression was one of total confusion as he looked
back and forth between the strange girl and his boy.
"Xander? You know this girl? Who is she? What does she want?"
Xani dropped her head and she took a step backward. She was heartbroken and
humiliated and wished the earth would open up in a huge crater and swallow her
"Nothing. I...I don't want.... I made a mistake. I'm sorry, I...."
By now, Spike had picked up on the gist of the situation and he whooped with
laughter before he was soundly smacked on the back of the head.
"Real nice, Spike. Very sensitive. You can be such an ass sometimes."
Spike scowled as he rubbed the spot where his pet had struck him.
Quickly, Xander hurried over to where she stood, trying to fold in on herself, and
he picked up her suitcase with one hand and placed the other on the small of her
back, nudging her forward.
"Come on. Let's go over to my trailer where we can sit and have a bit of a chat.
I think I even have some cocoa mix in the cupboard. It's chilly out here and I
could use some hot chocolate."
Xani allowed him to guide her away despite her urge to run, find a rock and climb
under. Spike reached down and adjusted the erection that had not yet gotten
the memo to abort, and he watched them go with suspicion and unease.
There was something familiar about the girl, something that made his teeth itch.
It was obvious that his Xander was well aquatinted with her, yet he had never
mentioned her. Spike growled low in his throat. The red hair, the green eyes and
the resemblance to the old woman was too much to be a coincidence.
Spike took a step forward as he tried to decide whether or not to follow.
"Hi. Can we play?"
Spike's face snapped around. His eyes and fangs shifted to vampire before quickly
returning to human, sending the potential customers screaming off into the night.
Xander fussed around the small kitchen, heating the water and scooping spoonfuls
of cocoa mix into their cups. He was incredibly relieved that Spike had actually
pulled the curtain that blocked their bedroom from the rest of the trailer He knew
one peek back there would probably damage her psyche for life.
Xani sat silently. She glanced up now and then when he wasn't looking and wondered
how on earth she could have been so off the mark. Humiliation kept her mute and
nearly paralyzed. She couldn't have found the strength to make a run for it if the
trailer had burst into flames.
When she was not watching him, her eyes darted around the small space. This was
where he lived. And from the different sized shoes by the door and the number of
cups in the sink, he did not live here alone. She may be dense, but she didn't need
a bloodhound sniffing a pair of dirty boxers to track down the other person who
called this place home.
Finally, when he thought he had given her enough time to recover, Xander set their
steaming cups down and he sat across from her.
"So, it looks like I owe you an apology. Xani, I'm sorry if you thought...."
"No! No, it was my fault. You didn't do anything wrong. I just.... I mean you
seemed so nice and spent all that time asking about me and I thought.... Oh, crap."
Xani picked up the cup and swallowed her jumbled words and her pride as she
gulped the rich foamy chocolate. For now she was holding it together, but she
knew by tonight she would be sobbing in her grandmother's arms.
Xander felt like shit. He never meant to hurt her and hadn't considered the
impression he was giving. All he was focused on was his own curiosity about his
childhood friend, and in the wake of that selfishness he had broken an innocent
heart. Reaching across the table, he placed his hand over hers and he spoke
quietly and sincerely.
"Xani, the mistake is mine. I gave you the wrong idea and I was thoughtless. I
am so sorry. I should have told you about Spike. He and I have been together
for... well, it seems like forever and I love him very much. Someday when you
are ready, you will find the one person in the world that is special just for you."
Xani lifted her eyes.
"Spike is the blond guy?"
"Yeah, that's him."
"He is very cute."
"Yeah he is, but don't let him hear you say that. It will go to his head."