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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)ListenerFR182256,28613114,9646 May 128 Jul 12Yes

ELEVEN: Tara, Xander, Willow, Buffy

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 went on a date with Chris, but since she seemed pretty tired, he offered to take her home a little early. Willow and Tara spent the night in, also tired. Just before they went to bed, someone rang their doorbell...

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ELEVEN: Tara, Xander, Willow, Buffy

This chapter contains sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

"He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it." -Douglas Adams

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Tara


Tara had met Xander in person only a few of times, but she knew all about him from Willow. He’d been Willow’s best friend growing up -- him and this other boy, Jesse -- although when she’d gone off to UCLA, neither of them had shown any inclination to go to college. They’d fallen off the map some time ago.

So why was he here now, hugging her partner like she was the last life raft on the Titanic?

They went into the kitchen and Tara put the kettle on. Willow, for her part, guided Xander to the window seat and joined him there, the two of them sitting close together like long-lost lovers.

No. Tara shook her head. Aside from a little kissing in senior year, Willow and Xander had never done anything like that, and Tara had no fears about Willow even considering turning to someone else. Xander just needed her right now.

The kettle started whistling; Tara poured the water into three mugs and set them on a tray with some tea bags before carrying the whole thing to the window. Xander looked up at her with haunted eyes and nodded his thanks.

“Why now, Xander?” Willow asked. “Why are you here right now? What’s the matter?”

“Did you hear about the man who was killed with the wooden stake?” he asked. Willow nodded; so did Tara. “Well, it’s about that. And so much more.” He sighed and dipped the tea bag into his mug. “I’ll tell you,” he said, his voice soft. “But you can’t interrupt me until I’m done. Promise me.”

“Of course,” Willow said. Tara just nodded again.

Xander didn’t look convinced, but he did as he said. He told them.

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Xander


The last time we saw you guys was just after New Year’s 2000, Xander said. We had that party at your old house, Will, and your parents were out of town. You guys were just getting started in your relationship, and me and Jesse said some dumb stuff. For which I apologize. Again.

Anyway, right after that, you two went back to college. Me and Jesse bummed around a bit, but we realized we weren’t going to accomplish anything with our parents around. So we pooled our money, bought a car, and hit the road. Mostly we did odd jobs -- mechanic work, construction, whatever we could do to make ends meet. We slept in the car, or sometimes in roadside motels if we could afford them. But we were young, and we thought we’d eventually fall into some sweet gig if only we kept on going.

Then it happened.

Jesse and I were in a diner, eating breakfast, and he read in the paper about some teenage girl going nuts and stabbing people with a wooden stake. Now, this was before Supernatural, so we thought it would be cool and not derivative at all to drive to the middle of nowhere in Eastern Washington and check it out.

It wasn’t anything “special”. Not really. Just a crazy girl who couldn’t tell the difference between the vampires in her dreams and the real people at her school. But what was weird was this: she’d been on the school’s track team.

Now, I know what you might be thinking -- athletes aren’t outcasts. At the very least they have their teams. But this girl just wasn’t well-liked by anyone. She was pretty enough, in a track-star sort of way, and she was good, too; fast, and she could jump, and she could throw a javelin pretty well. I think she had won some awards or something, but it’s been a while. Anyway, the only thing we discovered about her was that she’d had really vivid dreams for a few weeks before it happened, and that her family lived in Sunnydale until about 1996 or so.

So we went back, and we checked out the house -- 1630 Revello Drive, near where we used to live. No one lived there, and according to Mrs. Mills -- you remember her, the one who always made popcorn balls on Halloween? -- realtors had been having a tough time trying to sell it.

But it wasn’t haunted. That stuff doesn’t exist.

At least, that’s what I thought.

+

After a bathroom break, Xander continued his story.

Jesse and I started hitting libraries, checking newspapers to see if anyone else had strange behaviors. We found a few more, but always got there too late. And you have to remember, this is between just driving around, working, trying to find our purpose.

Then, in 2003, everything changed. Right around May, we started finding more and more articles about athletic, well-adjusted girls going bonkers. Sometimes they attacked their friends, sometimes they went all emo and cut themselves, sometimes they wrote really bad poetry. Right around this time, Jesse’s dad died, and we sold off a bunch of his old collectibles so we’d have enough money to look like college kids doing research for a master’s thesis or something. I always let Jesse do the talking anyway. He was better at it than me.

You promised not to interrupt. I know, I know, it’s a long story, but hear me out, okay?

Okay.

We kept up the charade for a while, trying to get our findings in order. We settled down in Nebraska, working at a roadhouse kind of bar for this woman named Ellen Harvelle. She and her daughter were into these crazy coincidences too, and for years we put our heads together, getting information and evidence and stuff, and telling anyone we could get to listen. That’s why all my letters to you were posted from that place -- Ellen rented us rooms above the roadhouse.

Activity died down in 2010 or so, and for a year we sort of became real people. We’d made friends in town, and both Jesse and me had thought about asking Ellen’s daughter out on dates. But we never did, and I don’t think she’d have said yes regardless. Jesse started seeing this fourth-grade teacher, and I had a few short relationships. Nothing serious.

Then, about a month ago, we heard about three girls getting their stakes on at about the same time, all of them in Vancouver. Jesse and I had passports, but Jo and Ellen didn’t, so we got our butts in gear. By the time we got there, it was pretty much over, but we interviewed everyone anyway. By then we were using the “book about unexplained deaths” angle, which was a lot easier to lie our way through than the “FBI agents” angle.

The last interview was at night. One of the girls hadn’t actually managed to hurt anyone, so her parents were just keeping her at home. Jesse sweet-talked them into letting her meet with us.

She’d broken off a piece of her bed frame and brought it into the room with her. I didn’t expect it when she came for me.

+

Xander took a moment to compose himself.

She was a girl possessed. It was unbelievable. She was faster and stronger than anyone I’d ever met, at least at that size. Like a martial artist or something. I think her parents said she did gymnastics and swimming, but I don’t know how that made her so easily able to get to me.

Or she would have gotten to me if Jesse hadn’t pulled me out of the way.

Then the girl’s dad tried to help us up. She was absolutely gone by then, and she was coming for her dad. Jesse...

Jesse pushed him out of the way and she stabbed him through the heart.

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Willow


“Oh my God, Xander! Why didn’t you tell me?” She felt her throat go tight as she hugged him. Tara squeezed her way into the window seat and held Willow from behind. “God, that’s horrible.”

Xander nodded. “I know.” He sighed. “We got her under control, but it was too late for Jesse. The stake shredded his heart. He died in the living room.” Willow leaned back into Tara’s embrace, watching Xander as he carefully controlled his emotions. “But I did get a chance to talk to her a few days afterward. She broke down and told me about her dream.”

“What did she see?” Tara asked. Willow felt her heart pounding, felt Tara’s moving fast as well where her chest pressed against Willow’s back.

“Her, and a blond woman, and a brunette. They were in a house, fighting a bunch of vampires, and Jesse... Jesse had been the leader.”

“But he wasn’t--” Willow said with a start.

“Oh hell no,” Xander said. “For one thing, we definitely drove during the day, and he didn’t burn to a crisp.” He allowed a tight smile. “Or sparkle in the sunlight.”

Tara made an inelegant snorting noise, which made Willow laugh.

Xander nodded. “There was one more thing.”

“What?”

He reached into the pocket of his jacket and took out a much-folded piece of paper. He handed it to Willow. “Vicki -- that was her name -- she drew this, and she begged her parents to give it to me. I didn’t understand why at first, didn’t even open it, until after Jesse was buried.”

Willow unfolded the sheet. Once, then twice, then--

“Oh my God.”

She felt Tara’s arms tighten around her as the two of them stared at the sketch. At the forefront was a skinny teenage-looking girl; that was probably Vicki. But it was the other three that made Willow want to scream.

The blonde was clearly Buffy. The brunette was clearly Kennedy.

Behind them, eyes closed, surrounded by weird sigils, was a slender redheaded woman.

“That’s... that’s me,” Willow managed to say. “My God, Xander... why was she dreaming of me?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “But it’s taken me this long to get here. I went to LA first -- I had no idea you’d moved to Atlanta.” He quickly explained that he’d stopped in Sunnydale to get some stuff from his parents’ house, including the rest of his clothes and every horror novel he owned. “I figured, time to start reading the lore on vampires, if people are dreaming about them. I know they’re not real...”

“But something is,” Tara said. “Something bad is happening. And Willow’s involved, somehow.”

“I am not!” Willow snapped, pulling out of Tara’s arms and jumping to her feet.

“That’s not what I meant.” Tara stood up and caught Willow, bringing her close in another hug. “Sweetie, I’m sorry.”

“I know.” Willow kissed Tara’s cheek, then her lips. “I’m just scared.”

“You should be,” Xander said. They both turned to look at him. “I’m having dreams too.”

+

“I still think this is a bad idea,” Tara said. “What if he... I mean, the others--”

“He won’t,” Willow said. She was as close as possible to Tara, snuggled against her side, practically trapping Tara’s left leg between both of hers. “We locked the door, and we have the taser, and anyway he’s my best friend in the world.” She smiled and kissed Tara’s shoulder. “Baby, he’s my Xander-shaped friend. He’d never hurt me. He’d give up everything he ever had before he did anything that would cause me pain.”

Tara was silent for a long moment. “I trust you, sweetie,” she finally whispered. Then she kissed Willow’s hair. “I’m just scared. I mean, what’s going to happen to you if--”

“Nothing’s going to happen,” Willow said. She pulled Tara closer, nuzzling her neck. “Just go to sleep, okay? We’ll talk about it in the morning.”

“I don’t think I’m going to get to sleep tonight,” Tara said, and then, before Willow could capitalize on that, added, “and don’t even think about distracting me with sex.”

“But baby... you like sex!”

Well, that did it. Willow could tell Tara was trying to hold back the giggles, but she just wasn’t capable. Soon they were both laughing, holding each other and kissing between outbursts. They didn’t actually have sex -- Willow wanted to, but she didn’t want to push Tara, either -- but it felt good to just be with the person she loved. The person she would do anything for.

“Go to sleep, baby,” Willow finally said, once the last round of hiccups had subsided. “I love you.”

Tara spooned up behind Willow and kissed her hair again. “Love you too."

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Buffy


Buffy had made up her mind to kiss Chris good night long before he walked her up the steps to her apartment. But she hadn’t planned on it being one of those kisses, the ones that would’ve made her toes curl if she hadn’t been wearing shoes. Nor had she planned on pulling him inside and... well, there was really no other way to say it... making out with him for several minutes before they even got to the living room. Before much more time had passed, Buffy found herself straddling his lap as he sat on her couch. Their clothes were still on -- she had a mental flutter at the inclusion of the word ‘still’ -- and to her amazement, his hands hadn’t wandered.

Truthfully, if he’d grabbed her ass and pulled her closer, she probably wouldn’t have minded.

He did, though, pick up on what was happening when she unbuttoned her blouse and pulled it out from where it had been tucked into her skirt. His hands were warm and surprisingly gentle as he ran them along her back.

Buffy, for her part, was trying to get her hands between them, to open his shirt, but each time his hands moved over her sides, his fingertips just barely dancing over her hips, she lost track of what she was doing and settled for pushing down against his lap.

Judging from the feel of him through his slacks, he clearly was enjoying that part.

As his hands moved upward, over the strap of her bra, she said “off” against his lips.

Which, for some reason, made him stop kissing her.

Weird.

“Are you okay?” she asked, her forehead against his, her breath coming with occasional gasps.

“I don’t think...” Chris swallowed hard. “I mean, I don’t want to pressure you, or make you think--”

“You’re not,” she said, and pulled herself closer, his head going to the bend of her neck. She shuddered when he nipped the skin there -- Buffy had always found her neck to be one of her quickest triggers, and she felt her entire body flush when his teeth touched her. “I’ll say stop if... oh, God, if I have to, but... but...”

He kissed where he’d bitten, then moved his head back to look up at her with those intense blue eyes. “I don’t have anything,” he said. “For protection. And I don’t want to start something and have to stop.” His hands were on her thighs now, on skin that had been bared as her skirt had moved upward. “And I don’t want to push you--”

“You’re not,” Buffy said again. She moved off him, sitting beside him on the couch. His hand was still on her thigh, and she didn’t bother to fix her clothes.

But then, in an instant he was off the couch, on his knees, resting against hers. “I’ll make you a deal,” he said, and the heat in his eyes made her shiver. “One of us,” he whispered, his mouth lowering to brush across her thigh, “has to keep his or her underwear on... all the time.”

Buffy’s eyes fluttered closed. “That’s unfair,” she moaned.

“Not if we take turns.”

She thought about that, then nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay,” he said, and then reached past the rucked-up skirt to take the sides of her panties in his hands.

Buffy’s eyes snapped open, and something on her face must have given him pause. But then she lifted her ass off the couch and let him pull them down and off her legs.

And then he was kissing her knee. And her thigh. And his hands were very gently moving her legs apart. And oh God oh God he can’t possibly--

+

Buffy’s eyes opened and she looked down at Chris, who was still kneeling between her legs. Well, beside one of them, and the other was still on his left shoulder. He had a very self-satisfied expression on his face, and Buffy was still too incoherent to speak.

“Are you all right?”

She did manage a nod.

Chris smiled and leaned down, kissing her very high up on her left thigh. She squeaked and jumped. “Please,” she gasped out. “Not yet, please...”

“Are you sure?” Another kiss and she nearly went to pieces again, but managed to hold on. With her left leg she tried to push at him, but he caught her ankle. “Oh, now, you don’t really want me to stop.”

Fortunately for her sanity, though, he didn’t kiss her there again. He just watched her face, and she watched his, and for the briefest moment she imagined she saw Satsu’s elegant cheekbones and dark eyes.

She shook her head and blinked; she didn’t want to think about Satsu right now. She wanted to think about Chris. She held out her hands. “Help me up.” He did, and once she was on her feet, he placed her panties in her hand. “What..?”

“In case you want to put them on later. Up to you.”

“Oh.” She considered that. What Chris had just done, Tony had never -- at least, not as willingly as Chris. In fact, she remembered it being a sort of ‘gift’ for anniversaries and birthdays, and he had always seemed to be waiting for the soonest possible moment to stop.

Chris hadn’t wanted to stop.

Her heart beat harder as she led him to her bedroom and pushed him gently into a sitting position the bed. Very deliberately, with the most seductive look she thought she could manage, she stepped into her panties and pulled them all the way up.

“Now,” Buffy said, undoing her skirt and letting it fall, “what was this you said about taking turns?”

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

Also, if you think the chapter was explicit enough that I should go back and bump the rating to FR-21, let me know. I'm not opposed to doing that, but I personally think the scene in this chapter is no "worse" than a film with a "hard" R rating.

The "keep your underwear on" thing is borrowed from a friend of mine, who actually used to do it with guys she dated to make sure she didn't have sex with them.

You may recognize Vicki from the "On" series, if you're reading it.

Next time: more explanations, more sex, and more Xander.
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