NOTES: This is response to a challenge off the sunnydalewriters mailing list. The challenge is described on the story's index page. Dream sequences are contained in between // \\ symbols.

Part 1

// Caroline sat on the bench, surrounded by a group of men vying for her attention. Each waiting for the chance to freshen her drink for her or get her dessert. It was a beautiful spring day. A warm breeze floated through the air carrying a mix of smells from the afternoon's barbeque with it. Some of the smells were very pleasant and some were not. Life on a plantation did not stop for the darkies who had both corn and winter wheat to tend to at this time of year.

Charles Montgomery and Aaron Harrison were engaged in some sort of political talk that Caroline had no desire to listen to. She tried, really, she did. Her father insisted that Caroline at least be familiar with how things worked outside of the home where the men were in charge. But politics were so very dull.

Her attention drifted to other things as she took in her surroundings. She could not believe that Cathleen Krinsky was wearing the same dress as she wore to the last barbeque. She could not imagine being seen in the same dress two parties in a row. While Caroline's dress for the afternoon barbeque was nothing special the red and gold taffeta gown she had for the evening's dance was going to make Daniel wish he had already asked her father for her hand in marriage. The gown was daringly low cut and the sleeves were so low on her upper arms that a generous amount of skin would be showing while still remaining within propriety.\\

Buffy woke, stretching out in her bed. For the briefest of moments she smelled the scent of lemons and food being cooked on open-pit fires ever so faintly. She recalled her latest dream and opened the notebook by her bed to write down the details. Not even Willow knew about the latest dreams Buffy had been having.

She wondered if she was dreaming about characters from an old movie she had watched with her mom. None of it seemed familiar, but she did not remember every movie she had seen. The woman in her dream was beautiful. She was always dressed perfectly with her long dark hair coiffed just-so all of the time. Her skin was creamy white without a blemish on it, as if the woman had never been out in the sun. She seemed happy and confident, things Buffy could not relate to. She had confidence in herself when it came to slaying but that was about it. And happiness? What was that? Angel had left her, Parker had used her, Willow would be just fine at UC Sunnydale without her. Xander still liked having her around, but that was nothing new where Xander was concerned. She sighed as she finished recording her description of the dream in her notebook.

It was the fourth dream she had involving the same people. Each dream seemed to draw her in deeper, as if there was something she was supposed to see or know. Whatever it was she was missing the point at least so far she was.

"Oh hi, Buffy, I wasn't expecting you to be awake yet," Willow said as she entered their room. She had obviously just taken her shower.

"Hey, Wil." Now that Oz had left, Buffy was not sure how to treat Willow. Her friend was obviously hurting, Buffy knew how she felt but there was a chance Oz would come back. Buffy did not think she had that same possibility open to her regarding Angel. She was quite sure the pain both of them felt was reflected clearly in one another's eyes.

"Whatcha writing?"

"Oh nothing, just a dream journal."

"Slayery-like dreams?"

"No, I just like to keep track of them so if it turns out to be a slayer-like dream I can remember what all I've dreamt so far."

"Oh, that makes sense."

"I thought so. I started doing it in high school when I was having dreams about The Master." She shrugged as she capped her pen and slid her notebook into her nightstand drawer. She was not worried about Willow snooping. She was not going to inconvenience Willow right now with dreams that probably meant nothing as far as doom and gloom approaching went. The dreams were strangely nice, she always felt well rested and calm when she woke up from them.

"I'll see you in Psych class then," Willow said collecting her book bag.

"Okay," Buffy called out as Willow closed the door. "Time for a shower and breakfast," Buffy said as she stood from bed.