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Dreaming of How It Was Going to Be

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Summary: (AU) When a terrorist bombing claims Tara’s life, Xander changes the entire world to heal Willow’s broken heart. But then dreams of their old lives start infringing upon their new ones, and the Scoobies must re-form to figure out how to stop it.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Romance > Multiple Pairings(Current Donor)ListenerFR182256,28613114,6136 May 128 Jul 12Yes

TEN: Buffy, Willow

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly, Supernatural, and Twilight. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.

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PREVIOUSLY: Buffy and Satsu shared some details about their dreams, but Buffy did not tell Satsu that some of Buffy's dreams were sex-with-Satsu dreams. Willow noticed that Kennedy had the same "I haven't slept very much" look that Buffy had. Tara and Willow spent a night in.

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TEN: Buffy, Willow

"Dreams have led many astray, and those who believed in them have perished." -Ben Sira

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Buffy


When Buffy had called Dawn on Saturday morning, just to say hello to her sister, she’d used the phrase ‘tough week’ to describe the past five days. But truthfully it had been an understatement. She’d barely slept, and when she had, her dreams had been so active -- and so insane -- that she hadn’t felt rested at all. With Joy at Tony’s for the weekend, Buffy had been sorely tempted to cancel her date with Chris, hole up in her apartment with a freezer full of ice cream and a DVD player full of bad romantic comedies, and try not to think about it.

But then, on Friday afternoon at lunch, Chris had been so into the idea of having a real first date with her that she’d decided against it and popped a couple of sleeping pills on Friday night in hopes that the dreams would leave her alone.

They hadn’t. Not quite. But at least they hadn’t been fighting-weird-creatures dreams. They’d been sex-with-Satsu dreams. Very good, very comfortable, very been-doing-this-for-years sex-with-Satsu dreams. She really hoped she could face the woman next time they saw each other at work, given that Buffy was interested in Chris and Satsu was happily married.

Buffy sighed.

“You all right?”

“Yeah,” she said. She looked across the small table and smiled at Chris. “Just a little tired, I think. Work’s been pretty difficult the last few days.”

He nodded. She’d told him about Kennedy, about the way she’d been behaving, about the phone calls she kept slipping away to take. “We don’t have to stay if you don’t want to.”

“But I do,” Buffy said. She leaned forward and put a hand over Chris’s. His skin was very warm; so was his the look in his eyes. Too late Buffy realized that the blouse she was wearing didn’t lend itself to privacy in this position, but it was too late now. She took a breath and soldiered on. “I want to be here with you,” she said. “No work friends, no kids; just us.”

He grinned slightly. “And, you know, the musicians and the other people here, but I understand.”

“Yes. Them too, I suppose.” Buffy sat up and sipped her drink -- wine again, but she promised herself there would only be two glasses. She was most definitely not getting drunk in his presence tonight.

It was a nice little club Chris had taken her to -- a couple dozen tables, a bar, and at the end a jazz trio. “Don’t worry,” he’d said when they’d arrived. “I promise I’m not going to ask to sit in with them.” Buffy hadn’t gotten the joke at first, but she’d found out a few minutes later that he played piano -- “passably,” in his words. It certainly went a way towards explaining why she liked his hands so much.

“I guess mostly I’ve just been having trouble sleeping this week,” Buffy said after a pause. “Strange dreams. Haven’t really felt awake enough to exercise, and maybe I’m just not tiring myself out enough.” Again she realized the faux pas -- this time that she’d left him a huge opening to say something of the ‘that’s what she said variety’ -- but she kept going. “Plus, even after all this time, I’m still not used to being alone at night. I mean, I was married for eight years.”

“I know how you feel.” Chris finished his drink -- a rum-and-coke -- and signaled the server for another. “With me and Vi--”

“What’s that short for, by the way?” She blushed when she realized she’d interrupted, and covered it with her wineglass. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Violet.” An odd expression ghosted over his face. “We met at a networking event. Dated a while, didn’t mean to get pregnant, but it happened. Not that I’m unhappy about Amanda,” he added quickly, “and we did have some good times together, but I don’t think we were ever really meant to be. Also, she was jealous of Amber.”

“Amber? You mean work-Amber?”

He nodded. “Not that I’d ever have cheated on Vi, but we used to go out for drinks -- the whole team -- before the last big layoff. Now it’s just Amber and me left over from the purge, but we still go out. I think she was afraid I was spending too much time with her, or maybe it was just an excuse.” He shrugged. “Well, whatever. We’re not really friends, but it was an amicable split. For the most part.”

“That’s good. That you don’t cheat, I mean.” Buffy finished her wine. The server came by just at that moment, giving them each a new glass. Buffy asked for some water as well. When the woman was gone, she said, “Tony cheated. I was too dense to notice it at first, but I eventually caught him. Twice he promised to stop; the third time I threw him out.”

“Good for you,” he said.

“Yeah, that’s what Dawn said. My sister,” she clarified, seeing him about to ask. Then she chuckled. “It’s funny; she took over for Willow when Willow came here. She’s a prodigy -- nothing like me, except for our genes.” Buffy paused. “Anyway, yeah, so I threw him out. I guess I’m lucky he didn’t pass anything on to me.” She was thankful when he left that comment alone -- she always had had a habit of over-sharing. “So, that’s my sordid life story, at least for the past year or so.”

“Sordid isn’t the word I’d have used.” He smiled. Then he changed the subject. “So, you went to college in California?”

Buffy was glad to get back onto a more innocuous topic and they talked a while about high school and college days. But around ten, Chris asked her if she’d like to head for home. “Not that I want to end the evening,” he said, “but -- and forgive me -- you look a little tired.”

“It’s probably the wine.” But she didn’t say no. He paid the bill and they walked out to his car.

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Willow


Willow heard her phone buzz softly on the side table. She had one arm around Tara; they had been watching television, cuddled together under an afghan, and Tara had dozed off some time ago. Her partner’s head rested heavily on Willow’s chest, but Willow didn’t mind.

And Tara certainly wouldn’t mind Willow checking her phone. She reached over for it, but the small movement woke her partner. “What is it?”

Willow tapped the screen until the message came up. “News break. ‘ATL girl claims man is vampire, kills with wooden stake’.” She shook her head. “Strange.”

“Sad,” Tara said. She shifted on the couch until her head was on Willow’s lap; Willow looked down into Tara’s soft blue eyes. “That she couldn’t draw the line.”

“The line?”

“Between reality and fantasy.”

Willow cupped Tara’s cheek, felt her partner nuzzle her hand. Tara was always so soft and sweet -- her voice, her skin, even her golden hair spread across the dark blue of Willow’s jeans. She felt Tara kiss her palm. “I guess you’re right,” Willow said. “Still, weird that it could happen.”

“I don’t know,” Tara said. She grinned, just a bit. “Remember that Wicca group I joined in college?”

“Bake sales and wanna-blessed-bes? Isn’t that what you called them?”

Tara nodded. “I guess I just wanted to believe, y’know? That there was something bigger than me.”

“Well, there’s us.” Willow saw Tara’s eyes glisten. “We’re bigger together than either one of us. And, hey, we did meet just after that, right?”

Another nod. Willow brushed Tara’s eyes gently with her thumb. “I love you,” she said.

“Love you too.” Willow moved her hand to Tara’s, intertwining their fingers. “You want to go up to bed?”

“I think we should. Unless you just want me to sleep on you again.”

“It does have its allure, but I’d rather you hold me than just lay on me.”

“Fair enough.”

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Despite Tara’s tired eyes and slow movements, Willow couldn’t resist putting on a nightgown that was just this side of too short. The satin felt good on her skin regardless, but she knew that if Tara wanted to do more than just cuddle, she’d be dressed for that too. Tara, for her part, had gone with thin cotton pajama pants and an equally-thin t-shirt; Willow tried to hide the pang of disappointment, but Tara’s kiss after they brushed their teeth told her that her partner knew. “I’m sorry, sweetie,” she said. “You know I want to.”

“I know,” Willow said. “It’s okay. And anyway, just being held by you is enough.” And, in the morning, I know you’ll make it up to me, she added mentally.

Just before they climbed into bed, the doorbell sounded.

“That’s weird,” Tara said. “Who’s coming to our house at 10:30?”

“Dunno.”

The bell rang again. Two presses, instead of just one.

“What do you want to do?” Tara asked.

“We should probably see who it is.” Willow pulled on her bathrobe and tied the sash. “Come with me?”

“Willow, I know this is a nice neighborhood, but it’s still pretty late--”

“So bring the taser. And we won’t open the door until we see who it is. Promise.”

Tara bit her lip but nonetheless did as Willow suggested, getting the weapon from the nightstand and handing it over. She didn’t much care for it, although she certainly understood the need. And she’d said, flat out, that there would be no guns in the house, so this was the best Willow was going to get.

Without turning on any lights, the two women crept down the stairs, serenaded by the four-tone sound of the doorbell, until they were in the foyer. Willow tucked herself out of sight of the door, flipping the taser to ‘ready’.

Tara flipped open the peephole and stared through it.

Then Willow saw her body sag and she let out a long sigh.

“Who is it?”

Tara just flipped on the foyer light and unlocked the door. She opened it and Willow saw--

“Xander!”

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Your reviews (or e-mails) are greatly appreciated.

The comment about "not going up on stage" is directed against every story that, like
Anchorman, has the guy go up on stage to play some music and impress the girl. That trope really bugs me.

Next time: big-time explanations, another cameo from one of my other stories, and a sex scene that pushes the boundaries of FR-18. So you've got that to look forward to.
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