I had a dream that I was watching “the real” season/show finale of “Buffy,” and everyone was running around this enormous, dim library about as big as a 20-storey warehouse with books on all walls and this huge hanging candelabra of shelves coming down from the top and everyone was being hunted by the things in the books, which were really things from their pasts come to life.

And it came time for Buffy to die, because she had somehow become evil, and people were killing people left and right and somebody said she deserved to die because none of this would have happened if she hadn’t fallen in love with a vampire. Falling in love with a vampire had drawn evil to her, and she’d been stalked by that evil, and eventually turned evil herself.

And at the very end, as somebody (me?) held her by the hair and got ready to plunge in the dagger, this ghost comes out of one of the books, and it’s this guy I knew from high school theater who was supposed to be her “real” long-lost love, the guy she was “supposed” to be with cause *he really loved her,* but he died somewhere along the way, just another body lost to the cause, and he gasps, “No! Let me do it. Her heart belongs to me.”

And this huge audience leans in, gasping, as if the fourth wall’s been broken, and all of these fans, mostly women from fourteen to fifty-five, take these huge gasping breaths and lean in expectantly. Some of them start to tear up and prepare to sob. The air goes heavy with anticipation. They want Buffy – the good Buffy – to end up with the man who loved her.

And I hand over the knife, because some part of me wants her to be with him too, because *he loved her so much.* I hand over the knife without thinking too much, because this is the script. This is the way it should go. This is how all the stories turn out.

He does not cut open her chest. He jams the dagger into her forehead and cleaves her face in two.

A hot white light pours out of her, and Buffy’s soul leaves her body. He embraces her ghostly form in his. And we know she’s good and he’s good and all is right with the world.

The expectant audience sheds its tears, and the shadows of the big book-world flicker, and I’m kneeling there next to the body, the story-part of me feeling happy that I have helped make everything right with the world, and the not-dream part of me thinking, “Oh God why would I want it to end up this way? She’s not evil because she dated a vampire. She’s broken and bruised because she’s had to fight all the evil in the world, and when you have to fight evil, you become a little bit evil yourself. She doesn’t love him, and the strength of his love will never make her love him.”

So the audience wept with joy at the reunited lovers and the woman redeemed by a man with a weapon, and I held the bloody dagger in my hands, and I woke up.

This feeling is what all of my fiction is about.

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