FanFic - Other
"Dreams of Unicorns"
Part 4
by Cotti
Disclaimer: You know the drill...
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: For Kris, Courts, the Penguin, Melissa, Kylia, & Lynn (wherever you are..)
Isabel and Alex followed the unicorn and her magician companion until the morning, where the man stopped and rested, sitting in the roots of an old tree. His head rested back on the trunk, and his eyes stared dolefully at the sky.

"Oh, that poor old woman…" he murmured, letting a tear slide away from him. "I didn't want her to…" he attempted to explain, looking at the unicorn. "I didn't know…" his head was hung, and the unicorn felt pity for him.

"She chose her death long ago," the unicorn said reassuringly, watching him with fascination. "It was the fate she wanted."

"And you, you have no regrets, as I do?"

The unicorn wasn't sure if it was a question or a statement, but she answered nonetheless. "I can never regret," she murmured softly as the magician came to his feet. "I can feel sorrow, but its not the same thing."

Schmendrick nodded, "Where will you go now?" he asked, and Isabel thought for all the world that it was truly Alex speaking for a moment.

"I am looking for others like me," she said softly, and they began to walk again, "have you seen them, magician?"

Schmendrick shook his head, "No," he said, looking at the unicorn in wonder, "I have never seen anyone like you," he paused before laughing, "not while I was awake, anyway."

The unicorn nodded and they continued on. "A butterfly told me of a Red Bull, who pushed all the other unicorns to the ends of the earth," she said in a pndering tone, "and Mommy Fortuna spoke of a King Haggard. So I'm going where they are, to learn whatever they know," she sighed and looked at the magician, who nodded.

"Take me with you, for luck, for laughs, for the unknown," he said with a wavering smile.

"You may come with me if you like, though I wish you'd asked for some other reward for having freed me," she said sadly, her voice lilting as her mane glistened in the sun.

"Well, I thought about it, but you could never have granted my true wish," he said with a sigh and looked up at the sky.

"No. I cannot turn you into something you are not. I cannot turn you into a true magician," she said, looking at him with a small smile.

"That's all right, don't worry about it," he said, smiling at the unicorn.

"I'm not," she replied, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Isabel laughed with a smile, and shook her head. "How Maria," she said lightly, forgetting that the girl she spoke so lovingly of had claimed to have hated her and her kind.

Alex nodded, "it is her mind, you know," he murmured, and Isabel smiled at him.


Michael paced unrelenting around the two sleeping bodies on the floor. "What's taking them so long?" he demanded, looking expectantly at Tess.

"Will you cut that out?" Tess snapped, ignoring his question, "you'll wear tracks in the carpet and you're driving me nuts!"

"Oh stuff it, Tess," Liz said coldly, "you saw what went on in there, no one can even speak to Maria, let alone help her wake up!"

"Oh, shut up Liz," Tess snapped back, "you wouldn't know the first thing about waking her up, not that you could anyway," she laughed. "As I said before, you don't have anything in that dream that will help the loudmouth and you're too blind to see the only thing we have that will!"

"Stop it, all of you!" Max cried, stepping between Liz and Tess. Tess threw a triumphant smirk at Liz and looped her arm through Max's, Max smiled unconsciously, and pulled her closer. "We won't help Maria by arguing about what we can and cannot do."

"We aren't going to help Maria by just sitting here either!" Michael growled, stopping mid-stride as he ran his fingers through his hair.

"Well you're not doing much to help the situation!" Tess snapped, gripping Max's arm tighter.

"Tess," Max warned, before turning back to Michael. "You know we can't overload her, and you know that going into her mind is dangerous enough as it is, so just calm down and wait!"

"Wait," Michael threw up his hand and shook his head. He laughed bitterly, "that's all you ever want me to do, isn't it?" he said hotly. "Wait for this, wait for that, well I'm damned sick of waiting, Maxwell!"

"Well that's just too damn bad, isn't it then?" Tess shouted, turning and stomping down the stairs.

"Now look what you've done," Max said irritated, as he went after Tess. Liz's eyes brimmed with tears and she looked at Michael.

"Does he know he's doing this? That he's tearing us all apart?" she asked quietly, looking away from Michael.

"No," he sighed, resting his forehead against the glass of the window. "He doesn't know any of it. He doesn't even see what he's doing to you…"

Liz looked at her feet, zebra socks stared back at her. "Do you see?" she asked softly.

"Do I see what?" he asked, turning to face her. "That I kill her with every moment we're apart? That I kill myself every moment I tell myself it's what's best for everyone?" he shook his head. "I don't see the half of it."

Liz shook her head, wishing she felt half as much as the incredible man she shared company with.

"Michael," she murmured, moving closer to him, "everything is going to be all right, isn't it?"

He turned to her and shook his head, a looked of misplaced bemusement on his face.

"I don't know if anything's going to be right again. This whole thing," he motioned around the room, "it's all my fault, I know Maria's going to blame me when she wakes up…" he trailed off, unwittingly having given Liz the assurance she needed.

Liz smiled and took his hand, leading him into the living room. She sat him on the couch and smiled.

"Sleep," she commanded. "I'll wait and talk to Max, if he comes back."

"If not?" he asked, reluctant to leave Maria's side.

"Then I'll wait for Izzy and Alex to come out," she looked back towards the room. "When they do you and I will go into her dream and try again."

He looked up in surprise, and she only smiled, pushing him back onto the couch.

"Sleep," she smiled and left. Michael reluctantly lay back on the soft cushions and let himself fall into dreamless sleep.


"What do you know of King Haggard?" the unicorn asked as they neared the crest of the next stony hill, Isabel and Alex walked with them now, Isabel close to the unicorn, and Alex near the magician. It had seemed like days since they entered the dream, but Isabel had explained that dream time runs differently from real time.

"King Haggard?" Schmendrick murmured to himself, thinking hard. "I have heard that he's an old man who rules over barren country by the sea," he said at length, and the unicorn listened intently. "Some say that Haggard's land was green and soft once, before he came, but the minute he touched it, it became hard and gray."

Another night passed, and the magician retold stories of the old king for the unicorn and his two unseen companions.

"Tell me of the Red Bull," she said eventually, the sun was reaching it's peak on the third day after her first question.

Schmendrick thought a moment before speaking, "The Red Bull? I've heard too many tales, to tell you the truth. I've heard -" ht thought a moment, "I've heard that the Bull is real, that the Bull is a ghost -" he stumbled a bit on the rough terrain, but regained his footing and continued. "I've heard that the Red Bull protects Haggard or else that he keeps him a prisoner in his own castle," he sighed and looked up at the darkening sky, "there are so many stories…"

Another week passed in pleasant silence and inquisitive conversation.

"How much further is it?" the unicorn asked, and Alex felt a flash of memory hit him as he remembered hearing Maria say the exact same thing to him once, long ago.

"This is the edge of Haggard's kingdom," the magician said, looking around the forest they walked through, "it's very, very dangerous country. Mommy Fortuna never came within miles of here," he dropped his eyes and it seemed that he still grieved for the wretched old woman.

Hooves filled the wood and Schmendrick paled, looking frantically around, "Listen!" he cried, frantic. "Oh, oh, I was afraid of that. Run, swiftly, hide yourself! We'll find each other later!" he headed towards a high tree.

"Why?" the unicorn asked, watching the magician scramble up the tree as the hooves came nearer. "Who are they?"

"Outlaws!" he cried as he swung up into a tree, and the unicorn dashed into the bushes as the riders approached.

The man at the head of the group slowed near the magician's tree and smirked, "Woah!" he smirked and reached into the tree, "Well what have we got here?" the voice was familiar, but not memorable enough to place. Some jock's, most likely.

"Hi, lads," he laughed and tugged on Schmendrick's ankle, "it's raining ninnies!"

The large man tugged on Schmendrick's ankle and pulled him from the tree. He laughed thickly and the outlaws rode off chortling like madmen.

"Who do we go with?" Alex asked, looking from the fleeting riders to the unicorn watching from the trees.

"You go with the magician, and I'll stay with the unicorn," Isabel said as she headed for the bushes.

"Alright, be careful, Is," he murmured and took off after the riders.

Isabel nodded and came up next to the unicorn, who was moving slowly after the riders within the trees.

"I know you're there," the unicorn murmured, "I don't know who you are, or what you want, but I can feel you near me."

Isabel held her breath before speaking. "I only want to help you," she murmured, "to find whatever it is you're looking for."

"I can feel that," the unicorn said, looking ahead of her, "I know you, somehow," she murmured, more to herself than anyone else. "You can come with us, you and your friend," she said softly, "but I wish you wouldn't."

Isabel wiped away a tear and reached to touch the unicorn. The silvery wisps of her mane brushed her fingers and she sighed. "Maria," she murmured, unthinking, and the unicorn looked up.

"Do not call me that," she said perfectly,

"Maria is asleep. Let her be…"

Isabel recoiled and dropped her hand. "I'm sorry," she whispered, and they spoke no more.

Alex followed the riders into a broad clearing, gruff, sullen looking men sat around a fire, a large pot brewing something foul overtop.

"Rat soup," he muttered, "again rat soup!"

"At least she could use a different rat," another moaned, spitting out the soup in his mouth. "The third night, anyway."

Alex noticed the magician, still slung over the large rider's saddle.

"Put me down, you fool!" he demanded, fighting against the stronger man.

"Aye, lad, quiet there. You're for Captain Cully himself, you are," the large mand said, holding him down.

"Well, Jack Jingly! And who is it you bring us, comrade or captive?" a jolly looking man, short and stocky, with bow legs and bushy red hair & a rough looking beard asked, coming out of a patch of trees.

"I don't know what he is myself!" he laughed, tossing the magician from the saddle.

Cully, who, Alex noticed, had a voice similar to that of the star quarterback's, looked over his shoulder and shouted, "add some more water to the soup, love! There's company!"

A woman stepped out of the trees, her arms crossed over her chest. She had a rugged beauty about her, something undefined, yet abundant and clear in her eyes.

Her voice made Alex realize that it was the same untold grace that drew him to Isabel.

"I'll not have it, Cully!" she said, and her voice was rich, Isabel's voice. "Not another mouth to feed! The soup's no thicker than sweat as it is!"

Cully laughed, shaking his head.

"My love, where's your greenwood hospitality?"

"And who's this long lout?" she asked, looking Schmendrick over, and Alex caught a glimpse of the unicorn and Isabel standing in the trees nearby, "I don't like the look of him. Slit his gizzard!"

"I wouldn't do that, because I am Schmendrick the Magician!" Schmendrick cried flamboyantly, and Alex laughed in spite of himself. "And you, sir, you must be the famous Captain Cully, boldest of the bold and freest of the free!" it was obvious to every, save Cully, that the magician was bluffing.

"That I am," Cully said boastfully, but the woman rolled her eyes.

"He's guessing, Cully, gut him, before he does you the way the last one did!" she said, moving towards the men.

"Well, that's only Molly Grue's way. But she has a good heart, a good heart," he laughed and slung his arm around her shoulder.

Molly brushed him off, "off with you!"

"And this lady, don't tell me, she must be your faithful and beautiful companion," Schmendrick said with a sly, flirtatious smile.

Molly paused, lookin him over and said thoughtfully, "maybe he does know."

"Yes, splendid woman. You are welcome here, sorceror. Come to the fire and tell me what you've heard of dashing Captain Cully and his band of freemen!" the magician was ushered over to the fire, where he was given food and drink, and ample adventure…


"Why haven't they come out yet?" Max asked, coming up the stairs, Tess following closely behind him.

"I don't know," Liz said coldly, "but I know that they must be getting somewhere, or seeing something that can help."

"I already told you," Tess began, and Liz turned to face the girl.

"I know what you said, and I don't give a damn!" she said, low and menacing, "I don't know why the hell you're here, other than to torment me, but I don't need you being a goddamned fact book!"

Tess didn't say anything, but crept closer to Max.

"When thay come out, if we need to, Michael and I are going in."

"No," Max said sternly, "the last thing we need is Michael going into her dreams and screwing something up."

"Glad to see you have faith in me, Maxwell," Michael said from behind them. Liz looked at him apologetically.

"I thought I told you to sleep," she said softly, looking past Max.

"I did, but it's hard knowing…" he trailed off, gazing at Maria, Liz nodded, and waved him over.

"If you want, you can sleep in here with her," she said, "there's plenty of room on the bed…"

Michael looked shocked. "I don't know, Liz," he murmured, "I mean, she…"

"She loved you," Liz said firmly, standing up. "She still does, despite her anger and pain," Liz looked at her friend, "she wouldn't mind…"

Michael thought a moment before looking at Max and pushing past him. "Can I go into her dream?" he asked, looking at Liz questioningly, "I-- I want to see her again."

Liz smiled, "I know," she touched his hand and pushed him towards the bed. "Do what you think is best," she paused, "for you and for her."

Michael nodded and sat down on the bed.

"I don't think this is a good idea…"

"Max," Liz said solemnly, turning her eyes to his, conveying everything she felt in that moment, "get out. Go downstairs, go into the living room, but get out of my sight."

Max was shocked, but he turned and did as he was asked, and Liz resumed her vigilant watch over her friend, and the being that shared in her dreams.

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Part 5
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