Buffy's Dream, Part Three

The path Buffy was on winded and twisted through the forest. She followed each bend faithfully, until the path finally led her to a cottage set amidst the trees.

With nothing better to do, Buffy entered the cottage. It was much bigger inside than it looked like it could be. There was a party going on. People, some she knew and some she didn't, were laughing and talking and dancing.

While she stood there watching them, Riley came over and pulled her into the dance. They moved awkwardly and out of synch, yet Buffy noticed the rest of the partygoers were applauding the couple for their grace.

"Riley was what you wanted, once," Riley told her as they danced. "A nice man, a solid man, a Prince Charming." She spun away from him and then returned to the dance. "But people change. Even if he could have been the man for Buffy, he was not able to be the man for the Slayer. Who you are and who he is are too far apart. Slayer and soldier, that sounds like it could work. But it didn't."

"I tried," Buffy said softly, "I tried to make it work."

"You did," he agreed. "And so did he. But all the trying in the world can't force two pieces of a puzzle together that are not meant to fit. It was not your fault, and it was not his. Sometimes you have to accept the song is over and move onto the next dance." Riley bowed formally, then left her standing alone on the dance floor.

"But what if no one else asks me to dance?" she wondered out loud. "I'd look silly dancing alone."

Willow and Tara waltzed by her, moving elegantly in time with the music.

"No you won't," said Willow.

"Sometimes you have to sit out a dance or two until the music is right," Tara added before she and Willow were swept away by the crowd.

Now Xander and Anya came by her, this time doing the tango. "Listen to the music," he told her.

"When you hear the right melody, you'll know," said Anya. The two tangoed off, laughing about their mismatched, yet oddly fitting movements.

"But I can't even hear the music," muttered Buffy to herself. She left the dance floor and went over to sit on one of the benches at the side. "How can you dance if you can't hear the music?" She slumped down and stared at the floor, depressed.

"You learn to listen."

Someone was standing in front of her. He reached down and took her hand, pulling her onto the dance floor. A waltz was playing in the background. One two three, one two three...

Buffy found herself moving effortlessly to the music. She and her partner glided along the floor, dancers making way for them like in the movies. As she relaxed and let herself flow with the music, she looked up to see who her partner was.

It was Spike. He was smiling, his eyes full of love and adoration. Buffy couldn't tear herself away from them as they waltzed. She smiled back, losing herself to the music and the beauty of the dance.

Then, as had happened towards the end of every sequence in this dream, Buffy became a little more awake, a little more part of this reality. As Spike spun her about, Buffy was filled with a sense of how very wrong it was.

"No!" She pulled herself away from him, stopping the dance. "I don't care if this is some inner revelation type of vision dream thing. If you're trying to tell me Spike's the guy for me, all I have to say is what have you been smoking? No!"

She ran for the door, as Spike called after her, "The dance has already begun, love. All the protests in the world can't stop it. But it's up to you to decide what the song will be!"

Buffy ignored him as she dashed through the door, down the path, through the woods, and over the bridge, back to the sunlit field where she belonged. This couldn't be right! She wasn't supposed to be destined for, shudder, Spike! This had to be a nonsense dream. Spike must have cast a spell to make it special. It couldn't be as real and powerful as it seemed.

She knelt on the grass in the meadow by the brook. This was all wrong. It had to be. Otherwise, she would be the wrong one. Buffy curled up on the sun warm grass and closed her eyes. It had to be.

Back in the cottage on the dance floor, Xander shook his head and spoke to his companions. "I told you it wouldn't work."

"She's too stubborn," added Anya in agreement.

"We have time left," argued Willow. "The dream isn't finished yet."

Tara spoke up, firmly, "Wait until the end of the dream to give up. She's come along way. She's danced with him. She just has a little farther to go."

The others nodded. There was time. They could fix this.