This story was originally written in 2004 when I was 19 years old. It was one of my first in the BtVS fandom, and it was written at a time when I was still finding my writing voice. One of the most common critiques I receive for this work (and other fics written around this era) is the misuse of words. It is an absolutely fair criticism. I did misuse a lot of freaking words. What initial readers read was a teen trying to sound older than she was. Like a lot of young writers, I thought people wouldn't take me seriously as an author if they knew how young I was, so I tried to hide it. And yes, in some cases, I just didn't know better, but try telling that to a teenager.
Fast forward thirteen years. I am now a professional editor (currently freelance, but previously with Samhain Publishing) and an author of paranormal/contemporary romance. My love of Buffy/fanfic was reenergized with the 20th anniversary. I'm getting back into fandom now and one of my projects is going to be giving my backlist of Buffy fanfic a good edit. At this time, I do not intend to change the stories themselves; I'd just like them to be readable. From what I've edited of this story so far...well, 19-year-old me really liked convoluted sentences on top of the wrong word choice. I apparently set out to make reading this story as difficult as possible.
All that said, this story may be familiar to some and new to others. I will be posting chapters as they are edited, and have currently averaged around one chapter a day. There may be typographical errors (frequently occur with heavy edits/rewrites) but even if those are present, I am confident the polished version of this story will read better than the original. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy.
Dream a Little Dream
A vast array of images, shapes, and colors blurred into one distorted picture of fragmented reality. And all through it, she was there. There to laugh and mock. There to remind him of what he wanted. She was his lone consistency in his inconsistent world.
It would feel to give in. And he wanted to.
But he wouldn’t. He was a champion. And that was the way things were.
There was nothing distinct or particularly memorable about what she saw, yet dreams could never be taken lightly.
She saw monsters, blood, and fangs. She saw herself running through corridors without end. She saw a great grandfather clock that announced its hours with ethereal chimes. She saw her sister—a sister? She didn’t have one of those. Wasn’t supposed to have a sister. It wasn’t right.
Dawn. Not real. She wasn’t real. She never had been.
Only she was. And she was the Key. She was what stood between now and eternity. Dawn’s survival, her protection, was what the world—what the universe—depended on for continued existence. She was real. She was Buffy’s sister. She was Dawn.
The ticking would not end.
Beat the clock. That was what life had amounted to. Beat the clock. Racing down endless hallways, knowing despite how fast she ran, she would always be too late. Nothing could change that. Nothing.
The ticking would not end.
And the dream was always the same.
He saw what he had become. Wanting, desiring, craving the enemy. The thing that would always be just outside his reach.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Not for him. The chip couldn’t change who he was. He felt it with every drive. What he always had been, in some regard or another, what always would be. The monster.
He had killed. He wished he still could. He had torn the still-beating heart of many a virgin. He had stalked the shadows. For over a century, he had torn the world apart, and enjoyed every minute of it.
And here he was. Going against his own nature. Everything he had always believed himself to be. A slayer of slayers. A vampire of his own creation. A demon. A monster. A creature of the night.
He was a being of evil, and yet with every minute he suffered, he wanted her. Saw her. Bloody well needed her.
Needed the Slayer.
Perversion in the worst form of the word.
He would never have what he wanted because it was wrong.
It didn’t mean the dreams would stop.
Because of her.