Rays of an early morning sun filtered through the blinds into a darkened bedroom, dappling pale light upon the array of framed 50s and 60s B-movie posters that lined the walls. A desk by the window was littered with stacks of comic books in the process of being bagged and boarded. By the door was a large corkboard, covered with fliers, handwritten notes of various measurements, assorted movie ticket stubs and a vast collection of other bibs and bobs, including several snapshots.
Almost every inch of available surface space had been used to display photographs: Dawn who, judging by the embarrassing hat perched upon her head, had been celebrating her 18th birthday; Xander instructing Tara on how to work a power saw and Tara apparently none too confident about the whole thing; Faith raising a can of beer to the camera in a perfunctory toast; Xander flat on his back as Chrissie straddled him, arms held high in triumphant victory; a fully-grown Willow getting a piggyback ride from an equally fully-grown Buffy, although their delighted expressions were anything but adult in nature; a picture in the original Sunnydale High library depicting Xander with Buffy, Willow and a self-conscious Giles; a shot of Xander and Anya hugging each other.
On one of the night tables was a clock radio. As its dial flipped to 7:00 AM, the fading refrain of a song could be heard, soon drowned out by the voice of an overly-perky announcer.
"Time to rise and shine, Trillium," he said with chirpy, please-beat-me-in-the-face enthusiasm. "There's a world out there waiting! It's seven-ay-em on a gorgeous Thursday morning and I just know you don't wanna waste it."
From beneath the sheets came a sleepy groan of protest.
"The weekend's a bit of a ways off yet," continued the buoyant message, "but never fear – yours truly, Zakk Zapp, and the rest of the 101.5 WWWA team will help you get there. Stay tuned throughout the hour as 3WA announces the winners to last night's Santa's Little Helpers contest, and for your chance to win tickets to—"
Zakk Zapp was abruptly silenced as desperate fingers scrabbled for the snooze button and found their mark. Mission accomplished, the hand appeared to have now expended its paltry energy reserves and flopped limply onto the pillow nearby. There was another unintelligible mumble as the hand began to feel around the empty space, ostensibly searching for something. However, it was a fruitless endeavor and the quest came to an untimely end, fingers still curled but frozen. The immobility was followed by a heavy sigh.
The mattress bounced as the hand was retracted and its owner turned over, the arm draping across the left side of Xander's face. He lay still for a moment, staring at the ceiling and then glanced toward the small table on the other side of the unshared bed. It held a lamp, a glass of water, a couple of well-thumbed paperbacks and an eye patch. Retrieving the latter, Xander slipped it over his head, settled it in place and then went back to staring at the ceiling.
"There's a world out there waiting," he echoed, and his delivery held little of the same exuberance.