I don't own anything. Buffy is not owned by me. It is owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me. Dreams of Madness
The village of Gullringen was dark at night, and no one was out late enough that evening to see the creature that stalked through the quiet streets. Even if someone had been awake, they would have thought nothing about the large black cat with short, matted fur and yellowed teeth. The fact that it walked as though it owned the night did nothing to set it apart from any other large tomcat that roamed the streets.
The cat reached the small hotel that had been its destination, and sat on its haunches, its head cocked to one side as it studied the building. Walking around to one side, it looked both ways before jumping up towards the second floor. It leaped straight up more than a dozen feet and simply flew through the stone wall of the building, landing casually on the floor within.
Taking in the room, it first stalked over to the bed containing a petite blonde. Jumping up onto the foot of the bed, it examined the woman, before turning its gaze to the redhead across the room. Satisfied, it strained for a moment, before its head split in two, each half reforming into a whole, leaving a two headed cat standing on the blanket. Each head focused on a different woman, as the creature sat completely still. Both women twitched and then lay unmoving as well, with only the shallowest breathing indicating that they lived at all.
* * *
Buffy walked cheerfully through Restfield cemetery, a contended smile on her face as she slowly twirled her stake. It was a crisp, clear night, and she was looking forward to getting her slay on before Bronzing. She broke into a happy grin as she saw Xander and Willow waiting for her at the gate out of the graveyard.
“Hey guys!” Buffy chirped perkily as she jogged up to her best friends.
“Hey! It's the Buffster!” Xander said, grinning goofily at her.
Buffy started to say something, but stopped when she noticed that something was wrong. “Xander... did something happen?”
“What do you mean, Buff? What could have happened?” Xander asked casually.
“I dunno. It's just... something seems different.”
“It could be that I still have my eye,” he said nodding sagely. “You haven't gouged it out yet.”
Buffy stumbled back, nearly choking on her own tongue. Blinking, her eyes widened in horror as she saw her best friend now sported a bloody, empty eye socket. “W-what!”
“Yeah, I sure do miss the ol' depth perception. Seeing 3D? Really underrated, and for more than just cheesy summer blockbusters.”
“I wouldn't... I wouldn't hurt you...”
“But you did. 'Course, that's just the visible wound. That's got nothing on the times you killed my girlfriend.”
“Yeah, Buffy,” Anya said from behind her. “Why did you kill me? I had just begun to have orgasms with Xander again, and then you took me away from him.”
“Anya!” Buffy gasped spinning around. She covered her mouth when she saw the massive sword wound that had killed her. Despite it she still stood unfazed, blood pooling at her feet. Standing next to her was a short haired, dark skinned woman with a gaping hole in the middle of her chest. “Renee...”
“Wow, you remembered me?” Renee asked mockingly. “I thought I'd have to join Slayer row over there, but I guess dating Xander made sure you'd know my name.”
“Too bad you didn't live long enough for him to give you any orgasms,” Anya said, shaking her head sadly. “He was very good at that.”
“Yeah, eye loss?” Xander said. “Sure, sucks like you wouldn't believe. But I really wish you hadn't killed them.”
“I'm sorry,” Buffy said thickly.
“Sorry doesn't unkill people, Buff,” Xander replied sadly.
“That's why I'm keeping Kennedy away from you,” Willow said harshly. “You killed my Tara, and if I let you be around Kenn, you'd kill her too.”
Buffy looked at her other best friend, who now had black hair and eyes, and stood next to the bleeding form of Tara. “Why did you have to shoot me, Buffy,” Tara asked sadly. “I-I thought I was your friend.”
“Plus, don't wanna be a downer, but, you know, you killed me too, in a Not-Even-Told-Current-Me about it Time-Travely kinda way,” Willow said, pointing to a new hole in her chest which was spewing blood.
“Oh, god,” Buffy said, turning and running. Her tears nearly blinded her, but it wasn't enough to prevent her from seeing the lines of girls who reached out to her as she ran. Some of them were potentials, many of which she had buried in her own back yard. Others were Slayers who had fallen under her command. Girls who had died because of her choices.
Turning a corner she ran straight into Angel, both of them stumbling back in surprise. “Buffy?” he asked, his quiet voice concerned. “Are you alright?”
“Angel!” she said. “You're okay!”
“Not really,” he said, shaking his head regretfully. “After all, you sent me to hell.”
Stumbling back, she noticed the blood pouring from his chest as he reached out to her, before he was sucked into a terrible vortex. Averting her gaze with a sob, she then noticed Spike staring at her. “Spike!”
“Yeah luv?” he said casually, pulling a cigarette from his mouth.
“What's going on? Why is this happening?”
“Why? 'Cause your so good a' killin' everyone you care 'bout, Slayer. Even me.” Slowly flames began at his feet, burning and consuming him until not even dust remained. With an anguished scream, Buffy began to run again.
She ran and ran until she heard a voice shouting for her. Turning around, she saw Giles glaring at her while he polished his glasses. “Giles? What's wrong?”
“What's wrong?” Jenny Calendar asked, causing Buffy to spin around again. She gasped as she saw the woman's head hanging at an unnatural angle. “You
let Angelus kill me, and you ask what's wrong?”
“Y-you kill everyone, Buffy,” Giles said in an intense, yet quiet voice. “Everyone close to you suffers and dies. We've all lost lovers because of you, and you've lost two yourself. You're a plague. I could hardly wait to return to England after you came back, so that I could start a life again. It's not as though I could have had one with you waiting in the wings to kill everyone I grew close to.”
Buffy couldn't listen any longer, simply turning and running from the accusing voice. Ahead of her she saw a couch, with her mother lying on it, unmoving. Averting her gaze, she simply ran on until she could run no longer, eventually collapsing to the ground, gasping for air. When she could finally breath again, she wiped her tearing eyes and looked up.
In front of her was a gravestone. Written on it was her name, Buffy Summers. Below it were the words: She died all alone, having killed everyone she loved.
Buffy covered her head and wept.
* * *
Willow smiled as she walked into Buffy's living room. She couldn't wait to see her friend, so that she could tell her how much she had improved at the whole magic thing. Her smile dropped when she saw her friend's distraught expression. “Buffy, what's wrong?”
“I had to send Angel to hell,” Buffy forced out, her voice choked and hoarse. “Not Angelus. He got his soul back... and I had to send him to hell.”
“I didn't mean to hurt you,” Willow gasped, her eyes filling with tears.
“We never really worry about the consequences, do we?” Her own voice crooned, the tone full of dark promises.
Spinning around, Willow gasped in shock at seeing her vampire doppelganger. “You! But I didn't mean to summon you! I was tricked!”
“You never mean it,” Xander said. Looking at him, Willow cringed, as he was covered in bruises and blood as a host of demons circled him. “Everything's just fine and dandy. Except we're the ones who suffer.”
“Y-yes, if I could, um, see anything, I would surely be glaring at you,” Giles said, his attempt to glare with his blind eyes being very off target.
“How could you do that?” Buffy asked. “I mean, I'm glad I'm getting to marry the Big Bad, but what about the others?”
“I'm sorry!” Willow squeaked out.
“Don't be sorry!” a voice behind her boomed. Willow spun and gaped when she recognized Olaf the Troll. “You let me out of that crystal! Bring me ale and succulent babies to eat, and I will be well pleased!”
Suddenly the floor bulged upwards, and bloody hands forced themselves out of the patch of dirt. Buffy, filthy and bleeding, pulled herself out of the ground. She looked around blearily, until her traumatized eyes locked with Willow. “Is this hell? Why did you tear me out of heaven?”
Willow turned and ran, her feet carrying her into the kitchen. “I'm Joan!” Buffy said cheerfully.
“Maybe I'm Umad,” Dawn said, smiling at her sister. The others all stood around, looking slightly confused, as a hoard of demons pushed the backdoor open. Everyone screamed in fear and confusion, none of them knowing what to do.
Willow turned around to run again, and bumped into Tara. “Willow, how could you do that to me? After Glory, h-how could you mess with my memory!”
“I'm sorry, Tara,” Willow choked out.
“Does sorry cover magic burns?” Xander asked, his chest smoking from her magics.
“Or broken arms,” Dawn asked, glaring angrily.
“Or missing skin?” Warren asked, dripping with blood.
“Or an apocalypse?” a dark haired Willow asked.
Willow ran outside, through her friends who suddenly couldn't see her, past everyone else who had ever suffered because of magic gone wrong at her hands. Finally, she stopped, snarling angrily. “That is enough!”
she shouted, her eyes turning black as a wave of power flowed outward from her, disrupting everything and transforming her dreamscape into an empty void. She glared at the large black alley cat that hovered across from her. “I get it, my spells went wrong a lot. Not exactly headline news. Also, what's with the Miss Kitty Fantastico look?”
“I can appear in any form that I desire, witch,” Sigurd said.
“But a kitty? Bad guys playing all cute is just wrong!”
“If thou wish to discuss that which is wrong, then perhaps our attention should turn to that which thou doth do with thy magics,” Sigurd said. “Thy spells go awry with great regularity, and it is always those close to thee that suffer for it.”
“I know, I know, bad Willow,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Bored now.”
“If thou art so bored, then I shall show thee something that should gain thy intrest.”
Between one blink and the next the void filled, becoming a dark cavern. Willow watched as a somewhat battered version of herself talked to an injured Buffy, who was wearing a familiar yellow tanktop and pants combination. Willow couldn't hear what they were saying, but Buffy soon turned and walked further into the caverns with a determined expression on her face. The Willow from the vision snarled angrily, her eyes turning black as she shot a spell at Buffy, blasting her to the ground from behind.
“No...” Willow murmured. “This is just a big fat lie. No way. I would never...”
“This is what now stands to come to pass, witch,” Sigurd intoned. “Betrayal shall come from the closest, most unexpected quarter.”
Willow swallowed hard at the words as she recognized the clothing that Buffy had been wearing. She had seen it before from the vision in Sephrilian's lair. She and Buffy had seen a vision of an injured, crying Buffy, lying on the ground wearing that outfit. They had been told that it would be a betrayal – the closest – the most unexpected. If the draugr was showing her the future, had she been the one to betray Buffy? Had she gone black eyed and veiny, and shot her friend in the back?
“Shut up,” Willow said quietly.
“I would never...”
“Not e'en to preserve that which thou hast made thy life?” Sigurd asked, his voice hard. “This age of the world is at its close, the arrival of the herald of endings and rebirths, Twilight, proves this. What shall the next age be? Art thou prepared for what shall come?”
“What do you mean?”
“Follow thy path with the heart of young Fafnir. The council of Huginn and Muninn may be of great aid to thee.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Willow asked suspiciously. “Aren't you trying to, you know, kill us?”
“If I fall, then the fate of all this world may someday be in thy hands,” the draugr said with a terrible intensity. “What shall arise in the new age, witch? Art thou prepared for that which is to come?”
“Prepared enough,” Willow said, her eyes turning black. “By the way, did you know that invading dreams like this? Kinda the same trick a necromancer does to empower a corpse, except, you know, not all deady. I may not be able to hurt you out there, but in here? Wanna know what it's like to be skinless?”
“Until next time then, witch,” Sigurd said, turning into smoke and fading away into nothing before Willow could blast him. “Until next time...”
* * *
Buffy finally brought herself back under control, wiping her eyes and speaking without looking up. “I know you're here. This is some kinda dream attack thingy.”
“That it is, Slayer,” Sigurd's sepulchral voice intoned. “I am surprised that thou didst escape mine snare with such alacrity.”
Buffy turned around, her hard expression barely flickering with surprise when she saw the black cat sitting on a tombstone behind her. “You think you can scare me with dead friends and spooky messages? 'Cause the First was way better at this, and I still squished it.”
“If the past has not the power to lay thee low, then what of a glimpse of that which is yet to come?” the cat asked.
“What do you mean?” Buffy demanded.
“Look around thee, Slayer,” he said with a voice full of dark knowledge. “Know that what I show thee is that which may yet come to pass.”
Buffy examined her surroundings, and noticed immediately that she had been taken somewhere else. The ground was covered with snow, and she saw trees of a different sort than those which had been in Sunnydale where her dream had been previously. Standing nearby she saw herself, dressed in a red and yellow kimono covered in images of white flowers. She was holding a long, straight bladed sword of exquisite workmanship, which was dripping with crimson blood.
Buffy slowly walked forward, until she stopped with a horrified gasp at what she saw on the ground. A woman dressed in a blue and white kimono covered with images of snowflakes lay in the snow, the red of her blood standing out starkly against the white as it pooled around her. A katana with a black wrap lay next to her hand, and she stared up at the sword wielding Buffy with a look of resignation on her face.
The woman was Satsu.
“No,” Buffy whispered.
“Yes,” Sigurd said. “Thou shalt strike down yet another foolish enough to love thee, Slayer.”
“No!” Buffy shouted. “You're lying!”
“Nay,” Sigurd said, his voice sad. “Thou shalt come to this day ere the dawn of a new year, when thou shalt cross blades with yon woman.”
Buffy stayed quiet for a long moment, before a shiver ran up her spine. Looking around, she noticed a shadowy figure watching from the trees. She couldn't see who it was, other than that they had black hair and were wearing a dark dress. Continuing her search, she finally saw what she was looking for.
“This whole dream invasion thingy... you've never tried it on a Slayer before, have you?”
“Nay, I have not,” Sigurd said, his tone suddenly wary.
“In the spirit of fairness, I think you should know that we aren't the only ones in here. And she... she doesn't like intruders.”
Buffy pointed behind Sigurd, and he turned his head in time to see the First Slayer standing behind him, a stake at the ready. Before she could strike, the cat turned into smoke and disappeared. The dream dispersed as quickly as he had.
* * *
Buffy sat up with a gasp, her heart pounding. Glancing across the room, she saw Willow likewise sitting up in bed, obviously disturbed. Neither saw the large black cat that ran through the stone wall and into the night.
“I didn't wake you, did I?” Buffy asked quietly.
“No!” Willow said, smiling nervously. “Not at all. I was already awake.”
“Oh,” Buffy said. “You okay?”
“Yup!” Willow said, just a touch too emphatically. “No problems at all. Nothing to worry about. Not a thing!”
“Really?” Buffy asked skeptically.
“Fine,” Willow said, sighing. “Sigurd was all in my dreams, trying to be all scary.”
Buffy nodded. “Yeah, totally lame. I mean, does he really think he could follow up the First with the same schtick? Talk about amateur hour.”
Willow chuckled. “Yup. He tried to scare me by showing how many times I've screwed up with magic. I mean, duh, right? Tons of my spells used to go kablooie. Not exactly news here.”
Buffy chuckled slightly. “You definitely have come a long way as witchy girl. Back when you were making people get married, and turning Xand into a demon magnet, did you ever think you'd be all up up and away?”
“Well, maybe a little,” Willow said, blushing. “When I wasn't thinking I'd never move more than a pencil, anyway.”
“Yeah,” Buffy said smiling. “Plus, Ziggy did some 'this is your future' crap. Crazy, right?” Willow didn't answer for a moment. “It is, isn't it? Crazy? 'Cause he couldn't really be doing the vision thing, could he?”
“Draugr can see the future,” Willow said quietly. “I don't know why he would show u-um, you
, a vision of the future, 'cause he totally didn't show me one! But I don't know why he would show you a vision, since he didn't show me one, not at all.”
Buffy looked at Willow skeptically.
“What was your vision about?” Willow asked quickly. “'Cause it might be true, and then, um, you should get ready for it, right? Plan things out?”
“Could I plan stuff and change it?” Buffy asked desperately.
“Sure!” Willow said firmly. “You stopped some of your Slayer dreams, and this is like that. Just 'cause someone foresees, doesn't mean it'll happen. You can change stuff. So if you had a very bad, awful, won't let it ever happen ever
vision just now, um, you can stop it. 'Cause it won't happen. Ever.”
Buffy thought about that for a moment, a knot loosening in her chest that had appeared when she had seen the vision of Satsu dead by her hand. She really needed to keep swords away from her lovers, she decided morosely. “What about other stuff? If you didn't just see the future, but, I dunno, went there maybe? Could you change that?”
“Of course,” Willow said as she laid back down. “By being there you'd change stuff. Like in Back to the Future, where he time traveled and changed stuff and everything was all different.”
“But that was going to the past,” Buffy said as she laid down as well.
“Yeah, but it's the same thing,” Willow said. “It would just be a possible future. You could still prevent it.”
Buffy stared up at the ceiling for a long time after Willow fell asleep, thinking about the future. She wouldn't let Satsu die. And she wouldn't let Willow turn evil and full of dark magic either. Both were only possible futures... and she would make them im
There was no other option. Author's Notes
Draugr often took the form of a cat, and also liked to enter the dreams of their victims. Furthermore, they had the power to see the future, so the visions were not simply a bluff. Ah, prophecy, the cheapest form of foreshadowing.
The future vision from Sephrilian's lair, and the statement about the betrayal, are from Issue #10 of season 8. Since this bit of foreshadowing is part of the material that I am using as canon, I've reappropriated it for my own purposes (so don't expect the same betrayal). The references about Willow being evil in the future is from the Time of Your Life comic arc, which is also part of my canon. Buffy killed a dark version of Willow when she travelled centuries into the future in that arc. She has yet to tell anyone about this, but is very upset. Remember, I stop using the comics as canon per se after issue #20, so don't expect things to go the same after that.