Dreams

He says he doesn't dream. Which isn't true, everybody dreams. It's just that some people don't remember them. He says that when he does remember them, they're abstract, nonsensical, random. Nothing as linear as the ones I often describe to him. Maybe that's why he doesn't put too much merit into them. He says that dreams are just stray thoughts with nowhere to go. That they don't mean anything. I wish I could be so sure.

It seems like all I ever dream about anymore is Sunnydale. Those last few days when things seemed the most hopeless. The final battle, that could have so easily gone the other way. We've won big battles before, why should this one be so different? Why does it leave me feeling so…empty? Maybe because it doesn't really feel like we won, more like we survived. Well, most of us survived.

He doesn't talk about her much, but I know he thinks about her a lot. He's so much quieter now, so…un-Xander-like. I guess we're all still dealing with what happened in our own way. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if his behavior really is as out of character as it seems to me, or if I've just been blind over the years. How many times has he been hurt and hid it from us? How much of that lovable goofball persona is just a mask to hide his pain?

One thing that's definitely for real, Xander Harris is a protector at heart. When the dreams first started on the bus, he was there, telling me that it was all going to be okay. Whether or not he actually believed that at the time, I don't know. But he made me believe it. And practically every night since, from the cheap motel rooms along our little bus trip, to London, to Cleveland, and everywhere in between, he's been there. Telling me that dreams don't mean anything.

Things happened between us so gradually, that I didn't even realize we were together until it seemed like everyone else already knew. It happened when the dreams woke me up one night, and he wasn't there. He wasn't far, just in the other room watching TV, not being able to sleep himself. But in those first few seconds, I was scared. I had gotten so used to him being there whenever I needed him that it scared me when he wasn't. And that scared me even more. But he taught me that there's no shame in needing someone. That it doesn't make you weak, it just makes you human.

I still have the dreams, but they don't scare me anymore. What happened in Sunnydale is a part of my past that I can't ignore. But that doesn't mean I can't move on with my life. I've learned more about Xander since we've been together than in the entire time I knew him before. Apart from the intimacy, our relationship isn't all that different than what it was. The difference is that now I pay more attention. He still wears the mask sometimes, but I've come to realize that it isn't to keep people away. It's just another form of protection, his way of putting everyone else's well-being above his own.

Last night I had a different kind of dream. I was standing in a meadow on a beautiful spring day, wearing a long white dress. Everyone was there, my friends, my family. Xander was standing beside me, looking as handsome as ever. He told me he loved me, that he would stand by me forever. That no matter what happened, we would face it together. And what's more amazing, I believed him. For the first time in a long time, the future held hope, and the past simply didn't matter anymore. I wasn't afraid. We kissed, and everyone cheered. When I woke up, I could still feel the warmth of his lips on mine.

He says that dreams don't mean anything. I'm not so sure. I think if you're lucky, really lucky, sometimes they can come true.

Finis