TITLE: Bye Bye Bye
SPOILERS: Current to Season 4
DISCLAIMER: All BtVS and AtS characters, concepts, etc. are copyright FOX, The WB, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, and Kuzui Entertainment. This work is not-for-profit fanfiction, and no infringement is intended.
SYNOPSIS: Badfic Ahead! Buffy has a really bad dream.
DEDICATION/BLAME: To my cheerleaders, Tink, sen, and Chelle; to Sara, for straddling the fence so well; to zero, for no other reason than I miss her; to my Mini-Me, Dare, for constant support; to Lynn, Tara, saff, and everyone else in chat for listening to me rant on various topics; to my inspiration, Harpy and Margot Le Faye; and as always, to my Evil Twin, who reminds me that I don't suffer from insanity -- I enjoy every minute of it.
AUTHOR'S NOTES AND COMMENTARY AT THE END OF THE STORY.
"Buffy, a bit of bad news. The world is going to end in a half-hour unless you stop it." Giles approached his Slayer with a book in hand and a frown on his face. "It seems there is a cult of --"
"Oh Giles, I'm sorry, but I can't stay. Riley has a hangnail, and I'd hate for him to be in pain by himself." Buffy's face was the very picture of girlfriendly compassion.
Giles snapped the book shut and whipped off his glasses. "Buffy, it's the *end* *of* *the* *world*."
"Riley has a HANGNAIL. It could get infected. He could lose an arm. He could *die*!"
"We're ALL going to die unless you stop the apocalypse."
"Oh, don't be Mr. Cranky Pants. The world ends all the time. I'll stop it next time, 'kay? Bye!" She blew him an air kiss and ran out the door.
"Tara dumped me, Buffy. For Amy!" Willow's face was red and puffy from crying.
Buffy was confused. "Isn't she a rat?"
"I de-ratted her two months ago. Where have you been?"
"Oh. I, uh, I guess I just didn't notice. But I have to go, Will. I have to practice with the guys." She tied the kerchief around her head, and grabbed her bag.
"But-but Buffy, you're my best friend! You're supposed to comfort me and stuff!" Willow protested, reaching out for her.
"I love you, but I have to go. Practice makes perfect, and the Initiative has so much it can teach me! Besides, I can be with Riley."
"Drool over Riley, you mean," Willow muttered under her breath.
Buffy whirled around. "Huh?"
"I'll be back. With ice cream and a tape of 'my man done me wrong' songs," she chirped.
"I'm a lesbian, Buffy."
Buffy's cheerful plan was foiled at Willow's announcement. "A-a-a lesbian? Wait, I thought your grandparents were from eastern Europe."
"A LESBIAN, Buffy, not Lebanese."
"Oh. OH. So you and Tara were...you know?"
Willow dug the heels of her hands into her eyes. "Yes. We were 'you knowing' quite frequently."
"How come you didn't tell me? Why do I always miss these things?"
Willow just shook her head.
As she ran up to the door of the house that was the secret headquarters for the Initiative, Buffy fumbled in her pocket for her ID card. She was running behind, and she hoped she hadn't missed much of the practice session.
She swiped in, the mirror in the hallway slid aside to reveal a room, and she stepped inside. Riley, Forrest, and Graham were dressed in fatigues, dancing in front of a mirror the length of the room. Music poured from a radio in the corner.
"...But it ain't no lie baby bye bye bye/
I'm givin' up I know for sure/
I don't wanna be the reason for your love no more/
I'm checkin' out I'm signin' off/
I don't wanna be the loser/
And I've had enough/
I don't wanna be your fool /
In this game for two/
So I'm leavin' you behind/
Bye Bye Bye"
In awe, Buffy watched them finish their dance routine with a triumphant leap. "You guys are sooooooo cool!!!!"
Forrest wiped the sweat off his forehead. "We're going to be the next big boy band, I just know it!"
"Once we get out of the Army," Graham added.
"I didn't think you were going to make it, Buffy," Riley said, coming over to her and taking her by the arm.
"I know, but I didn't know what I should wear. Do you like me in this outfit? Because if you don't, I could change. It would be no bother. Should I change? I should change." Buffy said, fidgeting nervously.
"No, you're beautiful just the way you are," he murmured softly as his head descended, his lips pursed and ready for hers...
"Buffy! Buffy, wake up. Wake up!"
Buffy's eyes snapped open at the sound of the intimately familiar voice. Angel was leaning over her, concern etched across his face.
"Are you okay? You were screaming like Hell itself had erupted."
Her eyes filled up with tears, and she reached out to tentatively touch his face. "Are you real?" After the horror of her dream, she almost couldn't believe that he was there, lying beside her so calmly.
He grinned slyly at her. "The last time I checked, yeah."
"And you're here. With me."
His brow furrowed. "Of course I'm here with you. Where else would I be?"
"You aren't in LA."
"Not at the moment, no. Because I'm here. Are you sure you're all right?" He brushed away a tear that had managed to escape.
"I'm not sure. I...I had the worst dream, Angel." She crawled into his welcoming arms, letting the safety of his presence wash over her. She nuzzled into his neck, inhaling his scent.
He kissed her forehead softly. "About?"
"I don't even know how to explain it...Do you know who N'Sync is...?"
Here's to wishing that ALL of Season Four could be dismissed as a bad dream...
Not every person likes every character. It's okay to dislike a character. Furthermore, it's okay for me to feel that Riley Finn is a blight on the face of what was formerly an excellent television show, and I don't feel as though I should apologize for that, no more than someone should have to apologize for liking him.
People may be tired of Riley bashing, but there are other people that are equally as tired of having him shoved down our throats. I don't want to watch 'The Adventures of Riley Finn, Savior of All', which is why I rarely watch the show any more. People claim that Riley is an example of Buffy's maturation from child to woman. If that's the case, give me the 'child' back. I respected the 'child', who got dealt a shit hand from life, but played it the best way she knew how. The shallow, insensitive, mindless creature she has become is an affront to the person she was before.