Buffy wakes herself up gasping, panic racing through her veins for reasons she doesn't immediately understand.
And then she gets it. There are hands on her neck, each one squeezing with inhuman strength, and even in the dark bedroom, she can see the edges of her vision going black.
She can see something else, too. There is a face hovering only a few inches above hers, and in her panic, she can't recognize it at first. Then it clicks, and she realizes just who she's looking at.
Angelus, she tries to choke out, but her throat can barely make a rattling sound as her fingers scrape ineffectually at Angelus' hands. He holds her fast, and just as she reaches for his eyes--surely he won't hang on even when she's blinding him--she can feel the strength seeping from her muscles, and then everything goes just as black as it had been before she woke.
Buffy wakes to the feeling of a slightly cold body lying in the bed beside her own, and she feels heavy. She can't shake her dizziness as she tries to sit up, and her throat feels weird. She can't remember why.
(Did she dream about Angel? She's so dizzy. She feels like maybe she dreamed about Angel?)
She looks over at the person in the bed beside her. Her vision is blurry and as unfocused as her thoughts, but she figures out who it is as he stirs. Angel's eyes open, and the memory floods back.
Angelus, she thinks, it was Angelus… and he killed her.
Maybe she was in heaven. Maybe the man beside her is Angel's soul. Maybe the horrible mistake she made on her birthday sent Angel's soul to heaven, and now she's there, too.
The man beside her, after all, can't be Angelus. This man's eyes are too warm, too affectionate as he sits up in the bed and leans forward. "Are you okay, Buffy?" he asks, and her heart flutters.
"I think I'm dead," she whispers, and her voice sounds wrong. It does sound like she's been strangled, though it barely even hurts. "Are we in heaven?"
Buffy scratches absently at her arm. "No," says Angel, looking concerned. "Of course not. Why would you think that?"
"Maybe I was dreaming…?" She trails off, confused. "Are you sure?"
"I'm sure," he says, and he sounds so honest that she can't help believing him. (And she's still so dizzy. Why is she so dizzy?) "What did you dream?"
"You were evil. So, so evil. I… removed your soul. On accident. And… and you killed me."
It feels like there is something wet and warm beneath her fingernails.
"My soul? How did you remove it?"
Buffy blushes, horrified by the prospect of explaining herself. "Um. You know. What we did."
Oh god, she thinks. Did I dream that, too?
"Last night, you mean?"
She welcomes the rush of relief at that. The whole thing was the world's longest, most horrible post-coital dream. Maybe some kind of mystical Slayer thing?
(Please don't let it be prophetic. I can't take it.)
She smiles softly, leaning back against her pillow. "I guess so. What a weird dream."
Her eyes flutter shut again--she just feels so heavy--and then they peek open once again.
She looks around the room.
She had sex with Angel in his apartment. This is her bedroom.
There are bloodstains on her blanket where her fingers had been resting.
Her question is swallowed by a scream that makes her throat burn as Angelus' face turns demonic, and his smirking lips descend upon her neck.
Buffy wakes beneath the dirt.