Disclaimer: Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer aren’t mine. I just like to play with them a bit.
A/N: This is the first chapter in a new series I’m working on, taking place in a slightly alternate universe. I’m still working on a series title, but since there’s only one story so far, I figure I’m okay. This story is separate from my other Buffy/Cas and Buffy/Dean stories, as it is in a different universe. Anyway, enjoy!
Music spun them across the dance floor, looping around assembled couples, anxiously connected groups of three and four, lonely singles mixed into the crowd. Tinted lights made patterns on her dress as he weaved her body beneath them, staining her golden hair with blues and greens and pinks. She smiled up at him, her green eyes glowing merrily. This was the night she had often dreamt about, the kind of evening that a teenage girl hoped to remember forever. He gazed down into her stunning face, her glossy pink lips, her perky nose. This was the girl she’d always wanted to be, not the hunter and not the Slayer. These were the moments that haunted her nightmares, the missed opportunities, the broken promises of youth. Now that those days were over, now that she had passed on from life to immortality, he could give her back those precious dreams, offer her the simplicity of living, even in death.
“Cas?” Buffy asked, lifting her head slightly to shake him from his thoughts. “What are you thinking about?”
“Hm?” He asked in reply, only catching half of the question.
“You have think-face,” she smirked, mocking the look with one furrowed eyebrow.
“Wha..? Oh, nothing, don’t worry about it.”
“Fine,” she shrugged, flattening her lips into a straight line. “I’m going to get a drink. You want anything?”
“A glass of water,” Cas nodded, releasing her hand reluctantly. They could dance all night in this place, where time stood still if you simply asked it to be so. Still, a moment away from her felt like a lifetime.
“Living on the edge,” she laughed, squeezing his hand before she walked away.
He turned to watch her go, his dark eyebrows knitted together over brilliant blue eyes. She walked like a hunter, measured and careful, not the bouncy and carefree gait of a girl in her teens. Some memories of life would never fade, even if she couldn’t specifically identify them. If she were ever to find cause to fight here, she would fight like a hunter too. She would be agile and confident, predatory and punning. She was still the Slayer, even in Heaven. Now, she stood inches away from the refreshments table, amongst images of the friends she’d left behind. These people were happy, unburdened by the perils of their real lives. They were safe, and that relieved so much of the stress that had worn down the Slayer over the years. Here, she was rewarded with peace after a lifetime of violence and chaos.
After it happened, Cas would remember the briefest of ripples in the room, like someone had skipped a pebble across the surface of the water. Buffy’s legs crumbled beneath her like shattered columns of stone. Her arms flailed. Her hands rose toward her temples as she fell, unsupported. Her guttural scream of pain split through the room, cutting the music like a shorted circuit. Every face turned to stare and the few nearest spun to catch her. Cas raced across the room, the tail of his jacket flying out behind him like a cape. He dropped to her side and pulled her shoulders against his thighs, his hand reaching out to cradle her cheek.
“Buffy!” He hissed urgently, lightly tapping her face.
She had closed her eyes tightly, straining the muscles and wrinkling the tender pale skin. Her hands clasped at each side of her head, tugging strands of gold hair loose from their stays. Her teeth clenched together but screams still penetrated them. The sound of agony was unknown at this level of Heaven, and the angels and spirits gathered stood far back, shielding their eyes and peeking between their fingers at the spectacle. No one offered a hand, an explanation, or a word of gentility. Castiel, alone, cradled the fallen Slayer in his arms. He pulled her in against his chest and redirected her to the place she felt safest in, her own bedroom. In fleece pajamas and under a mountain of warm blankets, Buffy tossed and turned against him.
“Stop this,” he whispered through tight lips, his voice lifted to the heavens rather than to the struggling spirit in his embrace. “She was your champion. She has suffered enough.”
“Close your eyes,” Buffy murmured, opening her eyes slowly. Tears rolled down her cheeks, staining her hot face with streaks of red. Though her body temperature was high and the room comfortable, she shivered like a leaf against him. “Cas?”
“Buffy? Are you okay?” Castiel squeaked, his hand rushing to brush back the hair from her face.
“I had the weirdest dream,” she murmured, her voice hoarse and sore. “And it just…it felt like I was being kicked in the head.”
“You’re home now,” he sighed, “Safe with me. What was the dream about?”
“I was fighting this… his name was Angel. He was trying to kill me with a sword. Do you ever have feelings in your dreams, though? Like you’ve seen it all before, like you’re reliving something you’ve already done? I had feelings for him… hate, love… It was really weird. I killed him, but when I killed him, it was like his whole personality switched. He seemed so confused. I killed him. I can’t believe I killed someone.”
“Ssh,” Cas sighed, kissing her gently on the forehead. “It was only a dream, Buffy. Why don’t you get some sleep? How does your head feel?”
“Sore,” she replied softly. Already her eyes seemed to droop, as if the simple suggestion of rest was enough to put her to sleep.
“You’ll feel better in the morning.”
“Will you stay…will you hold me?”
Buffy’s eyes fell shut then, and her body relaxed, letting go of the tension and the panic. Castiel lay back against the pillow beside her, his arm tucked around her shoulders, her cheek nudged up against his ribs. He closed his own eyes, but he took no rest. Angels did not sleep, not really. He could sit quietly and meditate to achieve a similar result, but not now.
“What just happened?” He asked the room sternly. “What are you doing to her? You entrusted her to my care, and now, what, you’re ripping her away from me? Why would you show her such tragedy? What purpose can it serve to remind her of the hardships she faced, the pain and grief? She is happy here! She is at peace here!”
“Castiel,” replied a voice so suddenly present that Castiel sat up. Buffy drifted down into the mattress, barely adjusting to his sudden absence.
“Sachiel,” Cas frowned, gazing at his brother, encased in the heavenly body of Xander Harris. A few clumps of dark brown hair curled down into his brown eyes, and he stuffed his hands into the pockets of a pair of flannel pajama pants. If either angel had been the type to laugh, this would have been the perfect opportunity.
“You have shown strong devotion to this soul.” Sachiel seemed neither pleased nor displeased. He looked flatly at the young woman asleep in her bed, a look so devoid of attachment that it seemed peculiar on the face of his host.
“She is a warrior. This is her Valhalla.”
“And are you her valkyrie, Castiel?”
“I…” Castiel paused, frowning. He looked down at the sleeping girl, and before he could stop the movement, he ran his fingers gently through her hair. The hard features of his face softened. His shoulders lifted and their load lightened.
“You love her, Castiel.” Sachiel spoke frankly, his undertone of judgment quite faint.
“Are they punishing her for that? Why are they hurting her?”
“The dream she experienced was not our doing. I do not know who has done this thing to her, or why, or how. I do not know if it will happen again. She appears to be at peace now. It will take time to erase this experience, to return her to peace, but you are capable. Your mutual affection will help.”
“Mutual?” Castiel blinked, turning at last to his brother, a look of confusion painted plainly on his face. His brows turned up at the bridge of his nose. His brilliant blue eyes took on a look of worry and concern.
“Sometimes I forget how innocent you are, Castiel. Yes, the girl loves you, perhaps more than she realizes. Once again, the einherjar falls for his valkyrie.”
“But I did not…”
“You did not create her feelings, Castiel. She is still human, still capable of free will. She wants to love you, and so she does. It is more impressive that you love her in return.”
“Will it happen again?”
“I do not know what happened, and thus I do not know how to stop it. I will look into the matter and we will speak again.”
The room emptied as suddenly as it filled.
“Cas?” Buffy murmured, slowly opening her eyes. A rim of redness clung to the edge of her lower eyelid, and the whites of her eyes were laced with red veins. She pushed herself up on one arm and inclined her head to look up at his face. A bit of day-old beard shadowed his chin, a reminder of the realistic dream world he’d created to please her. He rubbed his face thoughtfully.
“I thought you were sleeping,” he half-smiled, readjusting himself on the mattress and pillows so that he could resume his place beside her.
“I had another dream,” she murmured, her voice uneven. As he dipped down into the sheets, she leaned over him, placing one tender hand over his sternum.
“What?” Cas blinked, wrestled out of his comfort. “Just now? Are you okay?”
“No,” she whispered. Though her head turned away from him, her eyes stared straight into his. Though they were painted red, she wore a look so innocently seductive as to give him chills.
“Buffy…” Castiel whispered, suddenly understanding her intent. Kissing her always made him nervous, not because it wasn’t enjoyable but because he assumed he was doing it incorrectly. The whole process of the human kiss seemed peculiar. Touching the lips together was one thing, but to then insert his tongue into her mouth and try to capture hers with it was downright odd.
“It’s still prom,” she murmured, smiling.
For more years than he could accurately count, Castiel had watched over the human race from above. For a long time, he had simply watched them without interference. Their lives were so short and so fascinating, pocked with milestones both big and small. Children learned to walk and talk. Teenagers learned to lust and then love. Adults brought new life into the world. They grieved when their loved ones died, and they rejoiced when new ones were born. They celebrated with dancing and singing and all kinds of beautiful music. They ate and drank, sometimes alone in peace and sometimes surrounded by company.
And they made love. Sometimes they closed themselves off in dark corners and cramped rooms, hidden like naughty secrets. Other times they shared their passion under a night of bright stars or in the full light of day streaming through an open window or behind the steamed windows of a vehicle’s back seat. The action was something Castiel could not quite comprehend, not then, but the raw emotion behind it was vivid.
After millennia of people-watching, Castiel knew what Buffy meant when she stared up at him through lidded green eyes and reminded him that it was still prom night. Though he had watched humans do this before, he had never attempted such an activity. Nerves tingled in his stomach and danced down his arms and up his legs. He actually trembled with excitement and fear. Though Buffy was not a virgin in life, she had no memory of the men with whom she had coupled. She had no recollection of ever performing the act. She simply knew that she was in love, and that this was something one did when one was happy and in love. Humans were so simple in that respect. Buffy Summers was a champion, a hero, and a Slayer. She had saved the world on more than one occasion, prevented the apocalypse, and sacrificed herself for the lives of others, but she was still just a woman.
He touched her chin with the crook of his finger, coaxing her up to his mouth. They kissed, a tender movement that sent chills through him. One of her arms wrapped loosely around his shoulder while the other brushed against his stubbly face. He smiled and rolled over, playfully reversing their positions. She giggled softly and glanced at him, her green eyes wide and glittering. Castiel’s hand brushed against her ribcage, following the graceful line of her figure. Her unscarred skin was hot in his palm, just as her breath was hot on his tongue. With each passing moment, she kissed him more intently, parting his mouth, capturing his bottom lip and then his tongue. Their mouths danced as her fingers found the buttons on his shirt.
She pushed the loosened shirt down over his shoulders, revealing the gently sculpted flesh beneath. He broke away briefly from her blushing lips to murmur her name, to allow her to breathe. Her chest rose and fell as though she’d been running, fighting. Her half-open eyes darkened and rolled back into her head. She contorted suddenly, ripping away from him and throwing herself back upon the bed. A scream pierced the bedroom. Her hands grasped Castiel’s shoulders and tore at the bare flesh, scraping away layers of skin and splitting open capillaries.
“Buffy!” Castiel yelled, holding her head with both hands as she thrashed between his knees.
“She’s dead!” Buffy screamed, going still for a moment and then drawing in her arms to cower like a frightened animal. Blood seeped under her fingernails. “I have her blood on my hands.”
“Buffy, wake up,” Castiel soothed, stroking her damp face. He held her folded arms against his chest and wrapped her up in the blanket like a child. “It’s just a dream. It’s just a bad dream. Come back to me.”
“I killed her. Cas, I killed her,” Buffy whimpered. Her eyes opened slowly, painfully. Gooseflesh covered every inch of unclothed skin. She wept fitfully, heaving loud gasps of air that caught in her tight throat.
“Tell me what happened,”
“I stabbed her…with her own knife. She fell from a roof. Why did I kill her? What did she do to me?”
“She isn’t real, Buffy. Did this one hurt? How does your head feel?”
“Like I’ve been stabbed with a railroad spike,”
“This will go away, Buffy. We will make the headaches stop. No more bad dreams.” He pulled the blanket up around her shoulders and kissed her gently on the forehead. “You need to sleep, Buffy, really sleep.”
“Don’t leave me, please, Cas…” Buffy begged him. She dug a hole in the blankets and buried herself against him.
“Rest, Buffy, please. Sleep.”
As soon as she had drifted off again, Castiel rose from the bed. Picking up his abandoned shirt from the floor, he slipped it on over his shoulders. He was still hot, hot from her touch, aroused by her. At the same time, he was angry and frightened. Something was going on. If it wasn’t Heaven’s interference, it had to be someone else.
“It is someone else, brother,” Sachiel frowned, appearing beside him in the dark bedroom. He came again in the same guise, his hair slightly messy, his eyes slightly droopy.
“Who is it?” Castiel demanded angrily.
“Buffy Summers is being raised. Someone on Earth, a powerful witch, is summoning her back to the land of the living. You will not be able to hold her here. The witch is too powerful.”
“One witch is more powerful than Heaven itself?” Castiel yelled incredulously.
“You cannot hold her here, Castiel. That is all I have been told. You are ordered not to hold her here. You will let her return. You will release her from eternity.”
“She is at peace!”
“Castiel,” Sachiel growled, narrowing his eyes to slits. “You are an angel of the Lord. You will do as you are instructed. You do not question the will of Heaven. Buffy Summers will return to Earth. She will live again. You will release her.”
The angel frowned and stood back, releasing the intensity from his face. He lifted one hand and placed it somberly on Castiel’s shoulder.
“She is suffering here, Castiel. She is standing in two worlds and they are tearing her apart. She sees memories of her life, a life she does not remember. The memories are painful and nonsensical. You repressed them to give her peace, but to return to Earth, she must realize her place, her sense of self. Release her and she will not suffer.”
“Will she remember this place?”
“You wish to know if she will remember you, if she will remember that she loves you. I do not know the answer. You will remember, Castiel.”
“I will never forget.” Castiel sighed. Sachiel removed his hand. They stood silently across from one another, and Sachiel faded from the room.
He turned to look at her. Her head poked out above the blankets, a warm smile on her pale pink lips. The dream she dreamed now was a happy one, a happy memory from childhood. Those dreams were the ones that stayed with her always, memories of her mother making pancakes on Saturday morning, of her father’s birthday trips to the ice show. Castiel returned to the familiar place beside her, pulling her into the nook in his shoulder. His lips brushed her forehead, waking her.
“Cas?” She murmured contentedly, woken pleasantly from a comfortable night’s sleep.
“Buffy,” he replied gently, his voice barely above a gruff whisper.
“Something wrong?” She leaned up on one elbow to address him better in the half-darkness.
“No,” he sighed, shaking his head. “I just wanted to tell you… I love you.”
“I love you too,” she smiled, reaching up to kiss him. It was a light sort of kiss, a kind and gentle touch that would forever remind him of her.
“I will see you again, Buffy. I do not know when, and I do not know if you will remember me then, but we will meet again.”
“Are you going somewhere? I’m confused.”
“Be safe, Buffy, and go in peace.”
“Osiris! Release her!”