I'll See You in My Dreams

Summary: Buffy gets help…in her dreams. Side story to 'Charmed Places'

Timeline: Season 6, just after the resurrection.

Pairing: Buffy/Doyle – friendship

Rating: PG maybe for mildly scary imagery

Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

A/N: Thanks to my betas for their help...BkwrmDancer, DawnDreamer, AshDawnSoulmates, ktweaver, and Chrislover.

As Buffy got ready for bed, she reviewed the past few hours…

Last thing she remembered before waking was this beautiful feeling of peace and…not happy 'cause that was too fleeting of an emotion. She was finally content. Her struggles were over; she no longer carried the fate of the world on her young shoulders. She was free.

Then just like that, she felt herself being torn away from that place. Immediately she wondered what she did wrong to be kicked out. Maybe only doing her duty, but not embracing it like Kendra, meant she wasn't worthy. Or was there something else she did or neglected to do?

Next thing she knew, she felt herself coming back to life, trapped in what her mind vaguely registered as a casket. Oh god! Her nightmare was coming true! She was buried alive! She started clawing at the fabric and then punching through the wood, only to find dirt raining down on her. She'd never make it to the surface in time! But desperately she dug her way up, hoping against all hope that she get there!

Her prayers were answered when she broke the surface and took a deep gulp of air, overriding the stale, rotting air from the coffin she had been in. She looked around, wanting some clue as to where she was. What hell dimension had she been sent to? Catching a glimpse of her headstone, she decided it was a particularly cruel one – for on it, there was the praise that she saved the world…a lot. If that was the case, why was she here and not enjoying her reward of heaven?

She staggered through the streets and alleys, confused at what she thought she was seeing. It kind of looked like Sunnydale, but not the Sunnydale she knew. Maybe this was the alternate world that vamp-Willow came from. That made sense. But her mind was so muddled that she couldn't keep that idea in focus.

She found the tower where she had jumped to save her sister. As she stood there, trying to make any sense of what was happening, she heard her. Dawn. Her innocent little Dawnie. What was she doing in this place?

She had to know so she asked, 'Is this hell?' Her sister reassured her it wasn't and got her off the collasping structure. Then she took her home and helped her get clean and cared for her injuries.

Now here she was, trying to keep her fear from overpowering her as she shut her eyes. But as soon as her eyes closed in slumber, the nightmare reset itself and she was back in that damned coffin.

Only now, this time before the panic could set in, she felt a light touch on her shoulder. Before she could look to see who it was, she was transported to a pier overlooking the ocean.

"Hey Blondie, how're you holding up?" The stupid question came from a voice that she knew from somewhere. But it was asked with sympathetic concern, as if the person knew the answer wasn't a good one. As her mind raced to figure out who this was, a young man with raven hair and sharp green eyes appeared alongside her.

"Doyle," her memory supplied. And correctly it seemed from the smile that lit his handsome face.

"That's me, lass. Surprised ya' remember me," he answered back. After all, they had only met the one time and with the memories altered, it was understandable if she didn't. And they didn't run into each other 'up there' so she wouldn't have seen him there.

"Of course, you were the one that helped Angel. I heard that you even tried to keep him from brooding so much," she smirked, nudging his shoulder with hers in jest.

"Aye, and what a full-time job that was!" he teased back.

She bit her lip in concentration before getting to the issue, "What are we doing here? Last I knew, you had died. Granted that doesn't necessarily mean anything anymore," she whispered in a pained voice.

"Ah lass, that is why I'm here. I'm sorry that this has happened to you. This fight should have been over for you. But there's nothing we can do about that now. What we have to do is get you ready for the future. It hurts now, but things will get better. I promise," he declared earnestly.

"Do you know what I did wrong to get kicked out?" she asked timidly.

He took her in his arms, soothing her as she began to cry. "Absolutely nothing, Blondie! This wasn't because of anything you did or didn't do! This was because your friends wanted you back."

"Why?" she cried. And why were they allowed to take her?

"Don't know, luv," he replied honestly, "but you need to focus on getting better. Not for them or for slaying, but for yourself. You have another chance for a future. Granted it's not one you wanted, but it's still there."

"So are you my new messenger because Whistler is afraid of me?" she questioned, remembering her threats the last time she saw the balance demon.

"Nah. Work for a different team now; they're like the Powers, but not exactly the same," he explained, hoping she wouldn't ask too many questions.

"So how long are you here for?"

"As long as you need me, lass. Just look for me when you dream and I'll be here," he promised with another comforting squeeze.

They looked out over the water, lapsing into an easy silence. Every once in a while, they'd say something to the other, but they were okay with the quiet as well.

A/N: I liked the idea of showing at least one of the conversations that they shared. And I admit, I can't remember his speech patterns that well, so I had to estimate.