|Primary Characters:||Pretty much everyone|
|Warning:||some m/m kissing|
|Description:||Buffy has a birthday party. A good time is had by all her guests, but everyone eats too much and that has consequences.|
“Guys, it’s been fun. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a cooler party, Buffy. Thanks. Cordy and I had a great time. But -“Here Xander was interrupted by a not so delicate yawn. His eyes looked more than slightly sleepy, and he almost forgot to finish the sentence, but knowing he could hardly ask to spend the night at the Summers house, he forced himself to concentrate.
“I need my beauty sleep. What? Cordy? Did that peanut go down the wrong way?”
Cordelia squashed her laughter with an effort. She loved Xander, or whatever it was she did, but beauty? That word somehow didn’t seem to apply to her boyfriend to any greater extent. And yet – suddenly a little sentimental after all the soft drinks, cake and – no, Cordelia refused to consider what all those calories would have done to her body – something about Xander was endearing. So she smiled affectionately at her boyfriend and said nothing.
“So are you coming or what? You do want me to escort you home?”
There was an odd sound from the other end of the room. The blond vampire who had had a change of heart, or rather of soul, giggled helplessly. Everyone turned to stare at Spike, or Will as he now chose to be called.
“What’s so funny, Will?”
Angel, who had been absorbed in the study of Jenny’s dark eyes looked at his childe with something like disapproval.
“Yeah, go on, Xander, escort away. And while you do that, me and Jen and Angel will escort you. As if you could protect your – uh – lady yourself.”
“Excuse me for being a little younger and weaker than you are, Will.”
“You are absolutely right, my friend. My behavior was out of line, and I apologize.”
Xander stared suspiciously at Will. Was the vampire serious or was this another joke at his expense? And it seemed his suspicions were justified. Now Will was giggling so hard he almost fell off his chair. Xander had never known that alcohol could affect a person long dead, but now he had the proof right in front of his own eyes. But he was too tired to really care. He knew that the new Spike might be tiresome and irritatingly handsome, just like Angel, but he was a good guy deep down. So he let the matter go.
“Let’s go, Cordy. When Will here has finished laughing, I’m sure he’ll be ahead of us down the street. If he can move that fast with all this drink in him.”
Angel decided it was time to go. His childe was behaving intolerably rudely tonight. If he didn’t get his both his children out of Buffy’s house right away, he would be humiliated in front of his mortal friends. And Will was unpredictable even when sober. If Willow or Buffy, and worst of all, Xander were to find out about him and Will – It didn’t bear thinking about. You’d think that more than 200 years of existence would have cured any embarrassment a man might feel about his less than prudent actions. That was unfortunately not true.
“We’ll have to leave too. You look really sleepy, Buffy, and so do you, Willow. See you tomorrow night. Jenny and I’ll just bring Will and we’ll let you go to bed.”
“Wait for me. Oz? Angel is right, I’m really sleepy.”
“Of course, Willow. Let’s go. Thanks for the party, Buffy. Willow and I had a fantastic time.”
“You’re welcome, Oz. Thanks for coming. See you all in school tomorrow.”
To his alarm, Angel saw Will heading into the kitchen. If his guess was correct, this spelled trouble for Buffy. His keen vampire’s hearing detected the slight sound of dishes clattering together. Mrs Summers would be in the kitchen. She was far from the person Angel most wanted to meet face to face. He knew Buffy had explained, now that her mother knew about the Hellmouth and all the vampire activity, about how he hadn’t been responsible for what he had said and done as Angelus.But he also knew that Buffy’s mother now knew about their relationship. And that was something that had happened when he was himself, so he was fully responsible for those actions. Whatever his own feelings, he had to do something quickly, before Will seriously embarrassed the Slayer. Too late. Will was already in the kitchen, and Angel could hear him starting up a conversation with mrs Summers.
“Hello, hello. Remember me? The – rock singer.”
“Yes, the drug addict and rock singer who really is a vampire, am I right so far?”
“Well, love, it depends on what part of your astute observation you are referring to. As far as the first two, I must regretfully tell you no – though I would make rather a splendid rock star, wouldn’t I? – but as for the last, well… Guilty as charged. I do hope your daughter has informed you about my new life. My turning over a new leaf as it were.”
Mrs Summers sighed. Yes, Buffy had filled her in on all the new developments since the upheaval had begun. Her daughter’s computer teacher dead and come back to life again. The librarian a Walker, no Watcher, wasn’t it? And that college ex-boyfriend of Buffy’s really a vampire too. But like living on a fault-fissure ceased to worry you when you’d lived all your life in California, living on the Hellmouth eventually became commonplace too.
“Yes. Will, isn’t it? I know about all of that. Congratulations.”
“No hard feelings then, Joyce?”
She was startled at the young man’s use of her first name. No, he wasn’t young at all. He must be hundreds of years old. And looking into those exquisite eyes, that hardly came as a surprise.
“About trying to kill my daughter? Oh, plenty. But that wasn’t really you, was it?”
“No, pet, it wasn’t. Still – I’d hate to think of you harboring any grudges against yours truly.”
“Don’t worry about it, Will. What was it you wanted to see me about?”
Will appeared to have forgotten the reason for his entering mrs Summers’ kitchen in the first place. The effort of remembering was making him frown slightly. Then his face lit up.
“I have come to bid you farewell, fair lady. Thank you for allowing our presence in your home. My protection is yours for eternity. Well, for as long as you need it, love.”
“Thank you, Will – You are leaving?”
“Yes, mrs Summers, Will’s leaving now. Jenny and I will bring him with us. Sorry about this.”
Mrs Summers stared rather coldly at Angel, then her features softened. The man really was incredibly handsome. Could she blame her daughter for falling for him? If she was being honest to herself, Mrs Summers knew that she might easily have done so herself at Buffy’s age.
“Thank you, Angel. Don’t worry about it. I didn’t take offence. Did you have a nice time at the party”
“Yes, thank you, mrs Summers. It was very kind of you to have us in your home. Like Will said – ”
“Oh. I appreciate it. Goodnight. Or perhaps it is good morning to you?”
“Good night, mrs Summers.”
In the living room, Giles was saying goodbye to the young people, hoping they would all go so he could finally ask Buffy’s mother the question he had been agonizing over for months. Would she agree to go out with him? Or would she decide that his being her daughter’s librarian, or rather, since Buffy never opened a book, her Watcher, might make the relationship awkward?
“Bye, Oz. I promise I will look for cures for your – uh – condition. But I’m afraid you mustn’t get your hopes up too much.”
“I know. But I appreciate you trying anyway.”
Willow was happily watching her boyfriend talking to mr Giles. Oz was so cute, and he was the sweetest boy in the world. How could she ever have found Xander attractive? The way he was slouching against Cordelia almost made Willow lose all the ice cream she had eaten during the course of the evening. Now Giles pressed Oz’ shoulder reassuringly, and turned to Buffy to thank her for inviting him. The Watcher secretly wished Joyce had been the one to invite him instead, but that was hardly likely until he had had the courage to ask her out.Finally, the children seemed about to be leaving. If only – But Giles was interrupted by Angel.
“Sir, the vampire activity has been unusually intense lately. I’d feel a lot better if I knew you were safely inside your home before Jen and I leave you.”
Giles still felt a trace of resentment towards Angel. He knew he wasn’t being fair. Angelus killed Jenny, not Angel, but it still stung to see how much in love she now appeared to be in the person who for all intents and purposes had taken her life. But he liked Angel far too much for any real resentment.
“Yes, Angel, I know you’re right. I’m coming. I will just -”
He indicated the kitchen. Yes, naturally he too would have to pay his respect to the owner of the house, even if Buffy technically was the hostess of the party.
“Mrs Summers, I -”
“Mr Giles. How nice of you to come to Buffy’s party. What a shame we didn’t have time for a cup of coffee. Those kids and their music must be tiresome for a man of your generation. Personally, I know I can’t understand half of it.”
“Yes – I – Actually, there was something -”
But again he was interrupted.”Mr Giles, you have to come now. Will is up on the roof, singing Rule Britannia and if the neighbors notice this -”
“Thank you for having me, Mrs Summers. I hope to see you again soon. There was something I wished to discuss with you.”
But the calls from outside made it impossible for Giles to stay a second longer. Before long, the three good vampires were herding their human proteges down the street. Mrs Summers and Buffy made sure all the doors were locked, with both conventional locks, iron and garlic. Not to mention checking that all the crosses were still in place all around the house.
“Did you have a nice party, dear?”
“What? Oh, yes. It was fine. Thanks for letting me invite the vamps.”
“This is taking some getting used to. Vampires everywhere, even a few good ones. However that is possible.”
“But mom, I did explain to you, didn’t I, that Willow did some of that witchy stuff and – ”
“Yes, dear, you did. But it simply isn’t easy to believe in things like that. Oh, never mind. Are you going to bed now?”
“Sure. I’m feeling a bit weird. Must have had too much cake.”
“You never learn, do you? I remember on your fifth birthday -”
“Yeah, yeah, mom. Some other time, ok? I don’t want to hear about overeating right now.”
“Alright. Sleep well, dear.”
Upstairs, Buffy almost felt too tired to undress, but the thought of waking up in creased clothes made her drop her garments all over the floor. She was feeling a bit sick, but when she lay down it got a little better. After a few minutes she drifted off to sleep.Some noise must have wakened her. Her Slayer’s instincts always took over when there was something going on. And this was inside her own house. She was out of the bed and on the floor almost as fast as a vampire. The sounds seemed to be coming from her mom’s room.
Her breath almost caught in her throat. No one did anything to her mother. Not while the Slayer was still alive.As silently as a cat, she made her way through the corridor. The door didn’t creak a bit when she pushed it open. Her mother was lying on her bed, and – NO! It couldn’t be true. This was the worst thing ever to happen to her, including being chosen as the Slayer.Her mother’s hair was all tousled and her color was high. But worst of all was that she wasn’t in torment, she was enjoying herself. Buffy could see it in her eyes. The man beside her was – no – this couldn’t be happening – Spike. He appeared to have read her mind, because he looked up and shot her his characteristic smile.
“Hello, dear. Joyce, sweetie, look who dropped by. Your little girl. Did you have a bad dream, love?”
“Mom. What are you doing?”
“Isn’t it obvious, Buffy, dear?”
“Mom. I can’t believe I’m seeing this. You and Spike -”
“She isn’t very bright is she, darling? Must be taking after her dad. Such a shame. She’s almost as pretty as you, but her little brain is all scrambled up like an omelet. Must be all that slaying. Can’t be good for a child. Have you ever considered sending her to a military school?”
“Mm. That’s a thought. Buffy, dear, it’s rude to stare.”
“Cheer up, pet. The good news is you won’t have to call me dad. Just say Will, that’s fine with me. Would you like me to walk you back to your room, pumpkin? Make sure there are no monsters hiding under the bed.”
At this point Buffy had had quite enough. She might be the Slayer, but she was also a kid, and her mother was behaving horribly towards her. This had to be her worst nightmare. Nightmare. As if the thought woke her up, she was now wide awake. She was sitting up in her bed, screaming. This was all wrong. Now she would be waking her mom up and – mom. Almost as quickly as in the dream moments earlier, Buffy was on her feet and outside her room, in the passage on her way to her mom’s room. She didn’t bother knocking, and burst in breathlessly, half expecting to find the same nightmare vision. But she was wrong. Her mom was struggling to get out of bed, with a look of alarm on her face.
“Buffy, darling. What’s wrong? Any monsters attacking?”
For a second Buffy remembered Spike’s choice of words in her dream, but as she watched her mother, she was convinced her the words were unintentional. Finally, she could relax a little.
“No. Nothing’s wrong. I just had this dream – ”
“Yes? About what?”
“About you – and – I was worried.”
Of course she couldn’t tell mom what the dream had been about. Even the thought of it made Buffy blush.
“Well, as you can see, I’m alright. Would you like me to take you back to your room? We could talk for a while until you feel better.”
“Uh – No. That won’t be necessary. I’m really sorry I woke you up. Good night, mom.”
“Good night, Buffy. I think you might go easy on the cake in the future.”
“What? Oh, yes, I think so too.”
What a horrible nightmare. She would never tell anyone about it. Ever. Buffy could imagine how most of her friends would react to such a story. And if Will ever found out – Never. She repeated the word to herself a few times, before turning out the light on her bedside table. For the rest of the night she wasn’t troubled by any more dreams.
Willow, too, was in for a rough night. The red-headed girl was tossing and turning restlessly in her bed. When she heard the alarm clock go, she felt as if she had only just put her head on the pillow. She missed breakfast, but at least she had time for a long shower and an extra elaborate make-up. After all, she was meeting Oz. And because of that, she chose her short skirt, and the cardigan set, rather than the more comfortable pants.As she walked across the school yard she kept watching for him, but he didn’t seem to be there.
Slightly puzzled, Willow entered the school, and narrowly missed bumping into Principal Snyder. He was intent on his errand, so she was left alone for once, but it wasn’t a very good start to the day. She still couldn’t find Oz anywhere. When she asked Xander, he and Cordelia barely looked up. They were too busy sucking face right in the middle of the corridor. Did they really do that these days? Willow had thought they would at the very least sneak out into some broom closet or something like that.
But she didn’t stop to find out. Instead she decided to go to the library. Remembering Oz’ conversation with Giles the other night, she thought she might find her boyfriend searching through the books. In a way she was right. Oz was in the library, but he wasn’t searching for a cure for his condition, unless the remedy was a very farfetched one. Willow felt tears stinging her eyes and she had to blink to clear her vision. Not that she wanted to see what was going on between her boyfriend and the timid librarian. This simply couldn’t be happening.
Giles was calmly undressing Oz, and Oz was doing nothing to stop him. In fact, the adorable smile Willow had believed was solely reserved for her, was now beaming at the man whose hands were stripping him. Now Oz was naked to the waist, and Giles hands began their new exploration of him. Those hands that would normally be leafing though musty old volumes were now intimately fondling the skin of the boy who belonged to Willow. And Oz still didn’t seem to mind. He was quite happily removing Giles’ shirt. Now Giles pulled Oz’ face closer to his own, and their lips met –
But this was as much as Willow could bear. She screamed hysterically and ran out of the library. Her mind wasn’t functioning on its usual high level, and she was hardly aware of her surroundings. But finally it dawned on her that a loud penetrating sound was piercing her ears all the way into her scull.Crash. The alarm clock fell to the floor and the batteries dropped out. There. Finally some peace and quiet. She had to think. What was it she had seen only moments ago? But surely it had only been a dream. Here she was, in her pale blue pyjamas, sitting up in bed. The sun got in her eyes. It was morning and she had only just woken up.
What a dreadful nightmare. She couldn’t believe her subconscious had dreamed up such a situation. What psychological mechanisms could be at work in her mind for her to imagine such a thing? Willow shook her head decisively. This was something she needed to forget as soon as possible. After some breakfast and a quick shower, Willow felt ready to face the world again. Outside in the street, Oz’ car was waiting to pick her up, just like every morning. Her boyfriend was leaning over to open the door to her. And his smile was exactly the same as it always was. Willow relaxed a little and returned his smile. Oz really was the perfect boyfriend.
“You look tired, Willow. Didn’t you sleep well?”
“No. I think I had too much ice cream last night. Today I’m fasting. At least I think so. Maybe I’ll just have some soup.”
Oz nodded thoughtfully.
“Sounds good to me. We’ll have the soup today.
“Waiting by the stairs, while Oz parked the car, Willow was beginning to feel a bit more normal. So what if she was a little sleepy? She would be fine. There he was, her boyfriend. As always, she experienced a profound happiness whenever she laid eyes on Oz. And he smiled just as happily whenever he saw her. He held out his hand, and together they walked inside.
“Where are you going, Oz? I thought you had computer class today. With me. Just call me miss Rosenberg.”
“My pleasure, miss Rosenberg. I was just going by the library to speak to mr Giles. He had promised to -”
“Oh. Sorry. I just think we need some fresh air before school starts, don’t you?”
Oz stared inquiringly at Willow. He had no idea what that outburst was about. But as always, her will was his command and he smiled in consent.
“Ok. Cool. We’ll go outside again for a bit. I hope it makes you feel better. If you don’t, maybe you should go back to bed. I’ll cover for you if old Snyder -”
” ‘Old Snyder’? Mr Snyder to you, young man. And why would Rosenberg be going back to bed? Classes begin in exactly 10 minutes. Hardly enough time for any naps.”
“No, sir. Sorry. I’m not feeling very well, it’s that time of the month.”
Willow didn’t know what made her say that. It was far from true. But Snyder’s reaction was satisfactory. He paled and pulled back from her. Apparently, mr Snyder was an old-fashioned man. Women at that time of month were to be avoided at all costs. Was his wife suffering from a severe case of PMS, maybe? Or had his mother? The little man hurried off quickly and forgot all about the new rules he was going to impose on the staff, even temporary staff like miss Rosenberg.
“Willow? Is anything wrong? It’s not that time -”
Oz broke off in embarrassment. That might not be the best thing to say in public.
“Oh. No. Nothing’s wrong. Let’s just go to the computer lab. I’ll be fine.”
“Whatever you say. Miss Rosenberg.”
Hand in hand, Willow and Oz disappeared into the computer lab, the night’s confusion all but forgotten.
In the library, Giles was sitting at his desk, his head in his hands. That morning he had awoken in a cold sweat, screaming so loud he feared his neighbors would make a complaint to the landlord. It had all seemed so real. He had been in the library, with Buffy sitting on his lap, her arms around his neck. They had been kissing – Even the memory of that scene was revolting enough to make Giles wish he hadn’t drunk that cup of coffee. The Slayer had been wearing one of those awful tank tops and – No. He wouldn’t dwell on what she had been wearing. Things were bad enough as they were. But worst of all –
The conversation still played out in his mind over and over again. Giles could still feel the horror of it.
“Darling. Rupey. Come on, this place is such a drag. Let’s go someplace, just you and me.”
“Of course, honey. Where do you want to go?”
“How about Las Vegas?”
“Excellent idea. My darling, you are so clever.”
“Then what are you doing with that dirty, smelly old thing?”
The dirty, smelly old thing was a priceless hand written manuscript from the 15th century, but Giles distinctly remembered tossing it carelessly over his head onto the floor, where he could hear the ancient parchment crumble into little pieces. And that was where he woke up screaming, a cold sweat all over his body. Never again would he eat salmon sandwiches. If he ever found the courage to ask Joyce out, they would have something simple, like a cup of tea. No more parties with teenagers ever again.
In the Harris house, Xander was lying on the bed, tossing and turning. He wished he hadn’t had quite as many marshmallows the night before, but he at the moment he wasn’t aware of his problem. When the alarm rang, he fell out of bed, tense all over. This was his wedding day, and he had to get ready for his bride. How had he ever let Cordelia talk him into this?
Cordelia too flew out of bed, wondering why she was in such a hurry. Oh, of course. It was her wedding day. Why she had ever agreed to marry Xander, she had no idea. She had always planned on marrying a diplomat, or a promising young politician, if not an oil millionaire, now that Brad Pitt had been insensitive enough to marry Jennifer instead of Cordelia. But there was no time for thinking. The wedding dress was hanging on her closet door, and the bouquet was on a side table. She had to make sure she was ready on time, when Xander came and picked her up in a limousine.
But when the car drove up outside her window, Cordelia paled considerably. What her husband-to-be was driving was a battered old Ford, and yellow at that. Downstairs, staring in dismay at the vehicle, she was forced to listen to Xander’s explanation. Something about a cousin letting him use that monstrosity for the day.
Xander too appeared to have second thoughts, and for a moment Cordelia considered calling the whole thing off. But no one would jilt her like that. No one, and especially not her dorky boyfriend. As she might have guessed, they were now rather late, and Xander was driving recklessly towards Sunnyvale High.
Sunnyvale High? Had they decided to marry in their school, instead of in a church the way Cordelia had always imagined her wedding taking place? Surely she hadn’t agreed to this? But apparently she had, and it was all arranged. All their classmates and the others students would be present during their wedding. This closely resembled one of Cordelia’s favorite fantasies. Her crowning as the homecoming queen. Her friends all present to admire and envy her. But marrying Xander in front of the whole school? She must have lost her mind. He must have swept her off her feet. Mm. That was kind of romantic at least.
Now she saw the priest who was going to perform the ceremony. No. It wasn’t a priest. When the short figure turned around, she realized that it was principal Snyder. What? He must have read her puzzled expression correctly and offered an explanation.
“I suppose you didn’t know that I was licensed to peform wedding ceremonies? No, I suppose not. No one is the slightest bit interested in my life and my hopes and aspirations – Oh, no, I’m just your principal, not a human being with feelings.”
Cordelia’s head was spinning, and the rest of Snyder’s garbled words were lost on her. And now someone was playing the wedding march. It was time. She and Xander made sure they were standing up straight, and were facing the spot to which Snyder had now retreated. They began walking up the aisle.Well, actually it wasn’t an aisle. The wedding was taking place in the school cafeteria, and every teacher and other school employee was there as well as every student of Sunnydale High. Everyone was staring expectantly at the spectacle taking place in their midst.Xander and Cordelia could see their friends among the crowd. Buffy, Willow, Oz, the vampires.
How had they been able to join them on this morning? Of course, the windows of the cafeteria appared to be completely covered by some thick dark cloth. That would account for the lack of sunlight penetrating into the gloom. And Sunnydale was hardly aptly named in the first place. Even on a day like this, the light was never exactly good.
Snyder performed the ceremony, finishing up by adding the customary phrase about kissing the bride.Xander was never comfortable doing this in public, and he could see that Cordelia wasn’t really enthusiastic either, but since it was what everyone was expecting, he didn’t feel he had any choice. A deafening din broke out in the cafeteria, and they newlyweds were far from sure whether this was laughter at their expense or cheering for their sake. Either way, the whole thing appeared to be done so they let go of each other.
Now their friends gathered around them. Giles, Buffy, Willow, Oz, the vampires. And now they too appeared to want to kiss the bride. But Xander suddenly realized that they first intended to kiss him, the groom. Oh, no. Not in public. To his horror, the librarian bent down and gave him a – no, please, not a french kiss, – yes, a french kiss. In front of all the other students.
Giles backed off to let Angel have his turn. Xander tried to pull back, but the hurt look on Angel’s face froze him to the spot.
“You haven’t forgotten about us, have you, Xander?”
“No, I haven’t. But Cordelia doesn’t know so, please -”
“What don’t I know, darling?”
“Uh – hm – that Angel has always admired you very much.”
Cordelia’s face lit up in way that stung Xander further. But the moment after, the look changed, when Angel grabbed the new husband and tipped his head back, giving him a lingering french kiss. Xander cringed inwardly. Finally, when Angel let him go, Spike grabbed him and again, Xander was submitted to the same treatment.
“You’re not really my type, Xander, but I’ll try not to let that show. There. How was that?”
“Uh – hm -”
“That’s what I thought. No one’s complained so far. Jenny?”
Jenny stared at Xander for a moment, then hugged him briefly. He had never been a favorite student of hers. Then Oz moved in and planted a rather tame kiss on Xander’s cheek. At least he knew how to behave himself in public. Buffy and Willow, rather disappointingly, followed miss Callender’s example.
Now everyone turned to Cordelia. Willow forced a smile, but wouldn’t touch her old arch enemy. Buffy hugged Cordelia quite warmly, and Jenny did the same.
Now the men were lining up to have their turn with the bride. Giles gave the new bride a peck on the cheek, and Oz mimicked him. Then Angel towered over Cordelia, and to Xander’s horror, the vampire subjected Cordelia to the same intense mouth exploring. In fact, it was far longer before Angel finally let the new bride go, to turn her over to Will. He too, made the most of the moment and Xander was squirming uncomfortably. It seemed like forever until the blond vampire let go of Xander’s bride.
Principal Snyder seemed to recognize Will and descended on him, intent on turning the troublemaker out into the street.
“You. I recognize you. You’re that drug fiend who created all that havoc in my school.”
That accusation actually seemed to cause Will some distress.
“Sir, I’m sorry. I’m not a drug addict, and I wasn’t the one who caused all that upheaval at your school. Actually, I’m a vampire and -”
“Would you keep it down, you fool. Naturally, I know that. But I won’t have you causing any stampedes among my students.”
“You knew? How -”
“I’m the principal. It’s my job to know these things. The mayor employs me to – never mind. Don’t they have high schools where you’re from?”
“Yes, I think so, but I never really went to school -”
“You didn’t, huh? Sunnydale’s community college could help you out. There are night school classes, guaranteed to take place after nightfall. Or better still, get Callender to teach you for free. After all, she’s out of a job. I am practically certain that there is no form to fill out for dead teachers to return and take up their positions again.”
“Thank you, sir. Jenny’s already teaching me a lot.”
By now the entire wedding celebration had gone totally out of hand, with the high school students partying wildly and some of the guys from the football team insisting on taking Xander and Cordelia to the school nurse’s surgery to consummate the marriage.
That was about as much as Xander could take. One moment he was desperately trying to fight off the five strong guys, the next he was on the floor next to his own bed, in his own room. Had it all been a dream? What a relief. This was the last time he stuffed himself on marshmallows.
Cordelia too broke free of her nightmare, screaming in terror, alarming both her parents, leaving her to do some awkward explaining about why she was waking them up at 2.30 in the morning. Never again would she even taste a potato chip or a peanut. This kind of dream must never haunt her again, or she would surely end up prematurely grey and wrinkled.
That day in school, everyone was unusually subdued. No one felt up to chatting much, and only Willow and Oz occasionally smiled during the day. This was one party and one night none of them would forget in a hurry.