Title: Seeing Tomorrow (1/1)

Author: Sandy S.

Email: ssoennin@juno.com

URL: http://www.geocities.com/ssoennin (Eternal Devotion, a S/B site)

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the current plot. Everything else belongs to Joss and UPN.

Spoilers: Everything through season 6.

Summary: Set in the past before Buffy and Spike were born. Read to see. Other POV?

Very Special Dedication: This story is written especially for Rachel! CONGRATULATIONS, hon, on your site's one-year anniversary!!! Whoohoo! This story is your present, sweetie! (Please visit her site, Sinister Attraction! It's awesome!)

Seeing Tomorrow

Tonight we made love for the first time, and tonight I had the most vivid nightmare I've ever had. I woke with my heart racing wildly, and the sweat on my skin sticking to the sheets. His arm was heavy over my waist, and I rolled over to study his face. With his lashes splayed over his fair skin, and his hollow cheekbones catching the stray moonlight from the window, his face was a mask of peace. A smile played about his lips, and he seemed happy in his dreams.

Not at all like. . .

I shuddered from fear and not from the pleasure we'd shared earlier. He shifted in his sleep, and I decided that I had to get out of there. Climbing out of bed cautiously, I pulled on my loose dressing gown and slippers and crept out of the room. Grateful for once that my parents were out of town and that I had no brothers and sisters, I flew down the spiral staircase to the main floor of the house.

Once downstairs, I lit a candle and padded swiftly across the kitchen to the servant quarters to the left of the kitchen where the butler, the cook, and my nurse slept soundly. . . unaware that anything duplicitous had happened under their very noses.

My nurse was snoring when I entered her room, and setting aside the tiny glowing source of light, I shook her thick shoulder briskly. "Ms. Laura! Ms. Laura!" I half-whispered and half-spoke with a normal tone and volume. "Wake up!"

Ms. Laura snorted in her sleep and grunted, "What?"

"You have to wake up! I need to talk with you about something! It's an emergency!"

At my declaration, her eyes snapped open, and she regarded me thoughtfully, "What's wrong, Miss Beth?"

"Ms. Laura, I just had the most awful nightmare."

My voice must have displayed my distress because she sat up rather abruptly and stroked my arm gently. "About what?"

Her kindness shattered me, and I burst into tears so roughly that I couldn't speak.

Rising from her rumpled bed sheets, she tugged me along with her. "Come, Miss Beth, we'll get you something warm to drink, and you can tell me all about it. How does that sound?"

I somehow managed to nod through blurred vision.

"Okay. Come along, dear."

She wrapped an arm around my waist, gathered up the candle, and brought me to the kitchen. Minutes later, I was perched on a stool at the food preparation table, and Ms. Laura was making me some hot tea. To Ms. Laura, tea was the cure-all for everything from fevers and colds to heartache and nightmares. Just the way she prepared the liquid was soothing. She refused to allow conversation until the tea was completely prepared, and she was able to sit across from me with her listening ears on, as she called them.

She set the steaming mug before me and perched her large form atop a stool across from me. Cupping her own mug of tea, she made sure I was gazing into her eyes before she asked, "So, what's wrong, my little one? What nightmare made you so upset that you would wake me in the middle of the night?"

Swallowing past the lump in my throat, I blinked back my fresh tears and shakily took a sip of tea. The fluid burned my tongue and the roof of my mouth. "Oh, Ms. Laura, if I tell you something, will you think I'm bad?"

A frown painted my nurse's face. "Bethie, nothing could make me think you are bad. You are the most wonderful, sweetest child I've ever known. And no matter what, I will always be here for you."

"I know." I paused, taking a deep breath for strength. "I-I'm sort of seeing William." In anticipation of her reaction, I cringed back.

"William, the bartender's son?" Her tone betrayed her surprise.

I replied in a small voice, "Y-yes."

Her entire expression transformed. . . into one of happiness. I almost fainted. "William is the sweetest young man I've met. And he's so obviously in love with you."

"R-really?" I was shocked.

"My Bethie, everyone who has eyes has noticed the way he watches you in church. And when we go downtown for supplies, he always comes to the bar window to watch you until he can't see you anymore."

My eyes widened. I hadn't known that. My heart went out to my sleeping lover upstairs. Ms. Laura's observations made him even more precious in my thoughts and made what we had done more perfect. . . . but it also made my nightmare more vivid and brilliant.

I had to tell her everything. "Well, we've been seeing each other for about a month now."

She took a sip of tea. "And?"

"And he's wonderful. . . everything I've ever hoped and wished for." I bowed my head. "A-and tonight, w-we made l-love the first time."

I peered up as her eyes filled with shining teardrops. "Really?"

My stomach dropped. "Y-yes. Are you terribly disappointed in me?"

Her reaction is abrupt, "Hush now! I love you always, dear heart. And, I am not disappointed in you. Concerned, perhaps, that you might have a child as a result of your union, but not disappointed."

My chin jutted defiantly. "I do not care if I have a child. I love him, and I think he loves me. We intend to marry."

"Your parents will not be happy when they return," my nurse pointed out the obvious.

I've thought about their possible reactions thoroughly. "I know. Papa will say that I'm ruined. He does not like William or his father. Mother won't say anything. She never does. Papa might even disown me. Which is why. . . "

"Why what?" Ms. Laura's hand covered mine.

"W-we're leaving tomorrow. We're not sure where we're going, but William has money he's been saving for a while now. We should be able to make it. And I'll go to work." My thoughts drifted to my travel trunks in the bedroom that were full of our belongings.

"M-my goodness."

"Yes." I reached into the pocket of my dressing gown, drawing out a letter. "And I was going to leave you this. You've been more of a parent to me than my own ever were. And I love you."

Ms. Laura took the folded paper with trembling hands. She said nothing for an uncountable number of minutes because she realized that I had planned to leave without saying goodbye.

Then, she asked, "What of your nightmare? You wanted to tell me about it."

"I don't know quite how to explain it," I said, wondering how to describe what my dream had been about.

My nurse had an infinite amount of patience. "Well, who was in the dream?"

"Obviously, I was there. A-and I think William was."

"You think? Was his face muddled?"

I frowned thoughtfully. "Well, no. It was the most vivid dream I've ever had. The face was his for sure, but he didn't look exactly the same."

"What was different about his appearance?"

"Well, he w-was wearing strange clothing. . . all black. . . a long coat made out of this shiny material that was smooth beneath my fingers. . . . and he was a lot paler than now. . . as if he'd never been in the sun. His voice was odd; he sounded British." My William was deeply tanned from helping local farmers work the fields at harvest time. "And his hair was almost. . . white."

"White? Was he old?"

I ran my fingertip around the edge of my mug, trailing a bit of tea against my skin. "No, not old. Young. . . but he had the. . . feeling of an older person like he'd had years of experiences that I could hardly fathom."

"Hmm." Ms. Laura was letting me know that she was listening.

"The world was different. I saw. . . and felt things that I don't understand."

"Hold that thought." My nurse rose to shove open the kitchen window with the scrap of metal against wood. A stray breeze from the night shot the smell of roses from the bushes around the house into the kitchen.

Ms. Laura sighed as she settled back down into the same position across from me. She took a sip of tea. "What did you see that disturbed you so?"

My forehead crinkled. How was I to tell her what I saw without frightening her? "H-his face. . . William's was strange."

"Strange how?"

Bringing my hands to my face, I traced the skin on my forehead. "He had odd lumps. . . almost ridged features right here." I pressed my top teeth. "And he had long teeth and golden eyes."

Ms. Laura chuckled. "You have a vivid imagination, my dear child."

I bit my bottom lip. "The thing was, I wasn't afraid of him even though he looked monstrous. I-I mean, I still loved him, but I didn't like the feeling. Isn't that strange? I can't imagine ever feeling anything but love and the utmost respect for William."

"Are you afraid that you will resent him for taking you from your family one day?" she hypothesized. "Might make sense of why you saw him in such a distorted fashion."

"Hmmm. I don't know. I don't think that's it. I didn't resent him. I think it was more that I was annoyed at myself for caring for him." I played with the tips of my loose, curly blond hair. "Maybe. . . maybe I'm afraid that he will turn out to be everything that Mother and Papa believe him to be. . . that he'll be a horrible monster who will let me become vulnerable to him and then hurt me terribly."

Ms. Laura took a swallow of tea, staring into the candlelight. "Hmmm. What was happening in your dream to make you feel and think those things?" she asked, slightly changing the direction of our conversation.

"Well, we were fighting. . . not he and I. . . but fighting other people whose faces looked like his. A-and I wore pants. . . like Papa and the other field workers. You know, sometimes I think that us women wearing pants would be more comfortable."

Her eyes brightened in surprise. "Really? That's intriguing. Fighting how?"

"Well, I had this long wooden stick, and I used kicks and punches and flips. A-and I was really strong. . . stronger than Papa's workers!" I picked up a wooden cooking utensil and demonstrated to my nurse how I'd held the weapon in my dream.

"And William?"

"He fought by my side. . . he never left me." A tug of love penetrated my heart.

"So, he didn't hurt you. What did you do with the stick?" Ms. Laura took the stirring spoon from my grip because I still had my arm raised ready to stab downward. She laid the offensive tool on the table.

I blushed at my actions and deliberately placed my hands in my lap the way she had taught me a lady should sit. "Well, I stabbed the men in their hearts."

"My goodness!"

"I know! But the funny thing was, there wasn't a lot of blood. . . just a cloud of dust." A stray memory of Harold, one of Papa's field hands, briefly touched my thoughts. He had cut his chest deeply on a scythe last fall at harvest time, and Mother had sewn him up. Blood had gotten everywhere even on Mother's best dressing gown. I knew how much blood could come from a chest wound.


"Yes. Like the stuff that blows in the wind. And it's like I didn't recognize him before the end of the fight."

"So, even though he didn't hurt you, you felt like he might eventually?"

"Yes. And at the end of the dream, I kissed him. . . in a strange place full of people and alcohol and loud music."

"How did you feel about kissing him?" Ms. Laura wondered.

"Unhappy with myself," I stated immediately. "I guess what made the dream a nightmare wasn't so much the strange occurrences but how I felt."

My nurse paused for several minutes again, staring at the bottom of her teacup. Then, she summarized what I had been thinking and what I needed to hear.

"You are afraid that what you're doing is going to end unhappily for you. . . that everyone you care about will disapprove and that you will lose the only other thing that makes you happy in the end."

My eyes widened. "Yes."

She made sure she met my gaze with intensity. "I just have one thing to say to that, Beth."

I held my breath waiting for her next utterances.

"Risk. It's all about the risk. Sometimes you have to take hold of what you want and not let go. If you believe passionately enough in it, it'll most likely work out in the end. And if it doesn't work out, you can't say you didn't try, and you grow. Beth, you have an advantage and a freedom that comes with your station and your father's wealth. Seize it. Don't run from it. You'll be stronger in the end."

"Hey," a voice croaky from disuse called from the doorway. My nurse and I turned to view William dressed in rumpled clothes standing in the doorway. "What's going on?" His eyes skimmed questioningly over Ms. Laura and fastened on me.

I rose quickly and ran to him, throwing my arms around his slender waist. Not quite comfortable kissing him on the mouth in front of my nurse, I planted a small peck on his cheek. His sapphire eyes shone down into mine, and I drew confidence from him. "We're staying," I announced impulsively.

Startled, he drew back. "W-we are?"

I glanced back at my nurse who was beaming and then returned my attention to William, cupping his cheek with my small hand. "Yes."

My sweet lover let out an unfettered whoop and picked me up, twirling me around as I laughed. At that moment wrapped in my lover's embrace, I knew that I wouldn't be afraid of my feelings anymore. . . at least, not in this lifetime.

The end.