Nothing But A Dream

Pairing: implied Wes/Fred, implied Fred/Angel
Rating: PG
Spoilers: through Angel S2, the Pylea arc.
Archiving: My site. Anywhere else, ask and I'll say yes, though.
Summary: Fred dreams.
Author’s notes: A companion piece to Sweet Little Girls. This won't likely make sense if you haven't read that.

High on a hill, deep in a forest
At the end of a lonely road
Inside a house of New Zealand timber
Lives a young queen all on her own …
… You will fall, you will fall
Nothing but a dream

- Paul Kelly, “Nothing But A Dream”

Her waking is always startled, never calm or restful – her heart pounds, she can’t breathe, and she’s sure that someone is going to find her in a matter of seconds. There’s no way for her to relax here, no way to escape from this terror, real or imagined or dream world, whatever this place is. Fred begins to believe that this must be the real world when she can no longer remember how long she’s been here. The other world, the one that comes to her in dreams, is only a dream, nothing real that she could touch and everything before this was one long, deep sleep.

But when she wakes, gasping and breathless and panting for air, always certain that she is on the verge of being caught, captured, sent back into unbearable slavery, there is a hint of a dream in that back of her mind that keeps her going one more day. Every night that dream is there, haunting her in sleep and slipping from her grasp in day, and she can never quite remember.

She never quite gets caught, though, either, and she thinks maybe she’s more rested since the dreams started.

She never quite shakes the idea that maybe the dreams are real.

Hell, this hell she’s trapped in, is green, she dreams, but nowhere near as green as the place she wakes in sleep. It’s green, so green, the color of the green crayon that came in the box of only 8 crayons – and the light is warm and strong and everything feels right. Sometimes in the dream she’s just walking along a river – or maybe a canal – and there are boats, low boats that look as though people live in them. In the dreams, Fred thinks that she might like to live on a boat. Warm, and cozy, and no hard edges like the rocks and sticks of her cave; she thinks that the rocking back and forth would be soothing, like being a kid and scared at night and having her mom rock her in the big chair in the corner of her room. The voices of the people she meets are familiar but foreign, the accents all wrong for the pieces she recalls from the dream world she might have been from. It’s all so strange, as though she’s dreaming, and she doesn’t think it could be a dream.

When Angel shows up, monster and all, and saves from this hell and she learns that none of it had been a dream, not the dreamworld and not the hell where they collared and corralled her like an animal, she thinks he must be a prince. She dreamt of a prince, some tall and strong and fierce and kind, someone who would steal her from hell into the green world, the dream world, the one she is not sure exists. But Angel says that it does, and he will take her there, and the symbols she has drawn on the walls for so long mean something.

Angel has other men, too, and a princess, but the other men, the one with the glasses like hers, it’s clear to Fred that they are the princes for this princess. So Angel must be hers. A knight in shining armor. Not a monster.

When she dreams, and she keeps dreaming of the green world after they steal her from the hell and take her back to Los Angeles, hell of another sort, when she dreams in Los Angeles it isn’t Angel who’s the prince. It’s Wesley, the one with the glasses, and she can’t look him in the eye across the lobby so she hides. In the dreams he walks with her past the boats and the river and through the green, always so green, so bright, so warm, so safe. He holds her hand and his voice is like the voices around them, accent low and lilting and she is safe. Always safe, in the green world. And it all seems too vivid and so so real that Fred cannot believe, even in dreaming, that she has invented this. How could she invent this? How could anything like this be real? She has been to England, she remembers that after months of dreams and months in California, but Wesley was not there. Wesley cannot be the prince in her dreams, Angel, Angel is the prince and yet she dreams of Wesley

and she wakes, gasping, every time from these dreams because she does not understand.

She dreams of Wesley, of Wesley as a prince in a strange world. Later she sees the way he looks at her, this strange man with the glasses and the accent and the hair like sleepy kittens. He looks at her and her soul feels old. She feels as though she knows him. She cannot remember why. She knows, knows with all her heart, that he is not for her, never was, never will be. She does not know how she knows, but she knows, and it is like the dreams

and Fred dreams, of warmth and summer and green and Wesley, and she feels as though she’s come home.

Feedback always welcome.