Whispers of A Dream Chapter Two

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Whispers of A Dream... Screams of A Nightmare
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Spike heads off to find Buffy to get her back to The Magic Box and a sleeping Dawn and the Sandman approaches the Scoobies and loads more.

“Oh dear lord, this is not good. What is Buffy going to say? And Joyce? I hope the woman isn’t near anything sharp when she discovers what’s happened.” Giles reached over, “here, let me help.”

“Careful Watcher, don’t bash her head like that,” Spike growled at the man and reverently lay Dawn’s sleeping body onto the battered couch Giles had found in a large empty room at the back of the Magic Box. He and Willow had run as fast as they could; Spike easily carrying Dawn’s lax body as they made their way through the streets of Sunnydale, both focused on getting to Giles and the others. Neither of them had noticed the small figure that had floated over their heads, checking their progress with a look of regret on his sharp features.

“Here.” Anya handed over a blanket and then, stepping up next to Spike, squinting down at Dawn’s slack face. “Huh, where have I seen that before?” Confusion marred her forehead with lines as she began to rifle through her memories, trying to pinpoint the vague memory that teased at the edges of her consciousness.

“Seen what?” Xander asked as he pushed the door open, his arms loaded with take out boxes and then frowned at the tableau of Spike hovering over Dawn and tucking the blanket around her lanky body. “Hey, overbite, get away from her!” He hustled forward and reached to pull the vampire away from the teenager.

“Enough of that, Xander.” Giles snapped, as his firm hand slammed down on the podgy boy’s shoulder, stopping him in his tracks as he pulled him around to face him. “Spike is helping, and as much as it galls me to say it, his concern for Dawn is very real and apparent to us all. So please refrain from your usual juvenile taunting and less than savoury behaviour. There is too much to focus on right now and your showboating will only detract from our main purpose—helping Dawn.” His face was set in firm lines and his eyes were steely in their determination. Xander opened his mouth to whine when for some reason, his brain finally caught up with his mouth and he subsided into silence. He nodded and then looked down at the ground.

Spike spared a momentary glance over his shoulder and tried not to look excessively shocked at Giles’s open support of him. “Thanks,” he whispered tersely and then turned back to his Platelet. His fingers strayed to the red dust staining on her rounded cheeks as he tried to wipe it away, to no avail. It was indelible and stained her pink skin a deep rusty red. “What the hell is this stuff?”

“No idea, but it is on the other teenagers’ faces as well. It must be something mystical. But as for what, I have no idea.” Giles sighed as he squatted down beside Spike and peered at Dawn’s sleeping face. “At least she doesn’t seem to be suffering, unlike the other children affected.” He frowned, “it’s rather curious.”

“For now,” Spike muttered and ran his fingers through his hair; his night had gone from effing brilliant to hellish in one horrendous hour. It wasn’t going to get any better, either. “Have you told Buff…the Slayer what’s happened?” His query was met with a resounding silence. “NO? Why the bloody hell not? Red called you before we set off, that was enough time to find the slayer and get her here!” he exclaimed as he leapt to his feet and began to pace.

“Hey guys, chill. Spike, go and find Buffy; she must be on patrol. Anya, go and help Giles with the research. Maybe if you see something in a book, your memory’ll come back.” Willow clapped her hands and pointed to the deserted shop. “Xander, you sit with Dawnie and make sure she is okay…I’ll…I’ll…” She wrung her hands and then looked around helplessly at the others. “Oh Goddess, what should I do?” she asked rhetorically and then promptly burst into tears, her pale fingers plucking at strands of her shaggy red sweater nervously.

Spike stopped mid pace the angry lines of his face softening at the sight of the frazzled girl twitching herself into a nervous breakdown. He’d always had a soft spot for Red. Reaching over, he grasped her fluttering hands and gave them a comforting squeeze. “You help the Watcher and the demon girl, okay?” he murmured. His blue eyes surprisingly gentle as he looked down into her upturned face. Willow gulped and nodded.

“’Kay, I can do that. Research girl Willow to the rescue.” She let her hands slide out of his and headed after Giles and Anya. “Oh, wait! Buffy said she was going to patrol the city dump on the south side of town. Some dumbass baby vamps have taken over the area and keep freaking out the tramps down there.”

“Lovely, I get to romp in the muck searching for she who chases my kind around with pointy sticks. What’s wrong with a nice clean patrol in a quiet cemetery?” Spike grumbled as he headed out the back door into the small alleyway that ran the length of the shop to Main Street.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Ohhh yesssss,” Maleficent hissed. “What in all Hades is this?”

A massive surge of power hit her frail withered body. Her back arched as she felt the untold power beat against her over and over. “Well done, my little slave. It feels like you found something special—the power!” she exclaimed and sank to her knees, scrabbling at her black velvety robes, tearing them off her wizened form. Her wrinkled body was pale in the moonlight as she let herself fall onto the grass, rolling onto her back and cackling at the stars above her. Her sagging pear shaped breasts quivered with each breath she dragged into her lungs. Slowly she began to twist and arch her back as the power from Ole’s latest victim began to change her.

Finally all her hopes and dreams were being fulfilled.

The lines on her face and body began to smooth out as her flesh plumped up with the renewal of youth; her wispy thin white hair thickened and darkened into raven black tresses. Tresses that were a riot of curls that wrapped around her waist as she writhed in bliss on the dew damp grass, her hands sliding up and down her rejuvenated body. Slowly the metamorphosis of the Wicked Fairy took place; the ravages of time began to reverse themselves as the power of the Key was infused into her magical form. Holding one elegant hand up in front of her face, Maleficent’s ruby red lips curled back into a cruel and self satisfied laugh.

“Young! I’m young again!” She leapt agilely to her feet and twirled around, her arms above her head as her supple body spun like a dervish in the courtyard garden of her castle. “It’s all mine again, the power, my looks– I’m young and beautiful again!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spike killed the engine of the Desoto at the edge of the dump and puffed on the cigarette firmly clamped between his teeth. He didn’t want to go in there — the smell was rank even from the car and he dreaded what his vampiric sense would make of the mountains of waste that the Slayer was trudging through. Personally, he’d have chucked in some Molotovs and left the place to burn, but noo, the goody two shoes slayer had to sacrifice her wardrobe and sense of smell on the altar of Slayerdom.

As he stepped out of the car, and his respect cranked up another notch as a wave of rotting stench wafted over him, Spike gagged and then deliberately stopped breathing. If it wasn’t for Dawn, he’d not be trudging through the piles of filth. Oh sodding hell, was that a dirty nappy? He lifted one Doc clad foot and hopped around, trying to shake off the soiled Pampers that was clinging to his sole like a limpet. It was mid hop when he heard the words.

“So is this like some kind of vampy technique to get the Slayer laughing so hard she pees herself and then you go in for the kill? Cos y’know, it’s kinda working.” Buffy giggled and then howled with glee as Spike hopped around to face her, slipped and promptly fell backwards into a mouldy old pile of rubbish bags. “Ohhh, I sooo wish I had a camera right now! What happened to the vampy agility I hear so much about?”

Spike blew off the newspaper that had floated over his head and glared at the giggling mess of blonde prettiness. He froze. Prettiness? Where the hell had that come from? Shaking his head to clear it of soft sweet smelling slayer shapes, he leapt to his feet and tried not to whimper at the stains of god knows what on his duster. Before he could say a word, a blur of blonde flew at him and he hit the ground with a thud.

“Hey!” Buffy bounced off Spike and then staked the spotty vamp that’d snuck up behind the oblivious so-called master vampire. Spike clamoured to his feet with a growl and inhaled day old newly turned vampire dust and gagged.

“Bloody hell, that’s disgusting. It tastes like whatever the hell you just tossed me face down into.”

“Sorry,” Buffy giggled “Come on, I can see a few more of them over there.” Buffy yanked his arm and ran off after the remaining fledges.

~~~~~~~~~

“Right, last one.” Spike threw a stake at the git who’d been rabbiting around the mounds of rubbish like a sodding mountain goat. His patience was worn to shreds. Not even interested in a nice tussle, he took aim and tossed his remaining stake at the prat and watched in satisfaction as it dusted with an angry howl. “Fed up with all this pissing around.”

“God, talk about Mr Efficient. Why the hell didn’t you do that earlier?” Buffy panted and rested her hands on her filthy knees. Both of them were covered in dirt and garbage from head to foot and smelled pretty awful, but in the last half an hour or so they’d managed to root out each and every one of the vampires and dust their stinky arses.
Spike raised a brow at her as he wiped something pink and sticky off the cuff of his duster. “Not for want of trying, pet. Now come on, we’ve got to get back to the Watcher’s new shop.” In all the time they’d spent chasing the vampires around, he’d not had a chance to explain why he was out helping her and he wasn’t looking forward to the meltdown that was about to ensue. He wanted the Slayer in the car and on her way back when he told her.

“Slayer, let’s get going.” He headed off in the direction of his car without another word, leaving Buffy to pick her way over the rubbish muttering under her breath about stupid showoff vampires who rely too heavily on bleach.

“Move your arse, Slayer!”

~~~~~~~~~~

“Good lord, why on earth is Spike’s nose that size and what is that appalling smell?” Giles covered his mouth and nose with a handkerchief and stared down at his dishevelled slayer.

“Where is she?” following the hastily pointing fingers, Buffy shot past Anya and Willow without a backward glance and headed toward the storage room in the back.

“Spike?” Giles frowned at the dried blood on the unusually subdued vampire.

“Oh for goodness sake! Did she hit you when you told her what happened to her whiney sister?” Anya grasped Spike’s chin and snagged Giles’s hankie off him. She licked it and promptly began to clean off the blood, all the while muttering under her breath about impulsive slayers and their idiotic trainers who taught them to hit first and ask questions later. Spike firmed his lips and tried to pull his head free of her iron hard grip. She cleaned off the blood, Anya tsked under her breath and just held on tighter.

“Ahn, put the vampire down and stop grooming him.” Xander appeared in the doorway and his jaw dropped when she licked a clean corner of the white cotton and dabbed again under Spike’s nose. “Okaaay, carry on with the wiping of your spit on Chiphead, cos you know that is just too funny.”

“Oh do grow up, Xander! If your penis wasn’t bent the way it is, I really wouldn’t be with you anymore.” Anya shook her head at Spike and carried on cleaning him off before turning back to him conspiratorially. “Really, if he didn’t hit the spot just right then I would have no use for him at all.”

Spike snorted as his shoulders began to shake with uncontrollable laughter. In the background he could hear Xander squawking, Giles laughing and Willow trying to keep the peace.

“Thanks, pet.” Spike reached over tentatively and gave Anya a gentle squeeze on the shoulder, part of him was basking in the attention and concern she had shown him, but the other Big Bad part cringed alongside the rest of him over the fact he’d let a woman spit wipe his face like a four year old.

Giles recoiled from the now grubby handkerchief Anya was trying to give back to him. “Err, no thank you. I believe Spike can keep that. Spike, I take it you told Buffy what has happened to Dawn.”

“Yeah, he did, but not before wasting my time chasing after stupid vamps.” Buffy reappeared in the doorway, her face set in worried lines and her arms crossed on her chest.

“Vampires that needed to be dealt with,” Giles remonstrated his charge gently as he steered her to a circular table that they had been using for research. “But, in the interim, we have had a modicum of success.” He politely refrained from gagging at the scent of rubbish that wafted up from Buffy and Spike.

“So dish, already what do I need to kill?” Buffy flopped down and began to pick off some dried spaghetti from the front of her shirt.

“Well, we’re not sure. From what we have discovered it appears that something has corrupted—”

“Oh for crying out loud, Mr Giles. Really!” Anya rolled her eyes at the older man. “It’s simple really. We think it’s the being called Ole-Lukoie. You call him the Sandman in America. Something has corrupted his powers, hence the red staining around the eyes. It was so familiar, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it until Willow found a reference to him in one of the mouldy books over there.” Anya drew breath and then pushed on. “Once she showed me the picture I remembered, but the thing is, he isn’t evil. So something has either stolen his powers or he is being forced to do it.”

“Do what?” Spike interjected.

“Put the teens of Sunnydale asleep and into nightmarish scenarios in their dreams.” Giles handed Buffy the pictures that Spike had seen earlier. Her frown deepened as she flicked through the images of the teenagers that her watcher had taken on the hospital wards, in his guise of a representative from the British Health and Safety consultant. Though at the moment we have no idea why. It just doesn’t make sense at all. From all my research and folklore on this Sandman, he is essentially a benign individual.” He shook his head tiredly.

Anya nodded in agreement, “Oh absolutely. I’ve met Ole, he’s really very nice and this just does not seem like something he would do. He must have been corrupted or blackmailed or been something-ed into doing this. In reality, he is very fond of children—in a non-perverty way.”

“I am.” The small tattered form of the Sandman floated down from the ceiling where he’d been biding his time, waiting to approach the researchers. “I’m sorry to interrupt but time is short and she will notice that I am not serving her will.”

“I say!” Giles half stood and stared at the long nosed Sandman who floated down towards him.

“I have tried to fight her but she has too much power. More so now.” He glanced over at Buffy and hung his head in shame. “I truly am sorry for all this. I need your assistance to get free from Maleficent, before she gets too potent and destroys us all.”

He shrieked and hid behind Anya as Buffy and Spike leapt to their feet and tried to grab him. “Anyanka, it’s good to see you. Please don’t let them hurt me; I am innocent in all of this. A pawn. Please, I have risked everything to come here. Search for her in the books on fables. She is a fairy, nothing more, just a power hungry fairy.” His sharp features tightened in pain. “She is calling me, I…I have to go. Please, save the children; stop her in her quest for power. Remember, to break her spells you need to wake the child from within. Find the castle, that will be where she is.” With that he stepped into the air and floated away before anyone could react or say anything.

“Well…” Giles’s jaw dropped and he stared at the diminutive figure as it floated out of his shop.

“That was the Sandman? Kinda raggedy, wasn’t he?” Xander cocked his head and watched as the spirit-like being vanished into the night sky.

“Oh my God, I always wondered if he was real!” Willow squeaked and began to flick through a book trying to locate a description behind the name that Ole-Lukioe had given them.

“So now what?” Buffy folded her arms and stared at the open door that the Sandman has escaped through. Her night was going from bad to weird, and the oddest thing was Spike. He seemed to genuinely want to help; her eyes narrowed in thought. All she could focus on was Dawn, her guilt over what had happened, what her mom would say and now Spike was bugging her with his less than evil behaviour.

“Well, Willow had one idea that maybe worth investigating. As we have had no success in waking Dawn using normal methods, she surmised that maybe if one of us went into her dreams then we could get her to wake up there. Possibly breaking the enchantment from within,” Giles surmised. “And now we have the added information from that odd little man and confirmation that we were on the right track, maybe we can develop a workable plan.”

“But how do we get into Dawn’s head?” Xander mused aloud, trying to ignore the staring match going on between Spike and Buffy. “Also, once in there, how do we get out or talk to each other? Oh and who is going?”

“I am.”

“I am.”

Both Spike and Buffy replied in unison. There was an uneasy silence in the shop as the two of them unsuccessfully stared each other down.

“Umm, why does the vampire get to volunteer?” Xander asked puzzled.

“Cos I’m a tough bastard who won’t get knocked out at the first sign of a fight,” Spike snarked back, his eyes never leaving Buffy’s. Hers widened in surprised and then acceptance. After the fight in the dump that evening, she realised he was good at covering her back and if they were going to do this, then he was the one she wanted with her. Regally, she gave the intense vampire a small nod of agreement and then turned to talk to her watcher. Spike’s shoulders relaxed. He’d gotten his way; the Slayer was going to let him help save the Platelet.

“Well done.” Anya patted him on the knee and turned back to her reading. “That’s incredibly brave of you. I cannot imagine what a teenager’s mind has in it but to be perfectly frank, rather you than me. What if she is dreaming about some boy band or something. Quite a terrifying thought really. Oh God, it could be bunnies, kids dream about those fluffers, right?”

Spike just stared at the whittering girl, shook his head and smirked at her. She was an alright chit, but sometimes her brain just moved in mysterious ways. Giles and Buffy stood and headed back to Dawn in the other room, all the while talking earnestly under their breath.

“Wait,” Willow interrupted Buffy in her tracks, “no one is going anywhere until you’ve both showered and changed, cos eau de pew is sooo not good for the nostrils of Willow. Go home, clean up and change. We can get with the research and hopefully be ready to go.” Willow made shooing motions with her hands at Spike. “Buffy, Xander’ll watch over Dawnie. Go home and get cleaned up,” she ordered firmly.

“Yeah, man you guys seriously stink. Don’t worry about Dawnie. Xanman will watch over her.” Xander stood up and promptly tripped over a small sack that had been tucked by his foot unseen and unnoticed until now. “Ow, and can I add, what the hell is it?” Xander picked himself and the small sack up and frowned at it.

Anya yelped, “wait, don’t open…well crap. Well now he’s done it– someone catch him.” Anya sighed and watched as Xander’s eyes rolled back and slammed shut. With a boneless sigh, he slumped into Giles’s arms and began snoring. “Ole must’ve left it for us…Giles, be careful and see if you can tell what colour the sand is? Is it a shimmering gold?” The Watcher peered over at the sack lying open on the floor; a small drift of golden sand shimmered at Xander’s feet. “Yes, it appears to be golden in hue.”

“Good, it’s uncorrupted; maybe we can use it in a spell, I imagine that’s why he left it for us and not for the comedy moments such as Xander flaking out. I need something to cover my mouth and nose while I sweep the residue up.” Anya stood and disappeared around the counter, returning with a dustpan and brush. “That Ole, he’s a smart one,” she added cheerfully as she wrapped her face with a dusting cloth and began to carefully sweep the precious sand into a pile and then scoop it into the sack.

“Why not use my hankie, you seem to have annexed it,” Giles muttered as he attempted to heft Xander up from the floor. Buffy came over and helped carry the snoring Scooby into the store room and settled him on the ground next to where Dawn lay on the sofa.

“Giles, can you stay with her?” Buffy looked up at her Watcher, her hazel eyes filled with worry and fear for her sister. “I don’t want to leave Dawnie alone.” She reached over and grasped his sleeve anxiously.

“Yes. Now go and get washed and brushed up.” He patted her gently on the same hand that was clutching at his sleeve.

“Come on, Slayer, I’ll drive you home. It’ll be faster than you hoofing it,” Spike called from the shop.

“Coming, Dad,” she sing songed and rolled her eyes at Giles as Spike growled loudly. “Jeez, that vamp has no sense of humour.”

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/108603.html

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