Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the characters. They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.


Chapter 4

As the sun's fresh rays of a new day pressed down on her face, Buffy could feel the tears still staining her cheek as she opened her eyes. She still felt horrible, and the small pain inside her chest still hadn't faded as she had hoped it would. The cross, its chain still broken, lay a few feet away from her, half-buried in the sand. Reaching out for it, she grabbed it and held it in her hand, the cool metal matching the temperature of her palm perfectly.

"It never goes away, doesn't it?" She said aloud, with no-one around to answer her question. Her head still buried against the blanket, she closed her eyes for a moment as the wind picked up slightly, and a few particles of sand flew into the air. As she got onto her feet, brushing the sand off of her face and out of her hair, she gathered all of her things up, and started out again, following the directions scrawled on the map Giles had given her. She couldn't take any more of this, and she wanted to go home, even if it meant having to be up that fake exterior again. These dreams out here were only making her feel worse, even if Angel had made her feel safe within them.

"Dreams aren't real." She said, the sand scattering beneath her steps. Sunnydale was hardly even a speck on the distant horizon, and as she passed by the numerous rock formations and sand mounds that she had seen a million times before, she kept her head down low, partially in an attempt to avoid being blinded by the overhead sun. She had seen the effects the Sun could have on anything, from humans to demons, and in all of them, the effects may have differed, but they all remained the same. It burned. To varying degrees.

She had seen vampires burn up before, until they had exploded into dust. It had been slower than the simply stake to the heart, but in a way, it was more satisfying to see them burn up. When she had been younger, the simple fact that she had taken pleasure in that had frightened her, reminding her of how the Master and the Mayor had taken pleasure in causing death and destruction upon masses of people.

As she passed another large mound of sand, she began to see the rocks that Giles had dropped her off at, the road leading off into the distance like the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz. Sighing again, she continued down the mound, and eventually the sand underneath her feet gave way to rock, and she made her way to the road, already having the route to home memorized in her head.