AN: Change of scenery, people. Try and stick with it.
She was at home, and it felt like a dream. She hadn’t been here in awhile and things had changed. She could hear the simple sounds of a house quietly settling and they felt loud to her ears. It was night-time - everything was different at night and she couldn’t remember why - the house was peaceful. Everybody must be asleep, she thought. She moved slowly, every limb felt heavy, like something was dragging her down - holding her down, why was she moving again? Her eyes were heavy and sore from too little sleep, or too much.
She walked to the window, enjoying the simple sight of a Sunnydale night. She laughed and didn’t know why she was doing so. The smile on her face felt strange, her muscles felt tight and unused to this small movement.
A dark figure was dragging itself up the road and even at this distance she could see his pale features. She watched him turn into their driveway, recognising the lumbering gait that signalled a night of heavy drinking. He disappeared from her viewpoint and she heard his steps on the porch and his key in the lock.
She heard the door open softly and turned to see Spike stagger in. As he did she heard soft padded footsteps and the sound of someone coming down the stairs. She turned to see Tara watching Spike with no small bit of nervousness as he came in.
He came in, walking past her with a single glance and she felt cold, his glance sending something dark running through her. Tara sent her a wan smile as she followed Spike into the kitchen. She felt nothing. She was home.
She knew she should follow but something held her back. A feeling of familiarity, something that hadn’t been there before. She nearly shrugged it off when- Something caught her attention. A flash of movement in the mirror. She turned to the stairs a second time, wondering if it was Willow coming down after her girlfriend though she hadn’t heard any footsteps, but there was no one there. She took a few heavy steps to the centre of the room and stopped. Something called to her. She turned her head to look in the mirror.
“Dawn!” The cry broke from a throat unused to speech, hurting her in its ferocity. It also brought Spike and Tara running from the kitchen. She barely glanced at them, but that was enough. The vision was gone from the mirror and all that was left in its place was a pale, pointed face with cheekbones far too prominent and eyes that were slightly less empty than before.
“She’s gone,” the whimper brought her back to the present. She turned. Willow had been brought from her bed and stood tousle-haired and bedraggled behind her. She was pale from lack of sleep and she looked frightened. Buffy couldn’t see that it was herself the witch was scared of, but it was Tara that she focused on now. Tara who had said-
“She can’t be,” Buffy whispered. Deep in the pit of her soul she felt an unnamed fear. That her gift had been for naught and that Dawn had been lost to something other than death. That the magic that had given Dawn body and soul and blood - her blood - had taken it all back and that she was no more than a memory now.
“I’m sorry, Buffy.” Tara was crying. “We can’t find her. It’s like she just disappeared off the face of the Earth.”
“No!” Buffy backed away from them, something hit her knees and she fell into the forgiving softness of the sofa. “She can’t be. Find her! Do something!”
“We tried, Buffy.” It was Willow who spoke now. “We searched everywhere. We got as far as Scotland and lost her there. Something stronger than I am is hiding her. We managed to find one or two people who saw her but that’s it. She doesn’t want to be found.”
Buffy almost held her breath as this new information hit her.
Dawn was lost, not gone.
Buffy stared at her hands, felt the blood pumping under the skin that give her life. That gave her sister life.
It was always about the blood.
Draco hated himself. He hated himself for what he had become, for what he had allowed himself to become, a spy. A spy hated by both side. And only one person he could turn to for support and friendship. And he betrayed her.
Even as he opened himself up to her, as he tried harder and harder to please her, to be the friend she deserved, to be the person she wanted him to be, he was betraying her.
This he knew.
It wouldn’t stop him from spilling her secrets.
But neither did it stop him from wanting her, helping her, listening to her when she needed someone to confide in.
He was caught in a trap. The more he got to know her, the more she trusted him, the more he fell in love with her. The more she trusted him the more she told him of the Orders secrets and Draco simply waited the moment he would be told to spill those secrets. It wasn’t something he would relish. But he would tell, his life, his fathers life depended on it.
The attack couldn’t have come from outside the school. The wards prevented that. So when she was dragged from her bed, gagged and bound and hurried from the school by wand light she knew it had to be someone she knew, someone from her own class, her own house.
The only thing she wondered, as she lost consciousness, was how they knew to take her.
In her dream, Buffy saved her.
will be continued tomorrow with the fourth and last in the series And they all fell down