Disclaimer: I don't own any rights to the characters or the verse Joss created. I am simply here to entertain.

Author's Note: Set after Hell Bell's in Season 6.

Chapter 1: The Carnival

I passed by my sister's room as I made my way down the hall to my own bedroom. Who would have thought just a year ago that this meant I was making my way to my mother's bedroom. I opened the door and entered the room where everything was as she'd kept it, besides my few possessions that now lay scattered over the top of her dresser and a few stakes and crosses that could now be found hidden throughout the room.

I flopped on the bed and stared at the ceiling. This past year of my life has been a never ending frenzy of demons and loss. Dawn had become a kleptomaniac, stealing from literally every shop in Sunnydale. Willow and Tara are no longer together; Willow had become addicted to magic, abusing it for so long that she can't even do simple spells anymore without craving more. Xander had left a devastated Anya at the altar. I never have seen her so devastated. Giles had left to go live somewhere in England, abandoning me and leaving us to fend for ourselves, and…

Spike.

I couldn't even say his name when I broke it off with him…I had to call him William…it was hard enough just looking at him. Actually, ever since I got back from Heaven, it feels as if everything has become hard. What I wouldn't give to have some peace, to go back to a time when things were easy. A time when I would become Fiesta Queen or a time when my mother would just make everything better.

I glanced at the picture that my mom had placed on the end table by her bed. We are smiling together. I'm holding a wand of cotton candy and my stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo, while my mom is hugging me from behind and kissing me on the cheek. I just wish that things were like they used to be. I felt my eyes drift closed and I gave in to the sleep I so desperately needed.

"Yes, I know there is a problem at the gallery, but I simply can't come in." Joyce tapped her foot on the kitchen tile while she listened to her co-worker on the other end. "Can't you get someone else to fix it?" Pause. "Just call the client and explain to him the situation."

Buffy walked into the kitchen sleepily, rubbed her eyes, and then gazed at her mother who was on the phone. She walked up to Joyce with Mr. Gordo, her new stuffed pig, in hand, and tried to get her mother's attention by tugging on her pants. "I understand that he's my client" Joyce looked down at her six year old daughter. She placed a hand over the phone. "Not nowBuffy. This is a very important grown-up conversation."

Buffy pouted as her mother went on with her conversation. Her mom worked part time at an art gallery, but her dad worked every day. Sometimes he even worked weekends. When both of her parents had to work, Buffy's babysitter, Natasha, came over. Buffy liked Natasha because she played games and let her eat a ton of candy.

She tugged on her mother's pant leg again, this time with a little more force. Her mother gave her "the look", which usually meant that if she didn't stop now, she would be in big trouble.

"Yes, I understand, but I'm at home with my daughter and the babysitter is unavailable." Pause. "No, there is no one else…I will be there tomorrow when she goes to school." Pause. "Yes, I understand. Goodbye." Joyce sighed as she hung up the phone then ran her hands over her face and through her hair.

Buffy timidly tugged at her mom's leg again then hugged her. Her mommy looked upset and whenever she got upset, Buffy liked to give her a hug.

Joyce smiled and hugged her daughter back. She kneeled down so she could look directly into her daughter's face. Buffy's smile reached her eyes, which were sparkling green.

"Buffy? How about you and I go to the carnival that's here tonight? Wouldn't that be fun?" Joyce smiled as her daughter squealed with delight.

"Mommy, can Mr. Gordo go too?" She looked almost afraid of the answer.

"Of course, honey!"

Joyce and Buffy strolled through the carnival hand and hand. They'd gotten there at about six o'clock when it first opened. The carnival was glowing with lights and fireworks, and held every ride and type of booth imaginable. Buffy, wearing a light green dress with pink flowers, was holding on to Mr. Gordo tightly.

"Mommy, can I have a corn dog?"

Joyce looked down at her daughter in shock. "Honey, you just had two things of cotton candy, a large coke, a soft pretzel, and a hamburger!"

Buffy giggled, "Yeah, but, Mommy, I want a corn dog!" and pointed to a big booth that was selling concessions.

Joyce considered her daughter for a moment before she nodded. Joyce's expression became stern. "Go over there," Joyce pointed to a picnic table. "Wait for me there and don't move!"

Buffy nodded, walked over, sat down at the picnic table and played with Mr. Gordo. Her eyes were attracted everywhere as the lights flashed or changed colors and people laughed and joked as they walked by. One particular couple stood out above the others. The man was the lightest blonde Buffy had ever seen. He was dressed from head to toe in black leather. The woman had dark eye make-up and a long maroon dress on. Her hair was dark brown and her nails were long and painted black.

Just as Buffy saw them, they saw her. The couple whispered to one another and started moving in her direction.

Buffy's eyes widened. She didn't like these people…they frightened her. For some reason, she felt that she had seen the man before. She focused on the man and stared into his blue eyes. Buffy immediately remembered. She had seen him before, but only in her dreams. Although, in the dreams, he had light brown hair and there was a red glow behind him. But, in another, he had girl's make-up around his eyes and a jean jacket on, yet his hair was the same color as it was now. Sometimes he looked like all the other scary men in her dreams, when he had yellow eyes and something was wrong with his face. While others he looked normal.

"Mr. Gordo? Are you afraid too?" Buffy snuggled closer to her stuffed pig. She searched for her mom, but the concession stand was blocked by a crowd of people.

"My, my, what's your name, pet?" The scary man smiled at her. She thought maybe he wasn't so scary, he smiled at her and she thought he was handsome, especially, his blue eyes. She always wanted blue eyes like the man in her dreams, but in her dreams his blue eyes were like ice, hard and cold.

Buffy simply stared at themand hugged Mr. Gordo.

The blonde sat down, "Come on, luv, I don't bite." He smirked and the girl behind him giggled.

She thought about it for a moment, "I'm not supposeta talk to strangers."

"Well, my name's Spike. See, now you know me. We are just here to find something to eat." Spike flashed his teeth.

Buffy smiled back. She guessed it was alright. "Buffy and this is Mr. Gordo! You have a funny name. My neighbor's dog is named Spike too!"

"That's very funny. This is Dru." He turned to look at the woman behind him, who had gone suddenly still. "Luv? What's wrong?"

The woman named Dru began to sway, "The stars don't like her…they say she's bad. Very, very, bad."

He looked at her and then looked back at Buffy, "She's just a little girl."

"No! The stars say danger for us, Spike…I see light, such a bright white light…all around you because of her." Dru's hands covered her eyes. "Such a bright light around you…too bright…it burns, her touch will burn you…set to flame…the earth is shaking around you…then…gone. Poof. Dust." Dru glared at Buffy who had risen from the picnic table and begun to back away.

"BUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!" Joyce was running at full speed towards her daughter who was crying as the dark haired woman's eyes watched her narrowly. Buffy did not like this woman. She scared her. The blue eyed man looked confused.

Spike looked quickly at Dru, "Did you want to grab the bit and go? You said you wanted to feed."

Dru's eyes were glazed over, "Bad, bad taste in my mouth. The stars are screaming 'no'."

The couple ran off deeper into the carnival leaving Buffy alone by the table. Joyce caught up to her daughter once they were out of sight. "Are you okay? Buffy? Did they hurt you? Honey, what happened? Buffy?" Joyce rapidly asked questions and all Buffy could do was stand there and watch the place where the man left. "Buffy?"

Buffy wiped her eyes and turned to her mother as she looked her up and down, "Where's my corndog?"

Joyce let out a sigh of relief and hugged her daughter, showering kisses on her head and cheeks.

TBC