Sometimes in her dreams Buffy is flying.
Last night, she dived off a tower and flew. The air crackled beneath her and she felt herself soaring up and away; her body had taken on a life of its own.
It didn't happen like this, but this is what she dreams – of a heaven feather-soft like a bed, like the warm skin of her mother's cheek, a heaven that says, Rest now, my child. It was more than this. She forgets a little more each day.
She wakes up before the alarm clock goes off, and she's sad the dream is over. She used to be sad for different reasons, but things are changing. Heaven feels like a comfortable old sweater draped over her shoulders; it's showing its wear.
That's all right. Someday, she'll get a new one.
Tonight, she dives off the tower again. A little repetitive, but hey, that's dreams for you. The air crackles beneath her and she feels herself soaring up and away; her body has taken on a life of its own.
But Heaven doesn't come. She looks down, far below, sees her friends gathered around her. Has she always been so small? Or has she shrunk now that she's broken?
Then the world rolls her up like a yo-yo, snaps her back into that body.
She jerks awake with a gasp. No, not awake – she's still dreaming – but back to life. Spike collapses, Dawnie runs to her, but it's Willow who takes her hand. Black-eyed Willow, who says, "I brought you back to life."
There's something wrong, she can tell. She looks around. Tara is missing.
"Aren't you grateful?" this Willow asks.
She jerks awake with a gasp.
In the morning, she's uneasy. No work today, but she doesn't linger in bed. Dawnie's in summer school, and goes off to school without a fuss. The kitchen's a mess, the laundry needs doing, surely there's enough to keep her busy.
At noon, she calls Giles in England. It's not too late there.
"Willow's making very good progress," he tells her. "It's good to hear from you. I was getting a bit worried." A pause – probably glasses-polishing. "Are you and Dawn all right? If you need anything–"
"We're peachy," she says. She can hear her voice echoing in the line; it sounds strange and tinny. "I've been having some dreams, though. Not Slayer dreams."
"Do you want to tell me about them?"
How warm her heart is, for this Giles, who's finally come back to her even though he's so far away. "No, but..." She twines the telephone cord around her finger. "I just wanted to, I don't know. I don't even know her any more, Giles. I thought I did."
"You do," he says. "You do. She's still Willow. Even in all of this."
"I miss her."
Giles is quiet for a moment. "She misses you, too."
The house seems so quiet when she gets off the phone.
Sometimes in her dreams Buffy flies.
"Don't worry," Willow says tonight. They're so high above the ground; she's wrapped her arms around Willow's neck and is holding on with all her might. "I won't let you fall."
That's not what she's worried about, though. She looks down, far below, at the houses beneath them, lit by the waxing moon. Where are they? Where's the tower? She realizes, after a minute, that it isn't that dream, although she's wearing the same clothes. Willow's dressed up, like she was when– and there's no Tara here, either.
"Tara found the blue sweater," Willow shouts into the wind. "It was hiding behind the couch the whole time."
That sounds like a reference she should get, but everything's all wrong here, and she's afraid. The clouds part for them as she asks, "Where are we going?"
Willow never looks back, just says, "We'll know when we get there."
Buffy closes her eyes and pulls herself closer to Willow, buries her nose in Willow's hair. After a while, flight feels natural, as if they were made to move through the air, through the clouds and cool mist that surround them. She wonders what imprint their bodies will leave on the night sky.