Chapter One

With one final look at the phone, she knew. Knew that watching wasn't going to change the inevitable. She'd caught the vibe, but had just ignored it in favour of the romantic ideal every young, naïve college girl falls for.

Buffy flopped backwards on her bed and covered her face with her pillow.

And screamed.

A tear struggled for release through her tightly clamped lids and slid down her cheek. It was a lament for her coming of age, her first college induction to the rule of free and easy.


Was a complete prick and wasn't going to call her.

Though something felt well and truly shattered on the inside, Buffy couldn't help but feel a little gifted for being the wiser. Would have been pretty sad to hang onto hope when hope was nowhere near this little train wreck.

She had no trouble blaming the whole disaster on Angel. He was the one who told her to go and find a normal guy; try giving her heart to someone who could give her normal, human things.

Well, it certainly worked out that way, and Buffy was fast coming to the realisation that there were unfortunate similarities between vamps and men. One, males of both species were bastards. Two, she'd been deserted and humiliated by both. Three, they both turned evil and selfish the morning after.

Rolling onto her belly, and offering a few half-hearted punches to her pillow, Buffy again slumped face-first into the softness of the puff of foamy goodness, and closed her eyes. Tears remarkably dried after the first small river of self-pity. As the dark blanket of welcoming slumber descended, she could feel something strange begin to settle over her. Something ominous and a little terrifying. But the sandman had enticed her too far, and she passed over to the world where dreams could be even scarier than reality.

It wasn't that the door was opened with a bang, but with the rush of bodies that pushed in with the force of a rhinoceros herd, that jerked Buffy awake.

"Oh, Thank Goddess," Willow screeched, launching herself over a pile of bodies of the male persuasion to land unfettereddespite her startling actions in her friend's lap. "We've been so worried," sobbed Willow as Buffy watched her with a thought of how quickly to remove her.

"I just had the weirdest dream," clarified Buffy in defense of her suddenly cold demeanor.

"You dreamed, you say? Fascinating. Was it a Slayer dream, perchance?" asked Giles amongst the pile of Scoobie testosterone that Willow had bravely trampled into the ground in her haste to be the first to greet Buffy home from sleep.

"Um, not sure. I'll get back to you on that one. For now, I have this urgent desire to pee. Just how long was I asleep, anyway?"

A group cringe had settled at the mention of her need for the bathroom, but brave Willow stepped up with the required answer.

"Ah, three days!

"Three days!" Buffy exploded from the bed in a rush down the hall, leaving behind a group of gawping stragglers, unsure of what path to take now that the seemingly comatose Slayer had once again gained her feet.

They had barely moved a muscle when she had returned, and the odd look on her face confirmed the discomfort in the room.

"Well, it's, ah, getting dark, so perhaps we should head over to my flat and discuss what it is that might have occurred with you, Buffy."

Buffy wavered, but then felt the rising of teenage grooming essentials as the thought of crossing campus in clothes she'd slept in for three days not being of the most desirable activities.

"Sure thing, Giles. I might just shower and change first. Meet you there?"

"Yes, well. Don't be long, Buffy. Spike is still out there seeking the Gem of Amara and we must think of some way to prevent him locating it."

Something flickered behind Buffy's steady green gaze, and she nodded her acquiescence as the group preceded her out the door.

"Sure. It'd be nice to wrap up that puppy before the harsh light of day."

She gathered her clothing and toiletries and snagged a towel before heading to the icky communal showers, eager to remove the yuck factor of grungy hair and dull skin, but not looking forward to the choice of venue. Times like this she missed living at home.

Half way through rinsing her hair for the second time, it occurred to Buffy that thoughts of Parker and his useage of her for sex had totally slipped her mind.

And instead, the unbelievable thoughts that filled it.

They left Buffy speechless. And unconvinced of their validity. Could anything be more farfetched? No, she determined to tell Giles the catalogue of events that seemed more important during the last three days than wakefulness, but she was equally convinced it was all just fanciful dreaming. Not even the soppiest soap opera could write a plot like that.

Confident once againin both cleanliness and the stability of the life she knew Buffy dressed then high-tailed it to Giles's, with the most incredible story ever invented.

"That's just…simply fascinating. So in three days worth of sleep, you've learned almost five years worth of events."

"Yeah, massive on the disturbing." Buffy turned to grab up a pencil, twirling it in the air before accidentally snapping it in half. "Oops," she offered apologetically as she quickly shoved the two pieces under an opened book and looked around the room for another distraction.

Completely unbidden came images of Spike roped to a chair, and in the garbled disbelief of the possibility, Buffy cracked an amused smile. Never happen. Even if something did happen to make Spike vulnerable, there was no way he'd come to her and ask for help.

Her brow furrowed at the memory of Acathla and how he'd sought her out. He'd asked for help then, but it hadn't been a weakness, just a smart move for soldiers to align. Even if he did manage to defect amidst the heat of battle.

The flinty inflection in Giles's voice finally broke through her little reverie and she came back to the moment consumed with a sick longing for the dream to be reality. Whatever it took, there could be fun to be had with weakened Spike at her mercy.

But really, she'd only scratched the surface with the events she had relayed to Giles. Honestly, some of it was too upsetting and cruel to even contemplate. Things like her mother dying, alongside the appearance of a sister Buffy had never had were enough in themselves to convince the Slayer that three days of dreams was a pretty major joke on her behalf. You don't just have sisters appear out of thin air.

"And Giles, there was just so much about these events that were really unbelievable. I mean, fighting Indians at Thanksgiving? That just reeks of taking Buffy for a walk on the gullible footpath of life. And some kind of commando type people actually patrolling, and a Frankenstein monster? It has to be a spell. Someone put a big scary, icky spell on the Slayer in an attempt to plant all these horrible thoughts on me."

"For what reason, though? I do agree that it would seem like the most likely possibility, but what on earth would they hope to gain?" Giles rubbed his glasses in agitation, his fingers moving in absent circles with his while cloth.

Buffy shrugged, not really with the caring as she eyed a batch of perfectly baked cookies that Willow pulled from Giles's oven. Déjà vu hit her down low and flashes of Spike kissage bombarded her. No freakin' way was it possible that she had been engaged to him—spell or no spell. Even if the thought did make her feel all flushed and squirmy.

And that led to other thoughts, thoughts much more on the naughty naked side and Buffy had to quickly shut her eyes and squeeze those thoughts from her brain, before her panties bore the brunt of her fascination.

"And there was information about Angel, too, you say?"

Buffy nodded, snagging a cookie as Willow walked past. "Yumm," she moaned as the chocalatey goodness exploded in her mouth, and again she was off, thinking of other things exploding in her mouth. The memories were so vibrant that her flesh began to tingle, so incredibly real for something she had never experienced.

"Right, we really must sit down and record all you can remember. Right now, though, it is imperative you locate Spike before he finds the Gem of Amara. If he finds it he will become invincible."

Buffy snorted, imagining herself in a fierce battle in which insults fly and rings are torn off fingers, a smoky Spike disappearing down a sewer grate before he could turn to dust. Buffy frowned, for the first time wondering if there might have been a smidgen of truth to her dreams. She dismissed it again, munching distractedly on another cookie as Willow left the plate in the middle of the table.

"Check, find Spike, then record silly spell induced Slayer incapacitating dream. Gotcha." Buffy rose to her feet, grabbing another cookie as she moved to the door. "Don't frown at me, Giles. I've been all coma girl for three days. I think I deserve some sugary goodness."

And she was gone, her slayer senses let free to seek out a master.