In 1916, Alex is brought into his father's inner circle of occultists and takes part in the ritual to capture Death. The ritual fails, however, when the group summons Dream instead of Death. For the rest of his life, Roderick keeps Morpheus prisoner, and as Alex grows up, Roderick continuously bargained with the dream lord unsuccessfully. Alex, though an indifferent student, learns magic from his father. Alex ultimately takes over his father's estate and magic order following Roderick's death in 1947.
Afraid to free his father's prisoner, he kept Dream imprisoned, offering the entity the same deal his father had; trying to bargain immortality for release. Dream stone-walled the son as he did the father.
Alex became obsessed with Dream, to the point of reading the entry of Dream in the Liber Fulvarum Paginarum over and over again. This is the only magic book he reads and Alex eventually passes leadership of the Order on to Paul McGuire, who had been the gardener at the Burgess estate.
Finally, in 1988, Alex is a broken old man, and he threatens Dream to no avail. His caretaker accidentally breaks the circle that holds Dream by pushing Alex's wheelchair over it.
Dream sees a chance at last and collapses. When the guards come in to confirm his apparent death, Dream sends them to sleep and escapes to the Dreaming.
Weakened from years of imprisonment, Dream recharges himself. While Alex was taking a nap, Dream visits him in a cold rage. Alex pleads for his life, stating it was his father that imprisoned him and that they wanted to imprison Death instead.
Dream reminded Alex that he did not release him and tried (just like his father) to bargain for things he shouldn't have and Dream couldn't give anyhow. As an act of vengeance, Dream gave Alex eternal waking, in which he dreams that he keeps waking up from one nightmare to another.
Alex is stuck in the nightmare coma for years until finally Dream finally releases him.
He attends the funeral of Dream, appearing as he did when he was a child. There, he encounters Daniel Hall, the new incarnation of Dream. Dream seems to bear no further grudge against Alex, and allows him to peacefully wake. Upon doing so, Alex tells Paul he feels absolved, and he is glad to have dreamed.