1. Africa & Off Planet
A/N: This chapter and the previous one has been slightly modified (11 Jan, 2006).
"conversation”thoughts & dreamsemphasis
-*-*-*- scenery change between dream and reality
-.-.-.-.- memory, flashback
The sounds of the morning woke Xander up. He could still remember the feeling of contentment of the night’s dream but very few details.Blue eyes and a male hard body. I can’t remember meeting anyone like that recently. Not to dream about, anyway.
The dreams had been going on for about a week. They started shortly after meeting the tribe’s Shaman. Participating in that ritual was perhaps not the best thing to do but it made me more trust-worthy in the eyes of the tribe. Death by spear is not something I want to experience any time soon, hopefully never.
Xander had arrived in Cairo nearly three months ago. A message from the new Watcher Council had informed him of the possibility of another Slayer somewhere in Egypt.
Xander had then traced the rumors of a strong girl to a nomad tribe in the desert. He had been lucky in finding their preferred oasis but his luck had soon run out. The first meeting with them had been shaky to say the least.
Most tribes did not really like strangers, particularly white strangers asking about their daughters. This one was no different. He had to do a lot of fast-talking to convince them he was not evil. However, he had not been allowed to see the girl until after Xander had met the tribe’s Shaman.
Xander had expected an old man, wrinkled and wise. What he got was a middle-aged woman, barely a wrinkle in sight but wise and powerful in the ways of magic. She had recognized the taint of the Hellmouth on him, as well as the remnants of his teenage possessions. To prove he was not there to do harm Xander had to perform a ritual. If he failed he would die, if he lived they would talk.
He does not remember much of the ritual but it must have worked since he is still alive. Drawing in a deep breath Xander registers the smell of smoke, herbs, various domestic animals and the desert. With his eyes still closed, he catalogues the sounds made by the people and animals around him. His host, Ameeya the Shaman, is outside talking with someone, possibly giving out advice to a worried mother. Her daughter-in-law Shurea is preparing breakfast by a small fire and the young woman’s three-year old son Harib is playing next to his pallet.
Xander had a shock trying to adjust to all the new sensory inputs but now, barely a week later; he treats his heightened senses like they have always been a part of him. What still shocks him is the ease with which he has accepted the dreams; the very erotic dreams. When Xander mentioned them in passing during dinner to Ameeya a few days after the ritual, she had said they were a gift from the spirits. They were showing him his future mate. After he had finished choking on the water and he had told her they involved an older male she calmly explained what had happened during the ritual. Ameeya had found remnants of a Primal Spirit; a female hyena, as well as traces of Chaos and Earth magics. She felt like Xander was splintered, not complete. She had decided to change the ritual slightly; instead of Xander just proving he was good she had decided to make Xander whole. To her, that required a joining of spirits. Xander’s soul joined with the Primal Hyena, added by a touch of Chaos and Earth. He could still remember the argument they had.
“Why did you do that?! I thought I just had to prove myself to you?”
“You did. You are still the young man who came into our camp looking for one of our daughters,” she calmly stated.
“But the hyena…the dreams? If they’re true then why is my mate a man! I’ve never been attracted to a man before!” Xander protested, livid.
“Never? Not even once since the original possession?”
“Well…maybe once or twice. But that’s normal! Every teenager has a phase like that.”
“Uh-huh.” Ameeya did not sound convinced.
“That doesn’t prove anything. I’ve only been involved with girls, women, up until now.”
“Did your relationships feel right? Did you end them on good terms?”
“Well…no. Not really.” He remembers with fondness his two serious girlfriends; Cordelia and Anya, as well as the girls he liked during high school; Ampatha, Kendra, Buffy and Willow. He would like to forget the experiences with Ms French, Drusilla, Faith and the be-spelled women of Sunnydale but he got her point. Only Buffy, Willow and Faith were still alive but their friendships were not the same as in high school; they were more like allies than friends, especially in the case of Faith. She had apologized for trying to kill him but he was not sure he would ever consider her a friend. They did not really know each other that well. Buffy was off in Europe, studying in Italy with Dawn. Willow was in England with Giles, researching and enjoying life with her girlfriend Kennedy.
Xander opened his eyes when Ameeya entered the tent. He watched her pick up and hug a laughing Harib before shooing him outside to his mother. He tried to ignore the longing for a kind attentive mother during his younger years, the past was gone and there was nothing he could do to change that. Xander sat up and reached for his shirt. He still wore his pants. He never took them off unless he was sure nothing dangerous would happen during the night. He had been caught unawares one time too many in Africa; fighting naked was not fun when there were people around to see you. It was rather embarrassing actually, no matter how great physique he got.
Off Planet (P3X-575)
Daniel tried to concentrate on the stone pillar. The scripts on it vaguely resembled Sumerian with a hint of Greek and strangely enough Nordic runes. It was interesting, really, if only he could stop thinking about the dreams. It was not the first time he had an erotic dream, not even on another planet. It was not even the first time he dreamt about a man. It was, however, the first time he dreamt about a total stranger. Someone he was sure he had never met or seen in life, not even in passing. It was disturbing the way the dream kept repeating itself. He felt drawn to the younger man, even if it was not real. In the dream it felt like he had finally found something or someone to call home. Like Sha’re and Abydos had felt like home. Like he had finally found love again.
Nearby he could hear Jack shuffle his feet. Daniel knew his friend was worried. They had had two easy missions so far this week and each time they shared a tent Jack had been witness to Daniel’s dreams. He knew Jack wanted to talk but was not sure about what to say. They still had not discussed his Ascension/Descension, their shaky friendship and now these dreams.
“So…how’s it going?” Jack’s voice came right on cue.
Daniel looked blankly at the half-filled paper in his hands. I don’t think he’s asking me about the work.
“It’s fascinating stuff. It’s a mixture of at least three different languages and dialects. I’d like a few more hours with it.”
“Daniel, no. I meant with you.”I know what you meant, Jack.
“I’m fine. The new allergy-pills works like a charm.”
“Danny that’s not-. Ok, that’s good.” Jack changed his attack. “Who or what is Sander?”
Daniel dropped his notes. I talk in my sleep?! Why did I not know that?
He did not know how or why but for some reason his dream-guy was called Sander. He was not even sure if it was something his mind had made up or if he had heard it somewhere. It did not sound like a normal name but seemed right anyway.oo0O0oo
In another place, most commonly known as the Spirit Plane, a young woman and a boy were keeping their eyes on a certain shocked Archeologist/Linguist.