What Dreams May Come
Written for seasonal_spuffy, October 28, 2007
Length: Part 1 – 2655 words
Many thanks to the marvelous makd for the beta.
Summary and Author’s Notes: A series of vignettes of Buffy’s post-Chosen dreams. Some are on the angsty side, some are hopeful, some are just plain silly—because that’s how dreams are. Some are in the first person, some in the third, but all are fairly linear. Restless already did the non-linear metaphor dreams to perfection. Unfortunately, what Buffy’s current dreams aren’t is porny. I had to drop several planned dreams because in the last few months RL kicked my ass, and the pr0n just refused to make an appearance. Sometimes, that’s the way it goes. Sorry.
In addition, for clarity, Buffy’s waking life and thoughts are in normal black font. Her actual dreams are in blue font.
She didn’t dream in the first couple of weeks after they closed the Hellmouth. She didn’t have time to dream. She didn’t have time to sleep. An hour here, twenty minutes there—it was enough to keep her going. So many were injured; it was easier to concentrate on them and not think about the dead.
Faith spent a lot of time at the hospital with Robin. It made sense. He seemed to have an… interest in Slayers. Buffy didn’t want to say ‘obsession’, but looking back, it was a trifle wig-worthy that he’d known who she was and arranged that job and everything, but didn’t bother to clue her in on his background. He’d seemed really interested in her, too… until he and Giles hatched their plot to betray her and get rid of Spike. When she made it clear whose side she was on in that fiasco, he switched pretty damn quick to Faith. Guess murdering a human was less problematic for him than protecting a vampire. But none of that really mattered now. She wasn’t jealous of Faith. She wasn’t. And she wasn’t really interested in Robin Wood, either. She just didn’t like being played. Set up. Whatever.
Willow and Xander spent all their time together now. It had kind of started when Xander lost his eye. Buffy was really glad Willow was there for him. She really was. She wished she had been able to be all caring and supportive, too. But she didn’t have time. Nobody else had seemed to be coming up with any surefire ways to defeat Caleb and the Bringers and The First, with its whole army of Ubervamps. And, yeah, the plan to go to the vineyard maybe wasn’t stellar, but at least it was a plan. But then Xander lost an eye, and it was all her fault and she could barely look at him for the guilt so… it was good that Willow was able to be there for him.
But then he lost Anya, and Willow knew exactly what that was like because she’d lost Tara, and so they bonded. It was like they were stuck together with Crazy Glue or something. And she would have liked to be included, too. She’d lost Spike, after all! She was one of the group! But she and Spike hadn’t actually been an official couple, like Willow and Tara or Xander and Anya. And whose fault is that? And she didn’t really have time to grieve, anyway. Kennedy was sort of cranky because Willow was spending so much time with Xander, and she got a little bossy and short-tempered with the other Potentials—no, Slayers. They were all actual Slayers now. Not just Buffy and Faith, but hundreds—maybe thousands—of girls all over the world were Chosen now.
So, they needed to regroup and organize. They had to formulate a plan to deal with a world that had thousands of Slayers and one Watcher, rather than thousands of Watchers and one Slayer. So, she was too busy to sleep, let alone dream. She wasn’t even sure she had any dreams left. A normal life, Angel, college, Spike… she’d lost them all. It was better not to think about it. Better to keep busy.
But the day finally arrived when the decisions had been made, the plans formulated, and everyone scattered to the far corners of the earth to put those plans into practice. There was nothing urgent she needed to do. She could finally take some time to relax. And then the dreams came…
Darkness. Complete darkness all around me. Smothering me. I can’t see—can’t breathe. I think I’m underground. Am I dead… again? Again? Oh, god! No—there’s light. Fire… torches. I am underground, but not dead. There’s sound… the thrum of beating hearts… rapid heartbeats. Fear. The jerky exhalations of the sound of breathing. The thrum isn’t beating hearts. I can hear the hearts now—some strong, some erratic, but all beating faster than normal with a combination of fear, excitement and anticipation. The thrum is something else… something primitive. I can feel all the fine hairs on my body quivering in response. My arms and the back of my neck and my legs… Why the hell didn’t I shave my legs? The stubbly hairs there are pulling at the skin and it’s very unpleasant. I wish I’d had time to shave my legs. My legs itch. I don’t care what else is going on—from now on, I’m taking the time for personal grooming. I don’t want to die with itchy stubble on my legs!
Oh, god! A roar of sound and thousands of feet stomping on stone with a kind of thwack sound. A whoosh of sound as collective breaths are held with a communal gasp. The thrumming sound is louder—the stomping feet are closer. It’s like an army of orcs rushing toward me, like in that movie with the Hobbits and Viggo Mortenson—who’s really pretty hot—although the guy that plays the Hobbit reminds me of the kid that plays Harry Potter. Maybe it’s like his older brother or something. Although, Tucker and Andrew don’t look anything alike. Andrew says he takes after his grandfather… I don’t know about Tucker. I don’t care about Tucker! Why the hell am I thinking about Tucker Wells when—ohmigod! Here they come!
Battle sounds surround me. The clash of steel swords. The meaty thud of stakes hammered home. Slashing and hacking… D’Hoffryn was right when he called me ‘Ms. Hack-and-Slash’. The scythe feels warm in my hands, like it has a life all its own. More than a weapon, it’s a battle comrade and it never fails to do its job… find its mark.
But there are so many of them! I never knew Turok Han existed before the last few months, let alone a whole damn army of them. Neither did Giles. Why didn’t Giles know? He’s supposed to know stuff like that! He thought they were a myth—well, he was mythtaken. And not for the first time! He was wrong about Spike. Oh god, Spike! Where is Spike? Oh, there he is. It’s all right now. As long as Spike fights at my side…
Son of a bitch! That hurt! I’m down. “Faith!” Throw the scythe to Faith. She’ll know what to do. Maybe Angel wasn’t wrong to believe in Faith. He didn’t believe in us, though. I wonder if he and Faith ever… Ohmigod! I wonder if they did! She slept with Riley; why not Angel? She’s always wanted what I had. Do I care if she slept with Angel? I don’t know. But I wanted to rip her hair out by the roots when I caught her in bed with Spike! Well, not that I think they actually… but that’s ’cause I trust Spike, not her. But they were all snuggly-wuggly as if she didn’t care who came down the stairs and saw them together. Why didn’t she care? More important, why did I care? She obviously doesn’t have a reputation to protect but, oh god—was I that shallow? I cared more about my precious reputation than…
Get out of my face!
I put up my hand and the scythe wings its way toward me. I didn’t catch it—I just knew it was there and it was. My foot slips on a wet patch on the uneven ground. Blood. One of the girls’ blood. I can’t think about that now. Hack and slash. It’s what I do… what I am. It’s why I was brought back, after all. So I could keep fighting. The fighting never ends.
I throw myself to the side as the ground rumbles beneath my feet. Cracks are forming in the cave floor, rock debris is falling around me. I shut my eyes tightly as a brilliant flash of light seers my retinas. What…? Spike. Spike is glowing. “Get out of my way! I’ve got to get to Spike! Get the fuck out of my way! I don’t have time for this!” I sweep the scythe and four or five Ubervamps are knocked over the edge. It doesn’t matter. Only Spike matters.
He’s a pillar of light… no, fire. Spike is on fire! From the inside out. I can see the agony on his face, and Spike’s tough. If he looks like that, the pain must be indescribable. I can’t help him! I can’t make it stop! I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. Even when Giles poisoned me to take away my powers, I still managed to save my mom, but this? I don’t think I can save Spike.
Why the hell did I send Angel away and give the damn thing to Spike to wear? I should have let Angel wear it! He’s the one who brought it! Did he know what it would do? Was this some kind of twisted plan to get rid of Spike? I don’t know! I didn’t know what it would do! I could have let Faith wear it. It was pretty convenient, Angel showing up at the eleventh hour with a sooper seekrit amulet that is killing Spike! I swear to god, Angel, if you knew… I will never trust you again!
Oh god, Spike!
I grasp his hand and our hands are burning. But the fire isn’t hot. It’s ice cold. Colder than ice! It’s cold like that cryogen stuff or whatever it’s called that they use to flash freeze things. And it’s working! My hand feels numb. The cold fire is freezing my hand and traveling up my left arm to my heart. My heart is frozen—it’s a lump of ice and without Spike I don’t think it will ever melt. Without Spike…
Oh god! I’m not ready for you to not be here. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. We wasted so much time… time in which we could have been together and happy. I can’t lose you now! Not when I’ve found you again. I love you. Why didn’t I ever tell you that? Because I was afraid? Afraid that what we had was so powerful… so encompassing, that I’d lose myself in the process and there wouldn’t be any ‘you’ or ‘me’ any longer, but only ‘us’?
Oh god, Spike, I’m sorry! I love you. I should have told you before. I can see it in your eyes that you don’t believe me now. Why did I wait so long to tell you? You have to believe me. Please? I’m not ready for you to be gone!
I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course, but… after that. Every night after that. I’d see it all again… do something different. Faster or more clever, you know? Dozens of times, lots of different ways… Every night I save you, Spike.
Buffy fell asleep thinking about Spike.
He was alone in a world of humans. The demons had turned him out when they learned that he was chipped and unable to harm humans. But he was a vampire, so the humans distrusted him, too. The only time he felt whole and complete and wanted was when he was with Buffy. The only time he felt needed was when he was taking care of Dawn. How lonely he must have been…
“We’re not all gonna make it,” Spike said.
“I know,” she replied. “But I always knew I’d go down fighting.”
Spike smiled. “Yeah, me too. Buffy… if I don’t make it, watch out for Clem, yeah? He’s an innocent in all this an’ he’ll need someone to protect him.”
“Till the end of the world,” she agreed.
And now Spike was gone, and the pain of his loss had almost destroyed her. The only thing that kept her going was her promise to take care of Clem.
She fought with the good demons to hold back the Turok Han, but she wasn’t really one of them, and they never let her forget it. They never quite trusted her. Not quite human, not quite demon, she was… she was the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer of the demon world! The only time she was at all at peace was the time she spent with Clem.
They played cards—for Cheetos, not kittens—they watched marathons on TV, ate pizza and hot wings, and she was comfortable with Clem. She could be herself. She didn’t have to worry about her ‘image’ as ‘the Slayer’ with Clem, because he admired and respected her for who she was, not what she was. She didn’t have all the answers—didn’t always know what was the ‘right’ thing to do, but it didn’t matter, with Clem. He trusted her. And when she was with Clem, it was sort of like Spike wasn’t completely gone, because Clem had loved him, too.
Buffy stood on the empty plain that led to the desolate crater that had once been her home. The silence overwhelmed her. No birds sang, no dogs barked. Not a single tree leaf or blade of grass rustled in the wind that blew across the bleak emptiness.
She moved closer to the edge of the enormous scar in the earth that had swallowed her life whole. She frowned as she tried to identify faint noises coming from the crater. It sounded like someone—or something—climbing.
She heard scrabbling sounds and the echo of dislodged pebbles and broken rock as they slid and bounced down the slope of the pit.
The gray sky and the barren land seemed to be all of a piece and she couldn’t tell where one left off and the other began—all was desolation.
Buffy automatically reached for a stake, but she didn’t appear to have one with her. She couldn’t tell what she was wearing, which was sort of strange. Whatever it was, it didn’t seem to have any pockets, and weapons didn’t appear to be a part of her ensemble. She had a brief thought that she should be concerned about this lack, but somehow, it didn’t seem to matter.
The sounds were much closer now. Buffy stood passively, waiting. The wind blew tendrils of her hair into her eyes, and she languidly lifted a hand to brush them back. When her vision cleared, she felt a start of surprise as she beheld what had emerged from the pit.
There he stood—whole and unharmed, and more beautiful than she remembered.
“Spike! Where did you come from?”
His eyes met hers, he took a tentative step toward her, and he burst into song.
“I come from a land down under, where beer does flow and men chunder. Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? You better run; you better take cover.”
Buffy awakened amidst mingled tears and laughter. She brushed the tears from her eyelashes with the back of her hand. The laughter released something inside of her, and she no longer feared the dreams. Maybe Spike was trying to warn her about something, but she just couldn’t take that song—sung in an Australian accent, no less—seriously. Or, maybe it was just the calamari she’d had for dinner.
She propped herself on her elbow, turned her pillow over, scrunched until she found a comfortable position, pulled the covers over her shoulder, and then closed her eyes.
Continued in Part Two
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/216772.html