: All things BTVS belong to Joss et al, and Charmed belongs to the WBA/N
: ** indicates the start or stop of a dream sequence.Halliwell Manor
Prue pursed her lips as she read through the Book of Shadows.
"It seems the only way we can vanquish this demon is by producing a powerful neutral artifact and giving it out randomly,I mean, placing it in the ether, at the same time."
Piper Halliwell looked over her sister's shoulder. "Does it say What kind of neutral artifact? 'Cause there's artifacts and artifacts, ya know."
"Nope, just any artifact that is not bound to good or evil."
Piper smiled. "Well, then, I might just have the right artifact in mind." She turned the pages until she found the one she wanted. "Yep, this one. It's technically neutral, but the deities haven't let one get by them without using it for good in about ten thousand years or so. I say we make that, and send it into the ether on a necklace."
Buffy slowly walked through Restfield cemetery. Why couldn't Will have checked before she brought me back to life?
she thought. Now I'm stuck here in hell and I can't even tell her about it. I had to lie to her about it.
She kicked a stone from the path. Of course, if I want to be Honest Buffy, I've lied to her a lot more than once, haven't I?
She pulled out a stake and thrust it behind her, dusting the vampire that had been sneaking up behind her. Putting it back in her sleeve, she continued walking. "I haven't seen Angel coming back," "I'll be back after I deal with Alcatha," "I'm not wigged that you're in love with a girl - that's not me," "Vampires don't have the same orientations of their victims," and of course, "I kinda love you."
She pulled her short sword out of its scabbard on her back and started running toward the demon she had just spotted. Why am I such a coward?
The fight didn't last long. "You really didn't plan on seeing me, did you?" Buffy said softly as she wiped her sword clean. It had only taken two strokes to separate the demon from his head. She looked down at its necklace, and saw a ring strung on it that had somehow avoided all the gore. It was gold, with twelve different stones placed on it. "Ooooh, shiny!" she said, as she pulled it off the string and put it on her finger.
As she was falling asleep, the same question continued to plague Buffy. 'Where did I go wrong? When did I turn into this Buffy that hates her best friend? Who lies to someone she l-' Even in her bed, even in her mind, she couldn't complete that thought.
She tossed and turned in sleep, different images showing themselves to her dreaming mind.
**"Hi, Willow, right?"
"Hi! I mean, did you want me to move?"**
**"I knew those guys. I go to that room every day. But when I walked in there, it wasn't our world any more. They made it theirs, and they had fun. What are we going to do?"
"What we have to."**
**"...and I didn't have anyone to talk to about all this scary life stuff, and you were my best friend!"**
**"I'm not your sidekick!"**
**"It's a good fight, Buffy, and I want in."
"I kinda love you."**
Wait, this is my dream...gonna be about what I want it to be.. Buffy thought as she snuggled deeply into her blanket.
**"...And the 1999 Homecoming Queen is...Buffy Summers!" The announcer read off the card as the crowd applauded.
Buffy walked up to the podium, her hair somewhat mussed from the fight with the Germans and the spiny-demon. "Oh, wow. This is great. I just wanted to thank you all for electing me, my opponents for giving me a good fight, oh, and Scott, guess you missed out, didn't you?" A chuckle ran through the students as she made her way back to Willow and Xander for her first dance.**
Buffy yawned and stretched as the sun came in through the window. Wow, that dream seemed real she thought as she went through her morning routine. Finally clean and dressed, she made her way to the island, where Willow was pouring juice. Buffy snagged the glass as she put it down, and drained it in one gulp. "Mmmm, good juice. Thanks, Will." She smiled. "I had a weird, non-Slayer-y dream last night. I was our Senior Homecoming Queen. Crazy, huh?"
Willow almost spit up the juice that she had poured after Buffy had taken hers. "Um, Buffy, you were our Homecoming Queen." Seeing Buffy's quizzical face, she quickly continued, "Really! I can prove it!" She grabbed a yearbook from a shelf and opened it to the Homecoming page, where Buffy's face covered an entire page.
"This is so not right." Buffy muttered. "I-I'm going to Giles, Will." she said, speaking up. She grabbed her backpack and headed out the door.
Giles was finishing putting up his things from his move when he heard a knock on his door, and just as he had gotten up to answer it, it opened, and Buffy came inside. "Hi, Giles," she said as she took off her pack and sat down.
"What is it, Buffy?" Giles asked, his eyes looking closely at her. "Do you have any more problems from coming back?"
"No. Yes. I'm not really sure, Giles. Something happened last night and it's really wigging me out."
"Do go on." Giles sat forward and clasped his hands together, listening intently.
"Well, last night I had a dream. Not a Slayer dream, as far as I can tell. It was just me at my Senior Homecoming dance. I won Homecoming Queen. It seemed very real."
Giles broke in. "Buffy, you are aware that you did indeed win the title?" He asked, seeming confused.
"That's just it, Giles. In my memory, I didn't. Neither did Cordelia. It was a tie between the other two girls."
"Well. That would seem to indicate that some agency is changing either your memory, or objective reality. Tell me, did anything unusual happen last night?"
"Nope, pretty standard. A few vamps and a demon. Nothing special. Oh, except the demon had this ring." She held her hand up with the ring on her middle finger, "Isn't it pretty?"
Giles held his head in his hand for a moment. "Buffy, have you not realized that you should not use objects that you find on demons without researching them first?" He sighed. "Very well, let's see it." He held out his hand.
"Um, Giles? It won't come off," Buffy said, as she continued to try and pull it off. "Stupid ring."
"We'll just have to look at it from where it is, then. Hold out your hand."
After several hours, Giles looked up and said, "I believe I have it." He read from the book in his hands, "The mystical ring Aion, thought by the Sumerians to be both a gift from and test of the gods. They will arrange for someone who has given greatly in their service to obtain this item. The ring will remain upon the recipient's hand until they receive what they want most. Hmm...Here's how it works. When one first comes into possession of the ring, it will work through dreams. You will be aware that you are dreaming, and you will be able to change any actions in the dream time to those you wish. When you awaken, it will be as if the time that you dreamed was the extant reality."
"Wow. Wait. What if I do something in the past that kills me?" Buffy wondered.
"There are some caveats. The first is, you will not be able to perform an action that will lead to you not being alive in the time when you originally put on the ring. The second, well, the ring will do minor to medium reality-changing. You could become a multi-millionaire. You might be able to become a billionaire. Trying to take over the world would likely have the ring putting you into your own little room at the asylum. The third is that the gods expect you to have a good idea of what you want, and a good idea of how to get it. After several uses, the ring will no longer function on its own when you asleep. You will have to command the ring to work while you are awake, and you will become instantly catatonic. While you are in the dream world at this stage, your body will be vulnerable." He closed the book. "Buffy, you have been given a priceless gift. Subject to very broad constraints, you can change reality to your liking."
"You mean, like bringing Mom back? Or working things so that Angel doesn't lose his soul, Or...having enough money so that I won't have to work at the DMP?"
"Any of those things, Buffy, or many others. You have many needs. I would suggest that you work on what you truly want before you sleep again."
"I'd better get started." Buffy got up and headed to the door. "Bye, Giles!"
" - and so Giles said I should know what I really want before I sleep." Buffy finished catching Willow and Tara up as they all sat on the sofa. "And I agree. I mean, hello, catatonic Slayer is an open invite for every ugly around. So do you guys have any idea how to help me decide?" She looked at her two friends.
"Umm, maybe -" Willow started, but was cut off by Tara.
"Buffy? I think we have an idea of how to help you, but would you do it if it might embarrass you?"
"Embarrass me how?" Buffy asked, her eyebrows arching slightly.
"Well, we'd d-do a spell, and you'd h-have to be skyclad for it." Tara stammered, squeezing Willow's knee as she gave a start.
"You mean naked?"
"Yes. We could both go skyclad as well, if it would make you feel more comfortable." Tara smiled.
"Wouldn't that fuel Xander's fantasies. All right, let me get Xander and Anya to take Dawnie for the night, and we're on."
As Buffy went to make the call, Willow whispered to Tara, "You know the truth spell doesn't require skyclad. What's the what?"
Tara smiled and whispered back. "She needed something. You know she would have backed out if we told her it was a truth spell. Besides, we get to look at her naked, definitely an outcome to be desired." She giggled and continued. "And don't tell me you aren't warm for her form, missy, all the fantasies we've played." Willow blushed as Buffy returned.
"Xander will be here in about half an hour," she said. "So, pizza first, spells later?"
The pizza was finished, the boxes put away, and the two witches were drawing a large circle in the space in front of the sofa. "Now, Buffy, you sit here," Tara said, pointing to one of three spots inside of the circle. They all finished disrobing, stepped into the circle and sat down. Willow and Tara took turns setting the words, then Willow began chanting, ending with, "Let there be truth by those now inside this circle until the spell is ended!" Buffy started, and would have gotten up, but both witches held onto her hands.
Willow smiled, and said, "First, a test. Try to lie, Buffy. What is your name?"
Buffy tried to say, "Susie," but what came out of her mouth was, "Buffy Anne Summers."
Tara asked, "Do you know what it is that you desire most?"
Buffy considered, and answered. "I really don't. There are several things, but they're all so close." She frowned.
"What are the top five, Buffy? No particular order." Willow asked.
"Umm. Having Mom alive again, having enough money to go back to college, not having been pulled out of Heaven, having told Willow that I was in love with her a lot sooner...there's not really a fifth desire on that level." Buffy covered her mouth with both hands. "Oh my god, Will!" Tears were streaming down the redhead's face. "I didn't want to hurt you, ever!"
"Goddess, Buffy! I didn't know you were in Heaven! I kept having dreams of you in Hell! I'm so sorry!" She hugged both Tara and Buffy.
"That's why I've been so far away, Will. Everything's so bright, and harsh, and sharp..." Buffy stopped and took a breath. "It hurts every day."
"Wait! You're in love with me?" The fourth item had just caught up with Willow.
Buffy smiled sadly. "From the day we met, Wills."
"B-but why didn't you tell me?" Willow was just shocked.
"Do the words, 'I love Xander so much but he doesn't know I'm alive,' ring a bell? Plus I really didn't want to be the 'bisexual' pariah, added to the Slayer pariah. And by the time I knew you were gay, you were with this beautiful and good person, and I couldn't break that up. I know, I'm a coward." Buffy hung her head.
Tara was now just as shocked as Willow. "Buffy, you are as far from a coward as it's possible to be."
Willow held her hands up. "Hold on. There is something that we need to deal with before we go any further." She took a deep breath and looked straight into Tara's eyes. "Tara, what are your feelings with respect to Buffy and me?"
Tara's jaw dropped, but she quickly gave a crooked smile. "I love you both deeply, Willow. You since two years ago, Buffy since she protected me from my relatives." She grabbed Buffy's hand. "You've always had a piece of my heart since then, Buffy. And I'm very attracted to both of you. I wasn't going to do anything about Buffy because she was straight, and I had a woman that I loved. Tell me, Buffy, since we know how you feel about Willow, how do you feel about me?"
Buffy rocked back and forth. "Can't you tell? You're so pretty and so good...I love you, too, Tara." She hid her face again, until she felt the hands of her friends tug at hers.
"C'mon, you have to ask." Tara smiled at her and flicked her eyes towards Willow. Buffy took a big breath and let it out.
"Willow, what are your feelings for Tara and me?"
She could see Willow's grin. "As you say, Buffy, duh. I'm in love with both of you." She leaned over and gave Buffy a soft, deep kiss that left Buffy's eyes glazed over. "I've loved you since we met, too. And I knew I was in love with you when you traded the Box of Gavrok for me. But you were so straight." She turned to Tara. "And while you were falling for me, I was falling for you. I know this is all crazy and mixed up, but I think that we can make it work, somehow." She took both of their hands. "Are ya with me?" At their nods, she smiled. "I think we need to ask Buffy again. Buffy, what are the top things that you desire?"
Buffy smiled. "It definitely cleaned up the mess, Will. The top ones are having been able to save my Mom, and not having to have been torn from Heaven. I can deal with the rest."
Willow hugged Buffy. "Let this spell be ended." she intoned, then said, "My name is Xander Harris," and grinned. "So let's see about saving your mom and keeping you from dying. Of course, we could get dressed first."
Tara grinned. "I don't know about you, but I'm enjoying the view!"
**Buffy knocked on her own door with some nervousness. She had just spent three months in LA after sending Angel to hell, and had finally realized that she could not run away from who she was. The door opened, and suddenly she was in her mother's arms. The moment lasted as long as it needed to, but finally her mother held her at arm's length. "Buffy," she said, and was going to hug her again, but Buffy held up her hand.
"Mom, before we get into this - and I want to get into this - I need you to make me a promise. You can't break it for any reason. Okay?" She looked into her mother's eyes.
"What is this promise?" Joyce asked in a puzzled tone.
"Every six months, until they find something or for the next three years, promise me that you'll get a CAT scan and MRI to include your head. Promise?"
"I promise, Buffy." And she brought Buffy inside and hugged her again.**
**Buffy walked up to Spike. "So you're going to see this Doc to see if he can help you with Glory?"
He nodded. "'S right, Slayer."
"Well, if you have to kill him, his type needs beheading." She smiled at him.
"You got a dream, Slayer?" His eyebrows rose.
"No, just a feeling. Take the extra time, okay?"
"I'll just do that."
The alarm clock rang loudly until a hand reach out from under the covers and tapped it off. Buffy threw the covers off and yawned. She made her way into the bathroom and went through her morning routine. Finally cleaned and dressed, she made her way down to the kitchen island, where she grabbed a glass of juice from...her mother. "Mommy?" she whispered, the glass of juice slipping through her fingers to fall on the floor. Joyce turned to get a towel, but was stopped from it by Buffy hugging her very tightly.
"Honey? I love you, too, but You're cracking my ribs." Buffy let go of her, but stood there with tears in her eyes. "Is there something I should know about this demonstration?" she asked.
"Long story, Mom. I'll tell you tonight. Bye, Mom!" Buffy's grin split her face.
Fifteen minutes later, she was at Giles' flat, and on his sofa. "- and so I pulled the ring off when I went into the shower. I got the things I most wanted. I take it we got Dawn off of the tower without anyone dying? Besides Glory, I mean."
"Indeed. If you didn't ask her, the doctors found your mother's tumor your senior year, just after the Band Candy incident. I seem to remember you saying that you knew there was something besides the candy making your mother go out with me." He grinned.
"Go out? Giles, you had SEX with my MOTHER. On the top of a police car. Twice." She held her frown for about 5 seconds and laughed. "I'm so glad to have her back, it really doesn't matter."
"And what are you going to do with the ring?" Giles asked.
"I'm going to go to the scrap smelter and destroy it."
"Giles, you told me that the ring was both a gift and a test. The gift was what I most desired. The test is - once I've got that, am I going to use the ring to fix every little boo-boo in my life? I suspect that whatever gods power this ring would likely take the ring and everything I have gotten from it away from me in that case. Whatever good it could do, it's not worth my Mom."
"I think that that is a eminently sound decision." he said, cleaning his glasses.
Buffy smiled. "I'm off to Willow and Tara's." She hesitated. "They were living with me when I went to sleep. Do you have their address?" Giles wrote their address on a slip of paper for her, shuddering from the repressed laughter.
Willow and Tara were studying when they heard a knock on the door. Willow went to the door and opened it. "Buffy!" she exclaimed. "Don't you have class at 10?"
"I don't know, and it wouldn't matter, Will." Buffy said, smiling. "You can do a truth spell, right?"
Willow nodded. "Well, we need a circle, but yes. Why?"
"I need you to cast one over all three of us, right now if you could."
Willow said in a dubious voice, "Sure, Buffy. Are you going to tell me what this is about?"
"As soon as we finish the spell." Buffy said, taking off her top.
"Buffy, why are you taking your clothes off?" asked Tara.
"Because the spell needs to be - " Buffy broke off and blushed scarlet as she realized what had happened. "Shutting up now," she said, putting her top back on. By the time she had it back on, the circle was finished, and Tara and Willow were in their places. She quickly sat down in hers, and Willow went through the chanting and words of the spell.
"Tara, ask me what my feelings are with respect to you and Willow." Tara raised an eyebrow, but did so. "I am in love with both you and Willow, Tara. Willow ever since we met in High School, you since you showed how good and beautiful you are. Willow, what are your feelings for Tara and I?"
"Um - er..." Willow stammered. She realized that the spell would not allow her to lie. "I'm in love with both of you," she said, her face scarlet and her head bowed.
"Ask her, Willow," Buffy urged.
Willow looked up to Tara, her eyes bright with tears. "What are your feelings for Buffy and me, Tara?" she asked in a voice soft enough to be a whisper.
"I'm in love with you both, of course." Tara answered, then turned to Buffy. "What I want to know is how you knew to ask the question?"
Buffy grinned. "It has to do with a gift and changing reality. I'll tell you the whole story later, if you want." She turned to Willow and gave her a deep kiss, her hand tangling in Willow's hair. When she let Willow go, leaving her momentarily stunned, she turned and did the same to Tara. When she was finished, she looked at both of them. "What I want to know, is if you are willing to explore what we have between us. Will you be my and each other's girlfriends?"
They looked into each other's eyes, and as one turned to Buffy and said, "Yes!" Willow ended the spell, and they both jumped into Buffy's arms, bowling her over.
None of them made it to class that day.
The alarm rang stridently, and soon a hand came out to silence it. It missed, however, and soon a hand attached to another body took a swing. This one missed as well, and finally a third hand, attached to a third body, silenced the alarm by the expedient of destroying it. Soon, all three bodies crawled out of bed, and after morning kisses and gropes, made their way to the bathroom.
"Wow, yesterday was a wild day!" said Tara, brushing her hair.
"Yup, won't have another like that for a while," agreed Willow, who then put her toothbrush back in her mouth.
"Sure we will." said Buffy from the shower. "Today we get to tell my mom and Giles about us."
Willow and Tara looked at each other.
"Are you sure we just can't go back to bed?" Tara asked.