When You're Dreaming

After twenty one years in Sunnydale, you'd think I'd be used to it. You'd think I'd remember from one night to the next, so that I didn't keep waking up in the middle of the night and think it was strange. Nothing in my life isn't strange -- so why would the fact that my brain knows there's something weird going on wake me up at one or two in the morning? How could my subconsciousness even have a clue what not-strange is like?

Maybe it's from watching too much television. My brain thinks that sitcom familys are normal, and if they aren't troubled by demons, then neither should I. But I am -- have been all my life, only sometimes the demons have been nice ones. Anya was a nice one, but still a demon. Well, ex-demon. Twice over.

When she woke me up at 2 a.m. it was usually a good thing. The only time it wasn't good was when she was waking me up because Buffy had called and the Scooby signal was on.

Why didn't we ever have a Scooby signal, like the Batsignal? Other than telling everyone in town about us and warning the bad guys that we were on the case -- ok, nevermind.

Here I am thinking about Scooby signals so I don't think about the fact I still have demons waking me up at night. Sometimes it's still because Buffy calls.

Lately, and most un not-strangely, it's been him. He doesn't sleep at night -- go figure. But he doesn't stay out until dawn either, like I thought he would. Maybe there just isn't enough to do in Sunnydale for a vampire who can't kill people. Maybe... well, I don't like to think the other thing. That's the nice thing about hours like 2 a.m. It's easy not to think about stuff, and when it's actual morning it's almost like it never happened.

I can't tell if he does the same thing, telling himself it isn't real, or if he just doesn't care. He walks out of his room as soon as the sun's down and if I'm there, he grunts and almost waves, but not quite -- like he's waving just enough to let me know he doesn't care enough to wave goodbye. If Buffy is over, he kinda stops and looks at her and it's so damn eerie to see that look on his face. I wonder if Buffy can see it. Probably. She was pretty good at pretending not to see it on my face in high school, but Spike's different.

Other than the obvious, I don't know why. What makes it OK for him to look at her like that, and not me. Maybe because she can tell herself that any looking he does is never going to hurt her. Or maybe because it does hurt her, she can't pretend not to see it.

This is why I don't have a romance column in the paper. I don't have a clue. Sometimes, right before 2 a.m., I tell myself that it's because I was too normal. No challenge, no mystery. In high school it's all about the unattainable. See item one: me, and Cordelia. I got the princess and she got the stableboy. But Buffy was after tall, dark, and mystery. I don't think Spike is mystery. I think -- and I wouldn't tell either of them this -- that she was after Spike because it was safe. Dangerous enough to matter, but, ultimately, the safest thing she could do. There was never any question what Spike would do.

Until he disappeared and came back with a soul. That one still confuses me.

But he says he did it for her, so maybe it makes sense. Only, when he did it he was evil, so maybe it doesn't.

These are the things I think about at 1 a.m. Sleep for an hour, if I even get home by then, and then I'm here, in my bed with no demons in it, and I think about things like Buffy and Spike and what the hell happened to my life. Sometimes I think about Willow...but with her home it feels unnecessary. When she was in England I thought about her a lot. Wondered. Now I know, and I'm afraid to think too much about her because what if--

When it's almost two in the morning I start listening. Sometimes I don't hear anything. Usually I don't hear anything at all until the door's open and there's a dip at the foot of the bed. Then I just wait. Usually it's nothing that makes sense. Just like my cousin Mikey, when he was five and staying at our house for Christmas. He'd fall asleep on the couch where he belonged, but his dreams or maybe his parents, in the third bedroom, would wake him up and he'd end up in my room. He'd say things I never could figure out. Actually, I'm not so sure he woke up. Just came and climbed into my bed saying something about frogs or sundials or the pizzaman was gonna get him. He'd fall asleep holding onto Mr. Wiffle, and in the morning I'd take him into the bathroom and get him to brushing his teeth so when his mom found him she'd think he'd been downstairs all along.

Spike's never been afraid of the frogs of sundials. But he sounds so much like Mikey that I kinda wish I still had Mr. Wiffle. But Spike doesn't seem to notice. He latches onto me and falls asleep and doesn't even move when I get up in morning.