Lying In The Garden Sleeping
Summary: During Normal Again, Buffy choose to stay in the alternate universe, but there are somethings you can’t run away from.
"Buffy… Buffy, what have you done?" In the quiet voice, the one that tore at her heart, the redhead pleaded. Willow… Willow was her name, but how Buffy had known that she couldn’t fathom. Blood pooled around them, dripping from Buffy’s own two hands, like some sort of twisted stigmata. It covered everything. Everything she touched, everything around her, it was all painted with the pain of her two hands.
"Oh my god. Buffy, help me!" Another voice, this one male, came from the other side of the basement Buffy was standing in. She looked over her shoulder, but moved too fast that the vertigo swam through mind and a wave of nausea hit her hard. There was nothing she could do; it was out of her hands. Her hands... still bloodied. Always the blood, it never stopped flowing.
"I need you and love you…" A much younger voice called from somewhere else, but Buffy had no time to search for the speaker, as the blood had started to fill the basement quicker. It was up to her mouth, filling up her nose. A last silent murmur was heard just before the red liquid flooded her ears, "Somewhere inside you must know that's real."
Drowning... she was drowning. Someone please, she silently screamed, please help me! Although she knew no help would come, because this was her own doing, her own fault, and it didn’t matter anyway because the light was already fading away. And so was she. Buffy tried to speak, tried to say that she was sorry, but the only sound that was heard was a feeble gurgling as blood filled up her lungs.
Abruptly, the alarm clock sounded like a mack truck ramming itself into Buffy’s ears. Still haunted by the images of the nightmare, she jumped from the bed. Only after she had crashed onto the floor did she realize that she wasn’t dead, but instead safe in her apartment bedroom. Blankets and pillows cluttered the floor that she had fallen on to, as a slender hand reached up to shut off the alarm.
Wrapping a black silk robe carelessly around her shoulders, Buffy rambled on towards the adjoining bathroom. It had only been a dream, she tried to reassure herself. But it was that same dream, the one that had haunted her since leaving the Los Angeles Mental Institution. Those people, those voices… they seemed so familiar, but that part of her life had ended so long ago that memory had slowly erased any connection she had with them.
Buffy grimaced at herself in the bathroom mirror; she looked horrible. Straggly pieces of her hair stood up everywhere, dark circles had formed under her eyes during the night, and without her makeup on she looked positively dead. No doubt she had lost a good quantity of quality rem sleep because of that nightmare.
As she thought back to it, she tried to piece together what she could remember from that other life. No names, no places, no feelings, just random voices… whispers on the wind, growing fainter each day. Doubting herself again, she frowned inwardly, what would her parents think if they knew she was trying to remember something that wasn’t even real.
It was never real.
God, how many different people in her life had tried to reassure her of that? It had been such a struggle, these past few years, just to let it go and to start living again. Her parents had only let her move out on her own a few months ago, after she promised them she would take her medicine everyday, and not get in trouble, and never ever think about the world she’d left behind.
It had been an easy enough promise… until the nightmares started. Still, they only came sporadically, and there was no reason to worry her parents about something so silly as a few bed dreams.
Opening the medicine cabinet, Buffy took out the orange pill bottle of Thorazine, filled a glass of water and swallowed two down. After a moment she looked back at herself in the mirror solemnly as if she could see the illness that had taken over her life so many years ago, "You’re not going to take this away from me, not again. I’m happy here… I’m happy." This was one battle she was determined not to lose.
Later that day, Buffy sat in a small café in downtown Los Angeles, a few blocks away from her apartment. It was a quaint bookstore type place her and Macy frequently met after work. Today was no different, the blond mused as she sipped on a latte, Macy was late, probably stopped to chat up some cute guy or argue with a co-worker. Of the two of them, Macy was the one who was always getting into trouble. Buffy had had her share of trouble for a lifetime, and only wanted the rest of her days to be stress-free and hassle-free.
"Hey, Buffy, hope you didn’t think I wasn’t coming," Macy called as she entered the bookstore. In her hand she carried a few bags of clothes, "I saw the cutest outfit in this shop down on Market Street… and well, you know me when I go shopping."
"Did you blow your father’s credit card again?" Buffy grinned.
"Um... not too much, a few hundred... that’s not bad is it?"
"Someday you’re going to have to stop relying on daddy, you know," the blond pushed a piece of short hair away from her face. She teased her younger friend, "Get a job like the rest of us."
"Not yet I hope," Macy shot her back a grin. "Anyway, I was wondering, today being Friday and all, our usual girl’s night, how about we go to that new club down on Hawkins?"
"You met a guy didn’t you?" Recognizing the emotion that had crossed Macy’s face, Buffy queried.
"And he asked me to go with him to the opening." Macy nodded, knowing she had been caught breaking one of the sacred oaths the two friends had made a few years ago, to not cancel already made plans for a guy. "I figured you could come with us, a double date or something?"
"And who would I bring?" Buffy pouted inwardly. She hadn’t had the best track record with guys lately. The last one had found out about her past delusions and had stopped calling, after that she had found it hard to open up to anyone else.
"You could come by yourself, then. Maybe you’ll meet someone at the club, you know it’s going to be pretty exclusive, since it’s the first night." Pleading, Macy frowned slightly. "Please? For me?"
With a sigh, Buffy nodded, "Okay, but I’m retaining all right to leave after an hour."
"Agreed. One hour. You’ll come, you’ll party, you’ll have fun. I promise."
Somehow Buffy doubted that the night would bring anything good, but what else was she going to do if she didn’t take her friend up on this offer? Sitting home alone, watching television and pigging out on Ben and Jerry’s didn’t sound much more appealing to her. Tonight she didn’t want to be alone; she needed to be around people, real people.
Standing in front of the full-length antique mirror that stood in the corner of her bedroom, Buffy held up a flowery green dress that was still on its hanger. It brought out the color of her eyes. Then, trying a different look, she held up a tight red dress to her body. It looked much better than the other one, but she was worried it would be a little too low cut for the club, might attract the wrong kind of guy.
On the phone, her mother was talking about the latest golf game her father had won or some other silly banter. Buffy reprimanded herself for not listening to whatever was being said, but her mind was elsewhere. Balancing the phone between her ear and her shoulder, she mumbled a few ‘yes’s to make her mother think she was paying attention.
"Where are you going tonight, dear?" Her mother asked on the other side of the phone.
"You weren’t listening were you?"
"I’m sorry, mom. I’m just…" Buffy held up the green dress one last time, "I’m trying to decide what to wear tonight, or if I even want to go out." She walked into the living room and flopped on the black couch. "Macy met this guy, and we’re supposed to double date, only I don’t have a date…"
"Why don’t you invite that nice guy from marketing?"
"Mom, that nice guy from marketing is gay," Buffy silently shook her head, her mother was always going on about available guys.
"Mom, really, thanks for the advice but…" She sighed. "I’m just not into guys at the moment."
"You’re not going gay too, are you?"
"What?! No, geez, mom, just because I’m not interested in guys at the moment doesn’t mean that I might someday meet someone I can be interested in."
"Wait a minute.." Buffy realized reverse psychology was being played on her.
Unrelenting, Buffy’s mom continued, "Someday you might meet someone you can be interested in, and maybe that someday is tonight. You can’t find love if you never try."
"Gee, thanks for the pep talk…" The blond slumped into the couch. Not that she didn’t appreciate her mother’s help, but after everything she had gone through she didn’t feel up to the challenge, and had pretty much given up on this nonsense idea of love.
"Please go have some fun tonight, you sound like you can use it."
After a sigh, Buffy nodded, "Okay, I will… but only because Macy is going to be here in a half hour and I can’t cancel."
"That’s the spirit," her mother chuckled at Buffy’s half attempt to agree, her daughter was always the obstinate one. "And wear the red dress, it always looks nice on you."
Without even bothering to wonder how her mother knew of her clothing dilemma Buffy smiled, "Talk to you tomorrow, Mom."
It took a little more than half an hour for Macy and her new boy to show up at Buffy’s door, which actually turned out to be a good thing since she was procrastinating so much on getting ready that she was late as well.
Though, when her friend did show up Buffy looked amazing. Her hair was swept up in a French twist with tiny strands falling along the side of her face, and she had found the perfect shade of lipstick to match her dress, and her favorite red strappy high heels completed the outfit.
"Wow, Buffy, loving the dress. It really works for you," Macy smiled, as she entered the apartment, "This is Alex."
"A pleasure," Alex gracefully shook Buffy’s hand. From the look of it, this new guy of Macy’s had a lot of money, which was probably why her friend had chosen to consent to this date.
"Likewise," Buffy nodded, trying to be polite.
"Oh, guess what, Buffy?" A little hyper from the night, Macy asked, "Alex got a limo for the night. We took a long-cut to your house because we were having so much fun in the limo..."
Buffy grinned and let out a little laugh.
"Oh, did that come out wrong?" Macy blushingly joined in the laughing.
"Well, what are we waiting for, let the night begin, let’s go." Macy wrapped an arm around Alex, with her other hand she took Buffy’s wrist, leading them to the door.
Arriving at the club was exciting, and for a moment Buffy forgot her troubles in the bustle of the crowd. The place was huge, and very exclusive, but then again this was Los Angeles and most clubs were exclusive the first month in operation, and then it would slowly die down when the public got wind of the new spot, and then the trend would move to the next newest club.
They were sitting at a high table, on the left side of the huge ballroom. After enjoying a drink, Macy was ready to go party, "Me and Alex are gonna go dance, are you going to be okay?"
Buffy looked up from the drink that she wasn’t drinking, just stirring it lazily like she had been for the past hour, "Yeah, I’ll be fine. Go. Have fun." She watched as her friend disappeared with her boytoy. Why couldn’t she be like them? So happy, so in love. With a sigh her gaze wandered past the crowd, traveling over to the pool table. It almost reminded her of a place she had been before, some place from the past, but she had only started going to clubs a year ago when she moved out on her own. Her parents had always worried about her before.
Everyone always worried about her, poor delusional Buffy. No, not delusional, not anymore. It wasn’t going to get to her again. She had promised herself.
Then out of the corner of her eye she saw someone familiar, turning her gaze to him she still couldn’t place him. Her eyes traveled up his black duster, black jeans, lean stomach, black shirt, pale skin, and those eyes. The bluest eyes she had ever seen in her life. He met her stare, and in that moment they connected and everything came flooding back to Buffy.
"No, no," she stumbled off the bar chair she was sitting on. A few people turned to stare at her fumbled movements. Buffy breathed, "Oh god."
He was coming toward her, this guy. She knew him, she knew him move than she cared to admit. It wasn’t happening, not here, not again. Spike. No, no, she inwardly cried before rushing toward the back exit.
Racing out the door and into the darkened ally, she let a few tears fall down her face. It wasn’t going to happen again. Looking up to the night sky she cried, "He’s not real, he’s not real."
"Buffy?" A too familiar voice cracked behind her.
"No. No!" The blond didn’t even dare to turn around as the tears fell in steady downpours. "You’re not here, you’re not. Please just… please just go away. I can’t—I can’t—"
Spike walked over to her, standing in front of her; cautiously he put a hand under her chin. He didn’t know what else to say except, "I found you." His voice was as emotional as hers.
"Spike?" Buffy dared to speak after a moment; her cheeks were black with dripping mascara, "Oh, god, no. Why are you here? You can’t be here." Suddenly she found her strength again and started to hit him on the chest, "You can’t be here... you can’t. I’m better."
He tried as best he could to calm her down throughout her outburst.
"You can’t be here! You’ll just wreck everything." Finally she just collapsed into his arms, not having any more strength to fight. She whimpered, "You’re gonna wreck everything."
"Seems that’s what I do best, luv." The vampire looked down at her.
"Why are you here?" Buffy asked after a moment, still slightly upset.
"I’m here ta take you back home. Back to Sunnydale."
Backing away from him, into the darkened ally, she bit her lip, "That’s not my home, Spike. Not anymore."
"I’m not going back there!" She started to run away, but the heel of her shoe broke as she tripped on a rather large crack in the sidewalk. Her hair fell out of its French twist as she picked herself back up. Wondering what else would go wrong tonight, Buffy ran a hand through her tousled hair.
"Can we just talk? Maybe go back to your place?" Spike stood behind her, watching from a distance, trying not to frighten her away.
"Fine, fine!" Irritated, Buffy held her shoes in one hand and held her other in a fist at her side. "Whatever, if the delusion wants to follow me home whynot, right? I mean, it would just be the icing to this wonderful night I seem to be having!" She started off in the direction of her apartment, waiting for Spike to follow this time.
For a moment he stood transfixed on her ass as it bounced when she walked, "You’re cute when you’re angry."
As she turned back to make a face at him, she felt a few raindrops starting to fall. Buffy stared up at the sky, "Great, just great."
While she continued walking, Spike just chuckled to himself and followed.