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I Don't Think We're in Sunnydale Anymore

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Buffy kicks at the yellow bricks and looks up at Willow, who has landed in front of them and interrupted their journey.

"You are aware Dorothy never actually worked with the Wicked Witch of the West in the story, right?"

"This Wicked Witch does what she wants," Willow says, rather tartly, and leans on her broom. Buffy guesses she's more unhappy about the nose than the green tan; it really doesn't suit her small face.

With a sigh, Buffy turns to her escort. Xander as the Scarecrow makes sense. He's never lacked courage - or heart for that matter - but he's always been open about not being very smart and the fact that he'd like to be? Not exactly a secret.

Giles as Glinda also works, in an odd sort of way. He is her quest-giver, and even though he won't stop plucking at the fluffy dress and has taken the crown off, he appears quite pleased with the starry wand that lets him cast protection spells around them.

Hell, even Tara as Toto the dog fits, since she usually follows Willow around like a puppy. She doesn't seem to mind it, either. They make an interesting image together, the green-skinned woman in full evil-witch regalia as she picks up the small, scruffy dog to cradle in her arms. Willow absently scratches behind Tara's ear while she stares down at Buffy's shoes.

"Aren't they supposed to be red?"

"They were originally silver," Giles the Good Witch says. "In the books, that is. They were changed to red for the movie because the producers felt rubies would look better on screen."

"Ah, gotcha."

"Unfortunately, this means we are in the world of the books, rather than the movie. There are significant differences, and no," he says before Buffy can speak up, "I'm afraid I do not remember them all."


The Tin Man being Anya is a bit of a stretch, but what with her always fretting about not being human enough, Buffy can sort of see it. She thinks she needs a heart to properly fit in. Buffy's not going to be the one to tell her that most of the time, all she really needs is a mouth-gag.

But Spike? Spike as the Cowardly Lion, complete with peroxide mane and tail, and who point blank refuses to talk about it? That one still has her stumped.

If he's the Cowardly Lion, then what is he afraid of?

Deep inside, Buffy has an idea what it might be, and she's afraid of it, too. It's in his eyes. Has been for a while now, and it's made her stop looking straight at him. She doesn't want to see.

Especially because when she does? All the horrible crimes he's committed, the attempts on her life, the awful things he's done to her friends seem to - not disappear completely, they could never do that - but matter less. A change big enough for her to maybe consider... No. She can't.

Yet, she still won't look into his eyes. In them are promises he can't possibly keep. Hopes for the future she knows will never come to pass. Glimpses of him, rising above.

Just like she once thought Angel would.

Thought Angel already had, to tell the truth. After he lost his soul in her, she kept believing he would return to being the man she'd known, somehow. Kept believing even the lack of a soul couldn't get in the way of their love. That he would overcome it.

It had taken her some time to come to terms with her disappointment. And in the end, soul forced back inside like a square peg into a round hole, he left. He walked out of her life, like they all did.

Buffy no longer believes in fairy tales, despite currently being right smack in the middle of one.

She shakes her head and turns back to the Wicked Witch Willow.

"Have you seen Ethan?"

"I figured he'd be the Wizard. You know, old man pulling all the strings behind his little curtain thing."

"Oh. Yeah, I suppose that makes sense."

"So, are we off to kill the Wizard or what?" Willow says and taps her foot.

"Yeah. Let's go. I have it on good authority this yellow brick road will take us to the Emerald City."

The End