Title: The Hardest Thing 4/5
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Alex Krycek belongs to Chris Carter, etc. Dawn and the other Buffy charcters belong to Joss Whedon.
Spoilers: Season 5 end Buffy, AU Season 9 end X-Files.
Summary: "I missed it. Like I miss everything else in their lives."
Authors Note: Huge thanks to SiN for looking these over for me.
After my 'exposure' to the gang Giles and Spike warmed to me immediately. Believing the truth, being wise enough to see. Tara came around soon after, much to the annoyance to her girlfriend, mostly due to the way I treated Dawn.
Although that caused problems too. While Giles and Spike were willing to let me into her life, not that they could have stopped her or me, and Tara saw how Dawn seemed more alive, Xander and Willow seemed unable to accept my presence.
Neither of them was ready to see the truth, colonisation, and the end of life, as we know it. Perhaps that had more to do with them becoming jaded, to having seen several 'end of life as we know it' situations already, and this new threat being so far away.
Dawn was their main problem, not herself, but the way in which we interacted with each other. Xander, once again, was displaced in his role as 'older brother', as he was by Spike and Angel before him. What he didn't understand was that role had been mine long before it had become his.
And Willow, her problem was power and control, which should have tipped me off to her later behavior. With me in the house she was loosing her control over the occupants. Giles was leaving to go back to England in a week so she should have been it, the leader.
I know, maybe I was overreacting, right? She was trying to take away my role as Dawn's family. She was trying to protect her home and the town from the raving psycho who was obsessed with ET. Doesn't she remember the alien that was in Sunnydale a few months ago? That was unrelated to the Consortium, by the way.
You're wondering Anya's opinion? She didn't really seem to have one. She seemed really fidgety and uncomfortable, more so than usual. Part of that was due to wanting to announce her engagement. Part of it was due to my arrival and all that I brought with me. But a lot of it was due to the insane plan to bring her back.
Oh, I didn't know about it until after the fact, just like Spike, Giles and Dawn. I was 'too close', I wouldn't have been able to 'finish it' if something was wrong, how deluded are they? Do they forget who and what I am? Their real reason was they knew if I had known I would have stopped them.
But they did it, she's back. My Buffy, home. But she's not really is she? Oh, I know she's here but she doesn't feel, I can see it. She's lost something. She had her gift returned. I don't know if she'll ever recover, I hope to God she does, but I don't know if she can.
Dawn senses it too, that wrongness. Don't get me wrong on one side of things it's wonderful she's here, but is here where she wants to be?
Willow can't really see what's wrong, she knows something's up but she just puts it down to Buffy readjusting. To her coming back from the 'hell dimension' Willow's so sure she was in. She's ignoring Buffy's pain and riding out her power high.
I'm still finding it hard to realise she's really here, but she is. She's with me right now when I had
thought I'd never see her again.
I'm just doing that thing my girls' love so much. I'm sitting next to her on her bed in silence just holding her hand, being there for her. I realise I'm not the only one finding it hard to understand. She leans against me, her head on my shoulder; I switch hands and put my arm around her. She's allowing herself to break down, she knows she doesn't have to be strong for me; I can be strong for her. When no one else really can.
I hold her while she cries tears at the injustice of her life. At some point her tears slow.
"Why?" Her voice was breaking. "Why am I here? Why did they do this to me?"
My heart bleeds for her. "Because they love you and they didn't wish for you to suffer."
"Suffer?" She laughs harshly. "They really do believe I was in some hell dimension don't they?"
I hold my tongue, knowing she needs to let this out.
"How wrong could they be? I was safe, I was happy, I knew that everyone would be ok."
She breaks again, I hold her in my arms while she shows her pain.
"I think I was in heaven, this is the hell dimension."
I just continue to hold her as she cries, stroking her back until her sobs eventually subside. She's asleep; I pull back the covers and place her under, settling the covers once more.
I look over her, looking like the angel she should have been allowed to be and my heart breaks for her.
I look in on Dawn, who is sleeping less soundly than her sister, I stroke her hair until she calms, her nightmare over, for now anyway.
I descend the stairs and head for the kitchen, my face, for once, betraying my emotions clearly.