Title: To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

Author: VladtheImpish

Summary: The third in the dreams series. Graduation.

Rating: Nothing worse than the show, at least I don't think so.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this story, other people do. I will not make any money from this story; it is purely for the enjoyment of others. Please don't sue, as I'm trying to cut down on my court appearances.

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

The last six months had been hard on Xander, ever since his last conversation with Buffy in the janitor's closet. He'd had no contact with any of his friends, and while that had been the aim, the loneliness he'd felt had been like a living breathing thing. He had considered leaving Sunnydale altogether, to make a clean start, but he'd wanted to graduate and that meant staying.

He'd used his extra free time to figure out what he wanted to do with himself after graduation, and put himself in a better position financially to do it. The first part was easy, as all he really wanted to do was travel the world in the hope that he would find some way to return to normal, not knowing whether his invulnerability went as far as immortality and not wanting to run the risk that it was.

The second was a little harder, as the odd jobs he might be able to get would be nowhere enough to help in his travels. That meant he had to try the less wise option of raiding the nests and lairs of vampires and demons that lived in the area and hope that whatever they had decided to keep was of value.

His fitness had improved over the months, and he didn't look as lanky as he had done before his encounter with the Ytin'e'res, but he was still far short of the levels he would like to be. It had been hard going, and he'd tested his new status on many an occasion when his physical prowess weren't sufficient, but had eventually amassed enough money and other items to ensure that he wouldn't starve for quite some time, and ensure that he had the means to travel where he needed to.

While he'd stayed away from Buffy and the others, he hadn't lost touch with what they were doing, as he'd recruited Jonathan to place a couple of listening devices in the library. It hadn't been easy to persuade Jon to do it, until he'd made him believe it would be like James Bond gathering intel on Blofeld, and then he had jumped at the chance.

The devices had allowed him to hear about the latest Slayer, a young girl called Faith, who had died not long after she had arrived in Sunnydale. She had died by the hand of a millennia old vampire called Kakistos, who had followed her from her hometown of Boston, while she in turn had killed it with the final swing of her sword. Xander had been present at the funeral, hidden in the trees some distance away, feeling that it was the least he could do for someone who sacrificed their life to ensure a monster no longer preyed on the innocent.

He'd heard about the third appearance of Ethan Rayne, who had been paid to taint the candy the students had all been given to revert the adults into a teenaged state of mind. Xander had eaten all of the candy he'd been given, and had felt no ill effects, which was probably because he was a teenager. He'd heard how Giles had left Ethan crippled in the factory where they found him whilst he was in his Ripper mode, as Buffy had left the two of them alone while she had searched for her mother, who had run off when faced with a vampire and a teenaged version of Snyder.

Xander had visited Ethan in hospital after the incident, wanting to see the man that had been a thorn in their side on more than one occasion, and had found himself unable to hate the pitiful example of humanity that had laid there before him, sobbing like a child over the consequences of his actions, and had left as silently as he'd arrived. He hoped that it would be the last time the Englishman's brand of chaos would be inflicted on the town, but given that Ethan didn't need his legs to cast magic, he doubted it.

He'd heard, and had also been a witness to, Spike's return to the Hellmouth, who had come back to the Hellmouth looking for a way to get 'his Dru' back. The vampire's attempt to kidnap Willow and Oz and force her to cast a spell on its sire backfired and as far as the others knew, Spike had hightailed out of Sunnydale to ensure it didn't have to face off against Buffy again. In actuality Spike had never reached the town limits, Xander had seen to that personally, in a manner of speaking.

Xander had actually taken a small modicum of pleasure in dusting the self-proclaimed Big Bad, but it had been a pyrrhic victory at best. He'd simply been outclassed by the master vampire during their fight, and would have most certainly died several times over had he been able. Spike had given him a master class in pain once it became clear that killing him wasn't an option, and it felt as though there hadn't been a bone in his body he hadn't broken.

It had been luck that enabled Xander to stake Spike at all, as he'd stumbled and took Spike with him as they fell onto a crate, which had pierced them both through the heart. Xander remained conscious long enough to watch Spike turn to dust before succumbing to the darkness himself. He had once again cursed his new status as he had 'died' several times before he'd managed to remove the wood from his chest.

He'd also heard about the mayor being the one to found the town over a hundred years ago, and his plans for graduation. The thought of the town, and later the world, being eaten by a true demon was not something Xander wanted to experience. It was then that he knew his decision to remain was the correct one, as he knew that they would need every pair of hands available in order to defeat him.

Not wanting to be in contact with anyone in the group, even during a situation like this, he had sneaked into the library when the others were not around and had done some research on his own. As it seemed that the mayor was also in the 'can't be killed' club, he focused anything that may be of use to kill or at least weaken the mayor once the transformation took place.

Giles had not spoken of any during any meetings, but Xander knew from the Watcher himself that the demons had been banished from Earth before, so there must be something that humans back then had used to do the job. He knew that his skill with magic was non-existent on a good day, but Xander hoped that he might find something that would be easy to follow and more importantly work, or at least leave it somewhere for the others to find.

When he had found some rituals that might work, he realised why Giles had made no mention of them, as there wasn't one spell or ritual that didn't require the castor to sacrifice their life to complete the spell. The most powerful spells, the ones almost guaranteed to kill a true demon, actually required many human lives, hundreds in some cases. It was a prime example of the needs of the may outweighing the needs of the few.

The only positive aspects of the spells were their relative ease to cast, ensuring that even the most magically inept could perform it. One could even be pre-cast and triggered with a key phrase, which was perfect for battle conditions. It was that one he paid the most attention to, and decided to become the back up plan in case whatever Giles and the other worked out didn't work.

If he were lucky maybe the spell was what he'd been searching for, and that his own private hell would soon come to an end.

"… I had this whole section on civic duty, but it seems that the time is at hand for my ascension."

Xander watched from the back of the crowd as Mayor Richard Wilkins I, II and III slowly changed into a snake-like demon, larger it seemed than any dinosaur known to man.

He knew that the students were armed for battle under their robes, waiting for Buffy to give the signal to go to war. He was armed to the teeth also; although for his plan to work he had to ensure he didn't get too caught up in the action. The eclipse had brought out the darkside of the town, and the last thing he needed was to be too busy fighting off vampires wanting a tasty treat to be of any use should things not go to plan.

The plan was simple; wait for the mayor to transform – Xander couldn't bring himself to use ascend as a word to describe the change from a man to a demon – lure him into the school and then blow the thing up. Willow had conjured up enough explosives, delving into her scientific knowledge for a change instead of her mystical, to ensure there would be a nice big boom, but Xander wasn't sure that the explosion would be focussed enough to cause serious damage to Big Dick, which was where he would come in.

Buffy gave the order, and the graduating class of 1999 turned into a fighting force to be reckoned with, half dealing with the vampires while the other half did their best to keep the Demon Mayor at bay. Buffy did whatever she could to make the former leader of Sunnydale follow her, but it seemed that it just didn't think that much of her to notice.

As she realised their plan wasn't going to work, Xander realised that he was up. Dodging through the melee, he managed to get close enough to the pair to do his thing.

"Hey, you Graboid wannabe, I've got something to say to you!" He yelled, hoping to catch the Mayor's attention. To further his cause, he pulled a Molotov cocktail from beneath his robes and, after lighting it, threw it at its head, causing it to growl in annoyance if not pain.

Someone who did notice him was Buffy, who was as surprised to see Xander as she was angry. "What the hell are you doing here!?"

Xander didn't answer, not waning to get into a conversation with her, and hoped that she wouldn't come over and force an answer out of him. His hopes were answered when Dick decided that it needed to have a Xander-sized snack. He managed to get out of the way of the demon's jaws by the smallest of margins, and knew that he had to do it now before his luck ran out.

When he came up with the triggering phrase, he ensured it wouldn't be something he would normally say under such circumstances, and in the end could only think of one thing.

"Party on Dudes!"

Agony. That word best described the sensation Xander felt when he uttered the trigger phrase and activated the spell. A large beam of blue light began streaming out of Xander at into the mayor, which from the moment it touched it caused the demon to roar on pain.

Buffy watched in a sick sense of awe as Xander's body convulsed, a hellish scream coming from him that had no right to be emitted from one of her closest friends, something she still considered him to be despite everything. She knew that there was nothing she could do to stop what was happening, and a part of her was sickened by the fact that she wouldn't try anyway. She could see that whatever Xander was doing was working, and the simple fact was that of they couldn't defeat this thing now while it was it its weakest then the world was doomed.

Steadily the beam of light began to grow more and more intense, soon becoming painful to gaze at, forcing Buffy to avert her eyes. As she did, she looked over the battlefield that was once her high school, and saw that the vampires and other demons that had allied themselves with the mayor were turning tail and running for their lives, as the light seemed to be as effective as sunlight and even though it wasn't directed at them, it still affected them.

They didn't get far, as all of a sudden there was a blinding flash of blue light that engulfed the entire area. As Buffy's vision returned, she did a quick scan of the area to see what happened and noticed that every vampire and demon, including the mayor, were gone.

So too was Xander.

The End