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.
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.
Despite the slight nip of impending winter in the air, it had become a perfect
autumn night. The clouds had passed and the moon and stars twinkled
happily as the backdrop for reunion.
Xander and Willow sat on a bumpy rock near the tree line at the edge of the
field. He sat with his arm around her both to keep her warm and as a solid proof
of his reality. Peeling her off of him earlier as she sobbed his name had been
no small chore, but now she seemed calmer though no less confused.
Hope and Xani stood off to the side. They were engaged in an animated squeefest
of giggles, waved arms, and a nonstop litany of one story after another in an attempt
to pack ten missing years into precious minutes for fear this magic moment may
disappear in a blink of the eye.
Patiently waiting for her accompaniment on the walk back to the car, Connie
turned to the blond man beside her. He had a stern scowl on his face, his arms
were crossed over his chest and it was evident that his wait was less than patient.
"This may take a while. They all have a lot of catching up to do."
Spike huffed and sneered in disdain at the chubby pup beside him. What did she
know of life and love? He briefly considered eating her right on the spot just to
get Xander's attention away from that redheaded bitch who had him cornered,
but decided against it. His sensitive ears shuddered at the thought of the other
females shrieking at him in that high-pitched tone they get. No, it appeared that
for now he was stuck. No way was he leaving this field without Xander, and no
way was Xander leaving his sight.
"So, whatta ya want ta do while we wait?"
Spike blinked in amazement that she had the nerve to speak to him again.
"I don't want to do anything, young lady. Why don't you toddle on?"
Connie watched as he made little 'shoo shoo' motions with his hands. They really
were nice hands. Small, soft, almost feminine. Her eyes roamed up his taut,
muscular body. Despite the consistent series of ugly expressions, the face was
"Hey, you wanna go somewhere and make out?"
Spike jumped straight in the air and let out one of those high-pitched screams he
had been trying to avoid. He stumbled several steps backward as if being pursued
by an army of hell hounds nipping at his heels. His arm flew up and an accusatory
finger pointed directly at her nose.
"BACK! Back, I say. Don't you dare come any closer! If you dare, I...I...
I'll tell on you! Yes! That's what I'll do, you evil little snorfit! Do you realize
that I am old enough to be your..."
Spike paused. Greatgreatgrandfather seemed a bit fuelish for her arsenal of
objections so he went with, "uncle?"
Connie's eyes popped open wide and a diabolical grin distorted her lips.
"Oh dear, an incest fantasy. You naughty, naughty boy!"
Xander brushed the red/gray curls off Willow's forehead and looked into the green,
familiar eyes. He was saddened to see the slight glint of imminent cataracts
forming, threatening to steal her sight and he wondered if she knew.
Willow stared and studied the smooth face. Despite the darkness, she knew it
was more than the night's dim illusion that muted the definition of his features. It
was the total lack of wrinkles and sagging skin that were the inevitable result of
"I don't understand, Xan. You still look the same. You haven't changed. Lord,
I must seem so old to you."
Xander petted her hair, noting that it was no longer soft and smooth. The gray
had given it a wiry feel that seemed odd to his touch. Still, despite all the changes
she was every bit his Willow.
"You look wonderful. Exactly as I remember you. I have missed you, Wil. All these
years I used to wonder what you were doing, if you married and how many children
you had running around your legs. Sometimes I would look up at the moon and
wonder if you were looking too."
Willow clutched at the front of his shirt as a new wave of hot tears stung her eyes.
"I was, Xander. I was looking. I spent my whole life hunting for you. I never
married and my only career was searching. It has been a quest and an obsession
to find out what happened to you and to save you."
Xander was stunned as the power of her words pierced his heart. It was the one
thought that never joined in the list of ways he imagined she had spent her lifetime.
He was crushed. He felt as though his own happiness had condemned her to a prison
of personal misery, and this time the tears were his.
"Oh God, Wil, I'm so sorry. If I had been able to contact you I would have, but
it just doesn't work like that. I wanted so much for you. I never wanted you to be
unhappy for me."
Willow wiped her hand over her face and suddenly she brightened.
"It doesn't matter now. We're together again and you can come home with me and
we can live together and you can get a job or not, I still get money from Giles and it
would be enough till you get on your feet and...."
Xander laughed at his old friend's babble. Apparently some things about her had never
"Willow. Stop. Honey, I'm not going anywhere. I live here. The carnival is my home
and my family. This is where I belong. Besides, I could never leave Spike."
Willow's eyes shot up and she glared at the short blond monster that seemed to be
having an intense conversation with Connie. She knew what he was. He was evil.
He was a bloodthirsty vampire that had murdered her friends and threatened her life.
He was the Great Wall of China that separated her from her Xander.
"He is evil, Xander. Wherever he goes, people die. Because we didn't stop the
carnival all those years ago, hundreds of people have died and I feel like it is my
Xander shook his head. Hundreds was an inaccurate count. The tabulation was
more likely into the thousands but he doubted that was a correction Willow would
appreciate him making.
"You're wrong. The carnival is like a travelling verminator. We clean the cities of
murderers and rapists. The demons here only feed from the worst of the worst and
the result is that, because we exist, countless innocent humans have been spared."
Xander subtly reached up to make sure his nose hadn't grown a foot behind a lie
that huge. Mercifully it hadn't, and the look of relief in her eyes said that it had
achieved its intended purpose.
With her squinted eyes again studying the vampire, she leaned in and whispered to
Xander conspiratorially as she tightly gripped his hands in hers.
"OK, sure, maybe it has been not entirely a bad thing, but right now my concern is
getting you out of here. I know he probably is holding you against your will by threat
and I don't want to even think about the years of torture you have endured, but all that
is over. We are here to save you. I still know enough magic to temporarily paralyze
him. When he is back inside the carnival, I will do the spell then we burn the fucking
thing to the ground. His ass will be ash before the sun rises on the horizon. Look, we
have the torches and the gasoline. It will be simple and you will be free to come away
with me. Oh, Xander, this is what I have dreamed of. It is better than I ever could
have imagined. It is...."
Xander leapt to his feet and he stared at her incredulously. She was not his Willow
anymore. Her choices had made her hard and unyielding. She was single sighted
and suddenly it all came back to him. This was his Willow. She had always seen
his happiness on her terms and ideals. Suddenly he felt very sorry for her but now,
unlike when they were young, he no longer carried the weight of her peace and joy
on his back.
"You are wrong about everything, Willow. You always have been. I am with the
carnival because that is where I want to be. I am with Spike because I love him with
all my heart and soul. Now, you have a choice. You can torch the carnival with
Spike and me together inside and take pleasure in all of our deaths, or you can walk
away. Turn around Willow. Look at them. That is your family and your life. Don't
waste any more of it. I am happy in my life and you can be too."
Willow lifted her head and saw Hope and Xani. They were laughing and talking as their
hands brushed each other's hands and faces in a tentative outreach of affection. Willow
knew with absolute certainty that if she were to walk over, they would draw her in and
include her. In the past, she would have closed her heart and kept a cold distance, now
she wondered if Xander wasn't right. Maybe it wasn't too late. Still, she clung to him.
"If I leave you, I'll never see you again."
Xander gently pried her fingers off his wrist and he extended his hand in the direction
of where Spike stood. Immediately the vampire rushed to his pet. Willow wrinkled
her nose at him and Spike flashed a fang. Xander laughed at how well they were getting
on and he leaned over and kissed her cheek.
"I love you, Wil. I always will, but it's time to go."
Without waiting for more objections and arguments, Xander took Spike by the hand
and led him away. He had no fear of her threats. The choices he gave her were not
idle ones. He and Spike were together till death took them both, but he didn't think
that would happen. Not tonight and not by Willow's hand. With his lover at his side,
Xander did not look back, but at the last minute Spike did, as he shouted to her.
"And have a bit of the birds and bees talk with the thick girl, Old Mother, or you will
have a litter of pups on your hands!"
Xander laughed as his arm snaked around his lover's waist. It was a perfect evening.
'Copacetic,' he thought. 'The world is copa....'
"Xan! Shit, is everything all right? I was right behind ya buddy but somehow we got
"Yeah, Oz, no problem. It was kind of a personal issue anyway. Is everything OK
at the carnival?"
Oz relaxed, knowing that his boss wasn't angry, and that mattered as he also
counted Xander a friend..
"Yeah, it's all good. Oh. Clem said he and the, ugh, little woman are having their
anniversary dinner in five minutes and you can bring the cats then."
Xander slapped his hand to his forehead.