Author's Notes: Story takes place almost immediately following the season 4 finale "Restless" and goes AU from there. Glory and Dawn (and any other related characters: Ben, the monks, etc.) do not exist in this universe.
Warnings: This follows Season 5 fairly closely until sometime after "Fool For Love", and thus, certain canon events still happen. Yes, Buffy and Riley are together (and Spike and Harmony), but this is a Spuffy story, and you can expect those relationships to end as they did in the series, or slightly earlier. And the only character death is canon.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all recognizable characters, locations, and dialogue belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the various writers. Show writers and any other quoted authors have been credited in individual chapters. I'm making no money from this—it is purely in the name of fun.
For Buffy and Spike
The Blind and the Dead
Ever since I was called, dreaming has been kind of chancy. Sometimes you get the nice, normal dreams where you're in charge of the penguin exhibit at the zoo, or having to give a report to the class naked. Sometimes they're just weird mishmashes of your day; like walking down a hallway, or a conversation with people you've known forever, or feel like you have, anyway.
Slayer dreams are different. Heavy. There's this weight to them that makes me remember every moment of them after I wake up. They feel incredibly real, too, which can be really wigsome. This year they've been pretty intense. A few months ago there was the extra creepy one that gave us a heads up on the Gentlemen. There were some minor ones, mostly dealing with the Initiative, and that one almost-apocalypse when I had to take a dive into the Hellmouth. The worst was the last one... though I'm not really sure if that was a Slayer dream or not, since Giles, Willow, and Xander were all there in it, too. Sort of.
Can non-Slayers have Slayer dreams?
There's probably an answer somewhere in a musty old book that Giles will dig up. That's what Watchers do, right? Dig up moldy old books that no one can understand, full of answers that refuse to make with the sense? Still, I guess those books have come through for me enough that I shouldn't discount them, even if sometimes they have bad side effects.
Like dreams that want to kill you, for instance. Or crazy rasta-mama Slayers that are in dire need of an extreme makeover. 'Cause the whole escapee from The Mummy ensemble? So last millennium.
Anyway, right now I'm just glad it's over. It's one thing to have to fight evil while I'm awake, but you'd think I'd at least get a rest in my dreams.
No such luck, though.
Last night I went to bed, looking forward to a relatively relaxing five or six hours of beauty sleep, after the shared nightmares from the evening before.
Instead, I woke up somewhere else.
It was dark, absolutely pitch black. Not even star light or streetlight trickling in through the blinds. It was a bedroom, and the only reason I knew that was because I was sitting on the bed. It was big, plush, bouncy, and covered in satin sheets and a thick heavy comforter-nothing like my bed at home or the one in the dorm at school. I was fairly certain I'd never encountered a bed like this in my life and had no clue who it could belong to, or why I was in it.
But it was a dream, so I figured I'd go with it, for now.
Something was making me uneasy, though. I hated not being able to see.
Figuring it was better to have some idea of my surroundings than be a sitting Slayer, I got up and put a hand on the edge of the bed. I kept my other hand out, trying to feel for anything around me that I might bump into. Then I slowly walked around the edge of the bed. When I finally made it all the way around I'd come to two conclusions. First, that the bed was HUGE. It could easily have slept five people with no one ever having to hang off the edge or even make with the cuddlies. Second, whoever had put the bed in this room was definitely a non-traditionalist, since it didn't touch any walls, and there weren't any within arm's reach.
The wiggy, uneasy feeling was still there, only now I was definitely starting to get prickles of fear.
This didn't feel like a normal dream. Or even like a Slayer dream. For one thing, I was much too lucid. I was thinking and planning... something that doesn't normally happen when I'm asleep. I could smell the fabric softener of my pajamas (which were, as far as I could tell in the dark, the ones I'd gone to sleep in that night). The satin sheets were cool and slick beneath my fingers. The entire room was cool, actually, like the AC was overcompensating for sweltering temperatures outside. The floor beneath my feet felt like stone, and I could hear the soft echoes of each step as I took it. In my Slayer dreams, I don't usually get so many details.
And I'm usually not blind.
That sort of defeats the whole purpose of Slayer dreams, actually. They're supposed to help me to see. But in this one I was blind as a bat.
I debated for a while whether or not to see if I could locate a wall by walking away at a right angle to the mattress, then gave it up as pointless. It was pretty obvious that the bed was the important part of this particular dream, and the temperature in the room seemed to have dropped again leaving me shivering. I crawled back in and pulled the sheets and blankets around me.
Maybe this was some in between stage, and I'd fall all the way asleep in a minute, I thought. Maybe if I just closed my eyes...
No sooner had I decided to try to sleep than the tingles started, like cold fingers tickling up the back of my neck.
Even though I don't usually pay much attention to it, I knew that feeling really well.
There was a vampire in the room.
There was a vampire in the room, and it was coming closer.
I held very still, trying to get a lock on it. I had no weapons. No stakes or crosses or anything to keep it at bay. The four posts on the bed were way too big to be of any use, and besides, they'd been iron anyway.
The vampire was coming closer, but it seemed to be coming from the opposite side of the bed. Did I mention that the bed was huge? I hoped it tried to come over the bed rather than around it. Strangling it in the sheets wouldn't do any good, but maybe I could pounce on it and tie it up before it could attack. Then maybe I'd get some answers.
As quietly as I could I drew myself into a crouch on top of the mattress, clutching the satin sheets in my fists.
And the longer I waited the longer the vampire waited, coming no closer. I could sense it, at the opposite side of the bed, could almost feel its eyes on me. I wondered if it could see me in the dark, and not for the first time wished that preternatural vision had come with the Buffy Summers Slayer Package. Would have been nice.
The silence got to me first.
"Are you going to attack or what?" I asked, frustrated. "It's really late and I've got a ton of stuff to do tomorrow. Could we just get on with it so I can go back to sleep?"
No response. Weird. Normally there's something. Most vamps can't resist at least hissing a tried but true "Ssssslayer" or an empty threat. But this one said nothing, which was really wigging me out.
Finally, it moved. I felt the mattress dip as it climbed aboard at the far end of the bed, as far from me as inhumanly possible. Then there was the soft whisper as the sheets were disturbed. Faintly, I felt them being tugged up and into place. After that, everything was still.
"You're... going to sleep?" I asked, incredulous. Vampires do not just crawl into bed next to Slayers - or even just regular humans for that matter - and go to sleep. I don't think they're physically capable of it. Something about the whole lack of soul thing makes them immediately think grr-arrg, human, kill. Or, if they're bored, they might add some rape and torture to the to-do list. It's probably the vampire equivalent of brushing your teeth before bed or having a glass of milk. Napping next to a human without trying to kill them first? Maybe I'd wandered into the Twilight Zone. "You're just... going to sleep? This is a weird dream."
There was nothing but silence from my undead bedmate. I knew from experience that sleeping vampires slept... well... like the dead. No breathing. No pulse. No snoring. Might as well share a bed with a corpse, which, if you wanted to be really technical about it, yeah...
More silence. Then the mattress shifted, as if the vampire had rolled over onto its side, and a tiny, barely audible sigh. Not that that was a really weird sound for a vamp, though. Newly risen vamps breathe the most, usually because they don't have time in the fifteen seconds it takes between rising and getting staked to figure out that they didn't need to. But even Angel breathed sometimes. Well.. I guess they need to in order to talk. But this vampire wasn't talky. It just did that sigh noise again, which somehow made me think that the vamp was male, and that he was annoyed.
Then things got quiet for a really long time.
After seemingly forever, I let myself relax just a hair. If it was planning on killing me with suspense, it was working. I sat down, but couldn't bring myself to lie down. Not with a vampire in the room, even if it did seem like this one had no plans to kill me at the moment. Maybe it was weak? Maybe this was how it fed, by luring human girls home and to bed-only I was pretty sure that I hadn't gone anywhere after I'd gotten home from patrol, and that my last memory was climbing into my old bed after wishing my mother good night.
So maybe not so much with the luring and the feeding.
Then I remembered that this was a dream, and sometimes dreams are really odd and can include all sorts of things. It wouldn't be the first time I'd dreamed of a vampire that didn't want to kill me. Not even the second. Or the third. Of course, those dreams were usually about the same vampire, and I hadn't actually had one of them in months.
I really was tired, too.
It took a long time for me to fall asleep, but I finally did, even with my hyper awareness of the vampire lying still as death only a few yards away.
When I woke up, it was morning, and I was back in my own bed, still tense from the dream stress. Shaking it off, I scribbled down the particulars in my dream journal, just in case it turned out to be important.
You never really know, when you're the Slayer.