Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or A Nightmare on Elm Street. Written for fun, not profit.

Author's notes: Not very plot happy; just a little scenario.

Setting: For BtVS, this is directly post the series finale, "Chosen."

"His Favorite Nightmare"

The first time she'd heard it, she'd been in the mouth of Hell, surrounded by the corpses of the fallen, by the ashes of the slain. The newly called fought on; she fought on, even as The First made its presence known.

For just a moment, right as she took a hit, her world grayed, and that's when she heard it the first time, echoing up from beyond the dark reaches of the pit. It was the sound of children singing—

"One, two, Freddy's coming for you…"

The smell of burning flesh, the scent she'd tried hard to block out since the battle began, was suddenly under her nose.

"…Three, four, better lock your door."

Her vision cleared. The song cut off. Her body and soul focused again on the fight, and she all but forgot the warning in the rhyme.

"I'll go to bed as soon as I check on—"

Xander grabbed her by the shoulder, keeping her in place on the bed. "The girls are being treated. Robin's stable. There's a roof over our head, and Angel's group is keeping us from getting hounded by the reporters for now." He sat down beside her, looking worn and weary, but somehow, he managed a small smile for her. Buffy could see the cracks, the pieces about to shatter; it made her ache for her friends. "Don't you think it's time you go to sleep?"

He was right. The battle adrenaline was long gone, the resulting survivor's adrenaline headed out, too. Despite the slayer essence working to repair her, the wound in her side, treated and bandaged, ached deep. Her body needed rest.

"You, too?"

Xander sighed. "Shower first. Sleep second."

Buffy lowered herself down, her head hitting the pillow—the initial pleasure of that split second moment spread over her, releasing her tense muscles from duty. "Hmm," she hummed, and blinked her eyes open one last time. "A bubble bath would be nice."

Xander grinned down at her, reaching around to tuck the blanket under her arms. "Could be fun," he agreed. "We'll make time for one later—after all, Buffy, we've got plenty of time together now, don't we? Time for all sorts of fun games…"

Buffy stared up at him, dazed by exhaustion. Then she frowned, because his words had sunk in, and something about them didn't seem right. "Xander…?"

"Shh, now—" Xander leaned over her, pressing his lips to her forehead. The kiss felt wet, sticky. His voice hardened into something broken, something resembling a growl. "Been locked up way too long. It's good to be back, princess."

Buffy felt the blanket pull taunt, strapping her down to the bed, and she opened her mouth to call out. A blade pressed down over her lips, keeping the scream in her throat. It wasn't Xander who ran his tongue down her cheek.

The man pulled up. Burns marred his face, the flesh peeling back from wet muscle, and the wounds seemed so fresh that she could practically smell the smoke of the fire on the sleeve of his green and red striped sweater. The blade wasn't from a knife. She could see the rest of his hand, the other razors strapped to a glove and folded with his fingers. Far too close to her neck.

"Welcome to my world, bitch," he greeted. "I'm a bit out of practice," he continued in that guttural, distorted voice, "so I'll warn you, this first time back will probably get a little…messy."


Someone was screaming. Buffy struggled against the hands holding her in place until her eyes shot open, taking in the worried expression on her sister's face. Dawn was standing, gape-mouthed, over her sister, a tight grip on Buffy's shoulders.

"Buffy, are you okay? It looks like you bit your lip while you were sleeping. You were crying out, and I didn't know what was wrong."

Buffy could taste the blood on her tongue, remember the razor blade finger that had been pressed there, in that very spot. "I had a dream…"

"A slayer dream?" Dawn asked, head cocked. The high pitch left her voice as she calmed down. "Or just a regular dream—because if it was a regular dream, I think it falls into the category of nightmare."

Sitting up, Buffy pulled her legs out from in under the blanket, letting her bare feet touch the floor. The blue satin night gown she was wearing looked faintly familiar, like one her mother used to own, even though that couldn't be possible…All her mother's clothes were long gone with Sunnydale. No, someone must have given her this to wear to bed.

Dawn stood up at the same time she did, staring at her with a small smile. "Well?"

Buffy tried to smile back and failed. "Not a slayer dream. Felt…different. So, a nightmare, I guess."

"Really? You'll have to tell me about it."

Buffy glanced over her shoulder, at the open door to the room. Something about the corridor looked different. Dark. As if the main lights in the building had been shut off. "What happened outside? I don't hear any of the girls."

Dawn shrugged and threw herself down onto the bed, patting the mattress beside her. "Who cares. Tell me about your nightmare. You always have the best ones—come on, tell me about it, sis. Was there blood? The good ones always have lots of blood…"

Buffy ignored her, stepping up to the door with a sense of dread. Outside the room, red emergency lights lit the hallway, and steam lifted out of an exhaust port in the pipes laid against the wall. The grid metal of the flooring pinched the bottom of her feet. She could see ten feet in front of her; then darkness. From the shadows, she could hear the sound of children.

"…Five, six, grab your Crucifix…Seven, eight, better stay up late…"

"You're not Dawn," she whispered. She didn't bothering to turn around, but she could hear the sound of the mattress whining as the body stood.

"...Nine, ten, never sleep again..."

"Caught me," the broken voice said. The burnt man chuckled with delight, razor blades tapped against her shoulder as he settled behind her. The closeness was too intimate. It sent shivers down her back. "The name's Freddy, and I'm going to be with you for a long, long time…"

Freddy pulled himself up off the ground, glaring out at the cemetery; her choice, not his. A wide grin stretched at his cheek wounds. "Come out, little girl. Daddy's not done with you…"

They always ran. Freddy liked it when they tried hide-and-seek. He'd always been good at that one. And this girl…This girl had thrown him like a rag doll inside his own domain. She was meant for this world, meant for hisworld. He'd been right about her.

As soon as he'd clawed his way from the depths, found, out all the fresh meat trying to make their way into the pit, hermind, her connection to his…legacy, he'd know she'd be the perfect starter course. Buffy Summers, daughter of Joyce Parker, the cousin of one of those little bitches who'd… Freddy laughed, shaking off the memory as if he were recalling better years. So far from Springwood—and he'd found just the right way back into the world. Someone downstairs liked him.

But as soon as he'd taken a tour inside her head, he knew he couldn't end her quickly, like he'd planned. This…this place was paradise. So many terrors stored inside her, horrors she'd seen and ones she didn't even know existed. There were places where that demon inside her had burrowed, just waiting to come to out and play. Freddy would gladly show her what she'd been missing.

There was so much potential here…

"Hey, ugly."

The call was enough to make him turn around. The pointed tip of the shovel went through his chest, bending him forward.

"Unlike some people, I need my beauty sleep," she noted, a bitter grimace ruining her grin. She pulled the shovel free then slammed him across the head with the flat side.

Freddy hit the ground again, glancing up over the rim of his tattered brown fedora to see her standing tall, weapon still in hand. He could turn it into a snake, give it a face and teeth, but he hesitated, wanted to see what she'd do next. The other children…the other children had never had this much evil waiting to get out. So far, he'd only scraped the surface.

"Naughty, naughty," he groaned. He reached inside the gaping wound at his chest. "But I like you're style, princess. You go straight for the heart." He pulled out a crushed walnut dripping black gore. "Guess you learned that from killing your boyfriend? Oh, wait—do I need to specify which one? There's just so many to choose from."

Her face darkened, but she smiled down. "Normally, this would be where I'd insert a punny comment about your Christmas sweater, but you know what, I think I'm just going to let someone else take over from here."

A shadow fell over his face as another person appeared on his other side. It was a woman, dark skinned, her face painted in streaks of white. There was something primal about her...Something old, like him. "Who the fuck are you?" he growled.

She growled back. He shifted, ready to take the game back to familiar territory, but the old factory didn't appear. He remained in the cemetery. Trapped.

"Freddy, meet the reason why you should never try hopping into a Slayer's mind." Buffy smirked, tossing the shovel aside. "You're in my world now, bitch."