Buffy was standing in the middle of a meadow. Part of her realized that this was very strange and that she was supposed to be helping Giles in the Magic Box, but she ignored that part and simply accepted the surroundings for what they were.
The meadow was empty of any signs of life. Tall grass swayed gently in the wind, butterflies flitted from flower to flower, and that faint buzzing of insects in summer hummed through the air. It had a faintly unreal quality that reminded Buffy of her dreams last year when they had called upon the Primal Slayer. But in those dreams, even peaceful moments like this had held a sense of impending danger. Buffy didn't have that feeling here.
With nothing better to do, she picked a direction and began walking. As she moved, she realized her clothes had changed. Gone were blue jeans and a tank top. In their place, she wore a gray-blue dress with a long skirt. It swished with every step she took. Buffy didn't spend much time pondering her change of clothes. It was all part of the background for this strange meadow scene.
She walked until she came to a creek. Buffy paused for a moment, then knelt down and peered into the water. Her reflection stared back at her, the exact image she had seen in the mirror that morning.
The water rippled. The face she saw changed, grew younger. Buffy now saw herself as she had been five years ago.
"A lot has changed since then," a voice said over her shoulder. Buffy looked up and saw her sophomore self standing there, wearing the dress she had faced the Master in. "You were younger, more innocent. You were going to be the first Slayer to live past twenty five. The first to go to college and graduate. The first Slayer to retire and spend the rest of her days behind a white picket fence. You didn't know how you were going to work that, but you were going to do it anyway."
"What is this?"
"This?" the past Buffy gestured, waving her hand to indicated their surroundings. "This is a dream."
"Why am I dreaming?"
"Because you're asleep."
Buffy nodded. That made sense. She turned her attention back to the water. The Buffy of sophomore year was gone, replaced by a man she knew so well. Angel. His image was smiling at her, that faint smile she knew as the only sign he ever gave of being happy.
"You were so pure and innocent. He loved you for that, you know." Buffy knew even without turning around that Angel now stood there. "You gave him the light he so desperately wanted and he gave you the support you so desperately needed. A match made in heaven, the two of you. Or so you thought."
"It was for a time," Angel corrected, "but things changed, didn't they?"
Angel-in-the-water rippled, grew fangs and that uniquely evil look that only Angelus could wear. Buffy jumped to her feet and drew away from the image.
Angelus stood by the water now. He smiled. "He hurt you, didn't he? For all the strength you showed the world, he broke bits of you inside."
Buffy watched him warily. "I survived."
"So you did," Angelus agreed, displaying an amount of reasonability he never had shown before. "But did you?"
Buffy scowled. Her mind was growing a little more aware, and now she was getting frustrated with this. "What's going on? What's with all the vague questions?"
"You'll find out."
"When it is time for you to wake up."
Buffy clenched her fists tightly. "Can't you give me a straight answer?! Who are you?"
"You know who I am."
Angelus vanished. No one else appeared in his place.
"At least this episode of This Is Your Life is over," she muttered. With nothing better to do, she started forward towards the creek and knelt again. All the water showed her was herself.
Buffy yawned. Suddenly, she felt very sleepy. She curled up beside the creek bed. As she closed her eyes, it vaguely registered that the image in the water had changed.
It now showed Spike walking through a forest.