Summary: Buffy's dreams become reality in a very unexpected way.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Author's notes: I have already finished this fic, I am posting it as it is beta'd, so updates will be frequent and quick, as opposed to the rest of my fics. :)
This fic is set around series 2/3, beginning between Some Assembly Required and School Hard – so Buffy and Spike have not met yet.
Thanks to dawnofme for beta'ing.
A Wish Your Heart Makes
Shadows on the wall forming outlines of your face
I reach out to touch you through time and through space
In my dreams I'm always with you
So let me sleep …
I dream that you're here with me, lying by my side
This won't last forever, let's catch the sands of time
I don't want ever to wake …
Let me sleep for a while, let me dream of your smile
- S Club, "Let Me Sleep"
Chapter One: Doodles of the Heart
Buffy opened her eyes.
Her bedroom, shadowy in the dark, was no longer there. It took her a moment to realise she was in an unfamiliar alleyway. It took her a moment longer to realise that she was standing in it, and that she was doing so without any idea how she got there.
I must be dreaming, Buffy thought. Looking down, she gasped. She was dressed in a full, flowing old-fashioned dress in a soft pink colour.
"Wow," she breathed. "Someone pinch me."
There was nobody around to complete her request. She looked up at the stars, and gasped. There were many more visible in this dim light than she was used to seeing from home – or rather, when she was awake, assuming she was dreaming.
The alley had a lingering stench, and that combined with the corset Buffy was wearing was beginning to make her feel rather faint. She made her way out of the alley and found a road.
It was cobbled, and there were no electric streetlights. The buildings around her were all factories in the style of a century ago, but looked too recent to have been built then. She followed the road, tripping several times on her long skirt. A horse-drawn carriage came rattling around the corner, and she stared, before waving at it from the pavement. "Please stop!"
The driver reined in the horse. "Can I help you, Miss?" His accent was Cockney, or something similar, Buffy noticed.
"Um, yes. I seem to be kinda lost."
He looked her over. "You lookin' fer an inn?"
"Er …" An inn sounded good. Buffy may have been dreaming, but her feet hurt from her shoes rubbing uncomfortably against her toes and heel. "Yes, please, could you point me in the right direction?"
"Well, there's a big to-do at the Shootin' Star tonight. Looks like that'll be the best place fer a lady of your status." Buffy glanced down at the stunning dress. "Keep on walkin' tha' way, once you get pas' the factories it's abou' two minutes' walk before you see it, can't miss it."
"Thank you," Buffy said. He topped his hat.
"You're welcome, Miss." He clicked at the horses and jiggled the reins, and it started to move again. "Good night."
Buffy followed his directions and found the inn on a quiet road adjoining one full of tall, well-looked-after houses that, remembering her History classes, probably provided jobs for dozens of servants each. The inn was large and fancy, more like a hotel, with a long garden on one side containing a fountain and lined with rose bushes.
Entering the inn nervously, she gazed around in wonder at her surroundings. Suddenly her feet had stopped hurting, as she saw people milling all around her straight out of one of those period romantic films her mother was so fond of.
There was a commotion the other side of the room – some aristocrat had slid his cane out sideways just as another walked past, sending him flying. She hurried over.
"I saw that!" Buffy snapped at the tripper, who looked shocked at her impertinence. "Are you alright?" she directed at the fallen man.
He looked up at her and his mouth fell open. He was quite nice-looking, Buffy thought, and he had deep blue eyes that at that moment looked both confused and embarrassed. "Y-you mean me?"
"Yes, I mean you." Buffy offered him her hand to help him to his feet, but he brushed it off and stood up on his own, his cheeks slightly flushed. Buffy realised she had probably committed a big no-no. Even in the real world, guys got embarrassed if you "saved" them from other guys. And she wasn't a History expert, but she knew that most of it had very chauvinistic views of women.
"So, who's your lady friend, William?" the aristocrat who had tripped him mocked. "Another muse for your worthless drivel? I would stay far away from this man, Miss, his poetry is the worst in England; and if he tries to write about you, it will scar you for life."
"No wonder I never see any eligible females within ten feet of him," another gentleman chortled.
William looked both humiliated and uncomfortable as the other men around him laughed. He pushed his glasses further up his nose and made to leave in a hurry, but Buffy stepped in his way.
"I'm eligible," she directed at the group. Bullies never changed and she thought she knew how to handle these ones. Besides, there was something about William that held her interest. Maybe it was his handsome features or his deep eyes that spoke of sensitivity and passion. Her first instinct was to ask him to dance, but thought just in time that it was probably too forward, and instead said to William, "Would you like to ask me to dance?"
Every mouth in the vicinity fell open, especially William's. When he found his voice, he stammered, "W-would you care to d-dance with m-me?"
"I'd be honoured," she replied, smiling and offering him her arm. William unfroze and took it, leading her onto the dance floor. The men he had been with merely stared after him, and Buffy smiled to herself, satisfied.
"I must ask," William said as he took a gentle hold of one of her hands and placed the other lightly on her back, "Did you only agree to dance with me out of pity?"
"No, I didn't," Buffy said truthfully. "I would like to get to know you … William, right?"
He nodded, smiling now, which made his face light up. "Yes. William Pratt. And you are Miss …?"
"B – er – Elizabeth."
Maybe it was because she had already drawn enough attention to herself without telling everyone she was called Buffy – a name that was unusual enough in her time. In the two seconds she had to think one up, she chose Elizabeth – a name she knew her mother had briefly considered for her, after her grandmother.
"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Elizabeth." His eyes sparkled from behind his glasses. "And thank you."
"Don't thank me yet," Buffy said as she stumbled on her skirt. "I should have warned you I'm not very good at dancing."
He chuckled and led her more firmly and slower, not seeming to mind her stumbling as he danced gracefully. It got easier, however, and Buffy found she was thoroughly enjoying herself.
"So," he said after a few minutes, "you're American?"
"I haven't seen you around here before."
"I'm new to the area," Buffy invented. Even though she was positive this was simply a bizarre dream, she didn't want to scare this cute young man away by telling him she was a vampire slayer from the twenty-first century in a dream world. "I'm staying here for a while before I go back to California."
"How long are you staying?"
"I don't know. We'll see."
The music stopped and Buffy let go of William reluctantly. "Do you mind, I need a bit of fresh air."
"Do you object if I accompany you?"
"Guess not," Buffy smiled.
It was a beautiful evening. The part of the garden nearest the building was full of people talking. Buffy hitched up her skirt and began to stroll down a path, William at her side, and they talked. Buffy found out that he lived with his mother Anne, that he was (or rather, tried to be) a poet, that he had lived in London his whole life and dreamed of travelling abroad some day – he didn't care too much where. "I envy you," he said to Buffy. "It must take courage to go to a strange land. Who are you travelling with? Family?"
"No, I'm on my own." Buffy smiled as his eyebrows rose in surprise.
William also quizzed Buffy about herself, and she answered as truthfully as she could. She told him she was single (well, sort of, but she didn't want to get into the Angel thing with a guy who was only part of her imagination anyway), had lived in California all her life, and admitted that she practised self-defence. He was very impressed at that, and asked if she could fight off an attacker.
"I'd show you, but I don't want someone to think you're really attacking me and call the police on you," she smiled. "Let's just say I'm stronger than I look."
It felt strange being called Elizabeth, especially Miss Elizabeth. Buffy was considering asking him to call her Lizzie, when he suddenly stopped walking and looked around. "Where is everybody?"
Buffy pointed up the garden to the inn.
"We should go back," William said in unease.
He looked around pointedly. "We're alone."
There was a pause. "Obviously," William said, "it's more socially acceptable in California for a man and a woman who are unmarried to be seen alone together?"
"Oh." This part of the time difference had not occurred to Buffy. This sucks. "Well, so what? Do you really care what they think? And besides, it's my reputation that would suffer, not yours."
"It's your reputation I was thinking of."
"Well don't bother, William. I honestly don't mind. And I'll prove it." Buffy placed a hand behind his neck and gently pulled him down to her level and kissed him.
London, 1878, Some Months Later
"Miss Elizabeth. It is a pleasure to see you again, as always."
Lizzie smiled at William as he kissed her hand politely, and his heart began to race. Her green eyes glittered mischievously and it was with a great effort that he released her hand and offered her his arm. "Would you care to take a walk with me?"
"I would love to, William."
The two of them stepped outside into the cool night air and began walking slowly, at first in silence. They had grown so used to each other over the weeks of evenings spent in each other's company that often, they found no words needed to be said.
"Is that a shooting star?" Lizzie asked, stopping suddenly just outside a pair of park gates.
William gazed into the night sky. "I think it is."
"That was rhetorical, William," she replied, but lightly. "Make a wish."
He smiled broadly. "Can you guess what I wished?"
"You're not supposed to tell me, it won't come true then."
"That is just silly."
"I know." She giggled. "But it's fun."
He stared at her in wonder. She had such a beautiful smile.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
He nodded quickly, beginning to blush. "Yes, yes." William paused. "Lizzie …"
He swallowed. "May I kiss you?"
Lizzie smiled. "You don't have to ask me permission, you know." She took a firm hold on his hand and led him through the park gates and along the path a short way, until they came to a large bush.
"You Americans have strange ways," he told her as they pushed their way inside.
"More privacy this way."
William chuckled, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. "Now, where were we?"
"I think I remember," he said, grinning, and kissed her.
William and Lizzie had strolled, stopping occasionally for a few kisses, for a good two hours, until finally he insisted on walking her back home. "It is not safe for a young lady to walk about the city alone this late."
"I can look after myself."
"I won't hear of it, Golden-locks."
She giggled at the nickname, and allowed him to lead her. They returned to the hotel Lizzie was staying at, and paused outside the door.
"Well, goodnight," she said softly.
William gently brushed her cheek with his thumb. "May I see you again tomorrow night?"
"You still haven't told me how long you will be staying here," he murmured.
"That's because I'm not sure, William." Lizzie kissed him lightly on the lips. "I hope for a long time yet."
"So do I."
They said goodbye, and William left. As he turned the corner, he didn't notice Lizzie fade away to nothing.
Sunnydale, Present Day
Buffy hummed to herself as she dressed for the day, her mind still on her dream. It had been a recurring one for many weeks now. Strangely enough, although set in the same time and place with the same people, it was different every night – time seemed to move in the dream world at the same rate as it did in the real one. Dreaming always left her in a good mood, which she was sure her mother had noticed, but had not commented on.
During the day, however, the good mood would usually dissipate. Things such as schoolwork and slaying tended to get in the way, and Buffy was beginning to feel somewhat guilty that she was dreaming of one man while in love with another. She and Angel weren't even together, but she still felt as if she was somehow betraying him.
She hadn't mentioned her dream boyfriend to anyone. William was her private secret. The guy was so sweet and even though she saw him every night, she still missed him during the day.
She found it rather ironic that she had to dream about a guy who, if he was real, would have lived a century before she did, to find someone that fulfilled her idea of a gentleman. It was also odd that she was dreaming about someone as gentle as William was when she had always had a thing for the bad boys. In any case, she found it rather refreshing. He may not be real, but it felt real, and for now, that was enough.
Buffy only half-listened in her lessons, doodling on her textbook cover. When the bell rang, she looked down at what she had drawn. Right next to the heart encasing the words "Buffy & Angel" was a new heart. In this one she'd written, Lizzie & William.