Disclaimer: I don't own BtVS. Still.


Chapter 10: Sweet Dreams Aren't Made of These

Buffy yawned, sitting up. She smiled, leaning into Spike's embrace. Oh, wait. I'm mad at him. Grudgingly, Buffy pulled herself from him, getting to her feet. On a whim, she walked outside. Why's it so dark? Clouds covered the sun, thick and gray. She stepped out from under the porch, pelted with hail within moments. Confused, she continued on, to the park. Eyes landed on a sandbox. As if by a magnetic pull, she sat down in the sand. A bucket and pale appeared. I could dig, and dig, and dig...

xxx

Spike blinked awake, the comforting pressure leaving him It took him a second to realize that he woke because Buffy was no longer within his arms. He got to his feet. How far could she have gone? He pushed the door open, stumbling into his crypt. Bloody hell, since when was my crypt outside of Giles' house? This is going to be a bother.

Sighing, he looked around. Maybe Buffy had, for some unknown reason, gone to his crypt. His old crypt, he amended, since he now shared an apartment with her. As if some ethereal force had heard him, he tripped, falling through a random hole in the floor and landing on the bed in their apartment. Forget finding Buffy. I need to find me.

xxx

Faith jumped up, looking around. She was in the middle of a familiar park. The park in Sunnydale, she realized. She looked around, spotting Buffy in the sand box, just digging away. "B, that's a pretty big hole you've dug..." It was more like a grave than a hole, really.

Buffy stared up for a moment. "I could dig, and dig, and dig, and dig, and..."

Faith turned away from the other slayer. It was too strange. A beast, dark and carnal, gave her a shove. A scream ripped from her throat as she stumbled backwards, falling into the hole Buffy had dug. Falling, falling, how far could this hole go? Abruptly, she found herself at Sunnydale High's school library. Okay, there's something wrong here. I know for a fact that the school isn't underground. Is this a nightmare?

She watched as Willow looked around the empty room, clearly confused.

xxx

Willow frowned. What was she doing in the old Sunnydale library? And wasn't it old and decrepit? "Red!" Willow spun around, spotting none other than Faith. "What're you doing here?"

"Beats me. Thought you might know."

"Well... It's probably best if we stay together."

xxx

Anya gasped, water invading her lungs, eyes burning from chlorine. She held up a hand, desperately begging for help. Her world started to turn black. She reached, and reached. Water choked her, as she blindly grasped at her throat.

All water suddenly disappeared, leaving Anya in the middle of Sunnydale High's library. She coughed, getting some extra water from her lungs. Rubbing her eyes, she imagined that she saw Willow and Faith running from the room. I must have a wild imagination, cuz there's no way they got here. Unless they drowned, too. Cold, and slightly shivering, Anya made her way to the door.

A man randomly jumped before her, nearly scaring her to death. Bald with glasses, wearing a suit, he held a platter with cheese. "Cheese for protection," he offered.

Anya thought over the offer. Xander had said not to accept things from strangers, but he also said it's rude to turn down free stuff. Which advice to follow...? I'm always for free stuff. And who says I have to eat it? "Will it keep away the rabbits?"

"Indeed, that is the power of cheese!" It almost sounded like he was trying to rhyme, but Anya dismissed that thought, taking a few pieces. She stuffed them in her pocket, silently wondering if Xander would clean her pants when the cheese was melted goo later.

She exited the door, falling once more, this time getting a face full of dirt. Spitting, she opened her eyes, seeing that she was within a giant desert. Beside her was Buffy, digging a grave. It actually appeared to be a second grave that she was digging, as one giant hole was already dug.

"Um, Buffy. Who died?"

"Xander," she whispered, not looking up.

"Xander?" She felt panic rip through her. "You're not serious?"

"And Willow, and Anya, and Oz, and Giles, and Spike-"

"Spike's already dead. Vampire, remember? And if he was dusted, there's no point in digging a grave."

Buffy blinked, light coming back to her eyes. "Anya. You're alive."

"Yeah, I'm alive. From what I remember, so is everyone else. What's going on?"

"I really don't know. Help me dig."

Anya frowned, but before she could disagree, she found a shovel in her hand. Suddenly, a piece of cheese flew out of her pocket, stretching until it encased the shovel. She blinked as the shovel disappeared, the giant desert looking like nothing more than a sand box. She looked around, but Buffy had disappeared.

xxx

Giles looked around the color-filled room. What was happening?

"Giles!"

He turned his head, surprised to see Anya running to him. "It's the cheese! It protects!"

"...I can't say I understand you, Anya."

She whipped a piece of cheese out of her pocket. "Illusions tried to eat and control me, but the cheese protected me. Some guy offered me some. Did he offer you any?"

"I have yet to see a man handing out cheese."

"Oh..." she said, sounding dejected.

"What about cheese?"

Giles raised a brow. Now Spike was here, too? But still no Buffy. "Anya says it will protect us."

"Alright then... Anyone seen Buffy?"

"Yeah," Anya said, "But then the cheese protected me and Buffy disappeared. I think the monster took her."

"Where'd you see her?"

"Sandbox in the park."

xxx

Xander fell out of his seat, yelping as a clawed hand descended towards his chest, an androgynous-like woman looking down at him, hair dread locked and skin dark. He rolled away from her, only to have her hand reach through his back and yank out his heart. In a now nonexistent heartbeat, she disappeared.

My heart! I'm dead! Getting to his feet, Xander noted that he was in his basement. Strange. A knocking sounded at the top of the stairs. Oh no, I'm not falling for that one. He opted for crawling out of his window, falling into a water-color type room. He saw Anya talking to Giles, and Spike... running away? No, running to something.

"Anya? Giles? What's going on?"

Weird words escaped their lips. Xander could only recognize the beautiful language as French, not understanding a single syllable. "Alrighty then. Anyone speak English?"

Anya continued to babble in French. When he just stared, she held up a piece of cheese, putting it over her heart.

"You love cheese?"

She shook her head, hugging him and then showing him the cheese again.

"I look like a smelly piece of American Cheese. Thanks, Ahn."

She scowled at him, shoving the cheese into one of his pockets.

"Great. I've always wanted cheese in my pockets."

xxx

Spike stared blankly at the sandbox. There were two graves dug. At least they looked like graves. Why the hell was "Spike" etched in the sand above one of the graves, with a sideways sad face? At least he figured :'( was a sad face. Bloody hell, I've already got a grave. Kinda dead. And who digs a grave for ashes, since that's all I'd be?

Looking around, Spike raised a brow at the ice cream truck driving by. It had Anya and Xander in it. Behind him he saw... himself, in a suit? Why was he swinging with Giles? Because this world's bloody messed up is why. Why am I looking for Buffy, anyways?

"Cheese?"

Spike jumped, glaring at the man who had so rudely interrupted his for-once deep thoughts. "I think I will take cheese. But you won't be paid." He took three pieces of cheese, raising a brow when he stuffed them into his pockets. What a strange involuntary action. He turned to the sandbox, looking at the other grave. Above it was the name Buffy Anne Summers.

At least I know she's still alive, he thought, absentmindedly. The grave's bloody empty. Unless she's a zombie?

xxx

Willow paused at the park, Faith stopping beside her. "Wow. Look at this." Faith did so, looking around. Spike was on the swings with Giles while wearing a suit, one of the strangest sights she'd ever seen. On top of the fact that the sun is out. She raised a brow when she saw another, more normal Spike by the sandbox, staring at two graves with confusion written across his face.

Faith walked up to him, aware of Willow following her. "Spike, right?"

He turned around. "Seen Buffy? Not dead, right?"

"Why would she be dead?" asked Willow. Faith pointed to the graves.

"Oh," Willow replied. "But you're still walking around, so she should be too, right?"

"I suppose," Spike agreed, looking around. "Just a bit confused, you see."

Willow closed her eyes. "I'm getting out of here. I need to see Oz." Faith watched in awe as Willow disappeared.

"I see how it is! I help you, and you leave me here!" Faith glared up at the silent sky, quickly placing her hands over her head as it started to hail. "Strange, strange day in the rabbit hole."

"Couldn't agree more," said Spike, also holding his hands above his head. "Weather's strange, too."

xxx

Buffy traveled down the sandy hill, dead plants the only plants, with the exception of a few cacti. She squinted to keep the sand from her eyes, looking around. The place was both empty and endless. She rubbed her eyes, momentarily blinded by sand. Eyes watered, sand coming out naturally.

Vision clearing, she saw a woman before her. Dark, dread-locked hair, equally dark skin, and hunched shoulders. Skimpy clothes adorned the muscled, yet frail frame.

"Who are you?"

"My name is of no importance."

Buffy spun around, raising a brow when a strange girl spoke. Blue eyes, dirty blond hair, and a bit overweight, she had never seen the girl before. "Let her talk to me."

"She can't talk. I'm the guide. I'll tell you what she says."

"...alright." Not like I have a choice, right? "What am I doing here?"

"You have tampered with dark magic."

"And? I needed to combine with my friends to defeat the threat."

"A slayer should be alone, without help or friends. The slayer is a lone soldier for justice."

"Alone, I would've died," Buffy pointed out.

"Then you would've died. It is common for slayers to die in battle."

"What? You trapped me here because I had external help?" Buffy glared when no answer came. "Release me, my friends, and everyone else. Giles told me about you. No watcher. Well, I'm sorry, but things have changed since your time. Friends are a necessary part of my life that make me stronger, and trapping me in my mind sure as hell doesn't help anything!"

xxx

Buffy gasped, sitting up in her seat. She blinked, feeling everyone else wake up around her. Arms tightened around her possessively. "Am I the only one who had such a strange dream, love?"

"No. The first slayer, I think, trapped us all in that dream."

"She ripped my heart out," Xander complained, "in my basement."

"You must've not had a piece of cheese yet," Anya replied. "It's the slayer's weakness."

"...I swear my weakness isn't cheese," Buffy murmured.

"Oh, not you. The first slayer," Anya said, clarifying herself.

"And how come everyone spoke French to me?" Xander demanded.

"No one was speaking French," said Anya, matter-of-factly. "You must just have a weird imagination.

xxx

Faith jumped, hearing something about a last call. She quickly rushed off the train before it could get going again. Strange dream...

xxx

"So, let me get this straight. You, Buffy, Faith, Giles, Xander, Anya, and Spike all shared a dream?"

"Yep," Willow confirmed. "It was really weird, since it was a dream and stuff. I used a spell to get out of there, though. I teleported here instead." Willow looked up at the sky. "Is tonight the full moon?"

"Yeah. If I can stay human during it, I'm going home."

Willow felt a smile take over her features, the first real one in weeks. "I'd like that."


A.N: Hmm... Thoughts? Comments? Random words you need to share? (points to where the gray review button used to be) Oh, wait, that's unhelpful... stupid remodeling XD