Disclaimer: Nope, don't own anything if either Harry Potter or of BtVS.
Author's Note: Everything has been changed around a little time line wise, but all that will be dealt with later. Hope thee wait was worth it.
"Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.
Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever,
There's a hope that leaves me never,
All through the night."—All Through The Night (A Welsh Lullaby)
The abandoned construction site was void of activity. It sole occupant the blond man who came here one night every month for the last five months.
He stood with his eyes closed, the words falling softly from his lips as he mourned for the loss of the woman who had sacrificed her life.
In three minutes, it would be twelve past midnight and 158 days since Buffy’s death.
Even after all this time he still counted the months, the days, the hours, the minutes; it was like a silent timer, always counting.
The tower remained in a state of incompletion, its stasis almost a tribute to the sacrifice that had been made.
Ever since Glory’s defeat the work had ceased and the clean-up or tear down of the skeletal edifice had not yet to start.
It remained a tribute built by insane people; some how fitting for Sunnydale.
In the stillness of the night only broken by the whispered lyrics, Spike drew a few folded pieces of paper from his pocket and with a trembling hand, unfolded them, laying each one carefully atop the pile of tile.
In his minds eye, he strove to keep the other picture from his mind.
That bruised face.
The blonde hair, golden in the dim light of the construction site, framing her like a halo.
His words become breathy, and tears began to slip down the pale cheeks, their path leaving bloody tracks upon the alabaster skin.
The last cords of the lullaby were whispered hoarsely, his eyes closed against the memories that came along with it.
It had been his mother’s favorite lullaby when he had been a child, a song she had used to soothe him when he was troubled. Until four days ago, he had never thought of the song, because he had never felt more lost then now. Four days ago he had gone to them, to Giles, the witch, and the boy wonder. He had told them of his fears for Dawn and they had told him he was seeing things.
Spike traced a trembling hand along the lines of the drawling at the end. It was the latest. In truth it was the last.
Spike would never have known about it except that he had caught sight of Dawn’s sketch pad in the trash. In more than one way, he wished that he had never caught sight of the damned thing. Then he would have known thought that he was wrong.
In the oppressive silence, the blond vampire marveled at how such a simple thing as a drawing could cause him so much pain.
After the Slayer had died, he had never dreamed that his heart could break even more than it had already.
He had been wrong.
Damn. How wrong he had been.
But not, at least, in this. Years of living with Dru had taught him the signs of precognition.
Dawn had it.
And damn the others for ignoring the signs.
Damn them for failing her.
Damn himself for failing Buffy and now for failing her sister.
Every day she grew further and further away from them and more into her own world.
A world where she was protected.
A world where she had not been the reason that Buffy had been forced to give her life in return for Dawn's.
A world where her sister still lived.
Following Buffy's death, Dawn had felt nothing for the robot. She had accepted the necessity, even though she had not liked it.
Yet, things had changed so much from then. Now Dawn cooked meals with the robot. She no longer cared when it called her Dawnie. “They” said it was only because Dawn was trying to make the lie more believable to the out side world. "They" didn't remember that Spike had lived over a hundred years living a lie. "They” didn't realize that he could tell when some one else was doing the same.
The others didn't see that when Dawn called the robot Buffy, she was ignoring all of the things that made the robot a robot. When the young Summers looked at the man-made creation, she only saw her sister.
He was losing her and he didn’t know how to bring her back.
“Damn-it!!!” Spike shouted, his hands balling into fists. “Why?!?”
One hand rose and fell heavily upon the stack before him, only narrowly missing that fragile papers before him.
He ignored the sound of the tile breaking and his hand rose again and again, falling in blurs.
Finally, he stood there, breathing heavily, his hands bloodied.
“Why?” The word was whispered, and a blood smeared hand rose to shakily wipe away the fresh tears.
“You’re just imaging things.” He choked out. “There are no such things as dragon. Couldn’t possibly, couldn’t even manage to launch itself off of the ground, really… You’re just blaming yourself for her death.” Spike ran a hand along the lines of the last picture again and closed his eyes against the pain. In his mind’s eye he saw their faces, those pitying faces.
There had been a brief moment of hope when Red had stopped on the
last picture, the same picture that he couldn’t stop looking at, the last one in the line. He had seen her pause on that picture and he had seen the interest, but it must have just been a fluke.
Maybe "they” were right.
Maybe he was just seeing something wrong. Red had been the worst though. She had finally put down the picture and shook her head, telling him that it wasn’t his fault that Buffy had died.
The words had been like a knife in his gut and he’d felt the sense of failure wash over him again as they all told him that Dawn was just adjusting. That she wasn't gifted with the curse of foreseeing, that she was just…adjusting.
He’d give anything if that was true. Anything to take away the memories and the pain. Anything. Anything to be able to just run away, to leave it all behind. To leave the evidence of his failures to be forgotten.
It was time for him to stop running though. He had to stay. He had to fight. He had to save Dawn, because it was the last thing that the Slayer had ever asked of him.
Drawing in a breath, he stood still as the pain started to ebb away and the anger began to fill the void it had left.
There was a connection.
He knew he was right. Living with Dru had been an experience, not always a good one, but he had learned many things from it.
One of which was that they visions were always connected.
Pulling the pictures towards him again he looked them over.
Four pictures. Two in the first month. One of Buffy, her face bruised and her body broken, but there had been an expression of peace on her face that he had never seen on her in life.
The next was of some kid. He remembered looking over the picture, memorizing every plane of the sharp angled face, every line of that lightening shaped scar. He was something that Spike had no idea of. He had spent a month and a half tracking every one that the niblet had come in contact with. No leads. The kid was connected, he just didn’t know how.
The next had been drawn nearly two months after, a dragon in flight. The creature that Giles had told him didn’t exist. It flew with grace threw a cloudy sky, there seemed to be something in front of it.
A speck that some one would have just said was a bit of dirt or an errant smudge. Only thing was, with precog, nothing was a mistake, everything had meaning. Exist or not, it was one of only five pictures he had ever seen her draw. It had meaning. He knew it.
And the last….
It some how seemed fitting that the last picture would be one of Buffy. After all, the first one had been of Dawn’s sister, why not another? But while the first had caught the peace the Slayer seemed to have found in death, this seemed to capture instead only pain and anguish. His eyes tried to pull away, not to note the way that Dawn had managed to catch the evidence of decay on the Slayer’s face or how her face seemed to twist in obvious agony. Or the eyes. Those eyes. Voids filled only with a whiteness that he was surprised she had been able to catch considering the medium she had chosen. Charcoal. It was damned hard to leave anything un-shaded with that.
And here it was. Spike wanted to believe that it was just an illusion, yet it wasn’t. He wanted to believe that he was just trying to make things up for his own need. He wanted to pretend that he didn’t know what this picture meant. That it wasn’t the Slayer being brought back to life. How ever, there could be no other explanation. The only thing was he didn’t know who could possibly do something so horrible to her. Where ever the Slayer’s soul had gone, he was sure it wasn’t Hell. She had earned her peace. Who ever it was, he prayed that he was wrong. For the first time in over a hundred years he prayed.
As the night began to brighten and till he could no longer stand the light that was beginning to edge along the sky, he stood there, looking over the pictures before him again and again, trying to find the link.
There was always a connection. Always.
If he wanted to save Dawn, it was the only way he could, he just had to find the connection.
Back at the Summers' residence Dawn existed in a world of obliviousness.
A small voice gently reminded her that none of this was real. That the woman downstairs wasn't her sister. That her sister lay dead, not bustling around the kitchen attempting to bake cupcakes.
Even from upstairs she could smell the burnt confectionery creations and she blithely ignored the little voice.
It was wrong.
Buffy was here. Buffy would protect her. Buffy would stop the dreams.
When she had thrown away her drawing pads a little over a month ago, the flashes of faces and things unknown to her had stopped. Or at least so she had thought. And then the dreams had come.
Sometimes, Spike would look at her and the brunette thought that maybe he knew, yet, she was afraid to ask. In her heart she knew that they would believe her crazy all of them and then maybe, maybe they would realize what she had feared all this time. That she should have been the one to die. The dreams were punishment, they had to be.
And slowly they were driving her insane. She was afraid to sleep, knowing that every time she drowsed new people and places would assault her. People in long flowing robes and carrying sticks in their hands.
A world like that one couldn't exist. Not in this day and time.
What kind of witch or wizard needed wands?
She had asked Giles a couple of weeks ago, back when the dreams where starting to worsen in their frequency and he had just smiled that humoring smile and told her that wands were just parts of fairy tales, just like dragons.
She had been terrified when he had mentioned dragons, fearing that he already knew of her disturbed state, and then he had patted her hand before asking her how school was going.
A cry tore through her throat as a stabbing pain began to throb in her temple.
She burrowed deeper into her covers, trying to ignore the pain that was building behind her eyes.
"Please, please, no." She chanted, rocking back and forth. She tightened the grip on her pillow and felt the wetness of her pillow as her tears seeped into the soft fabric.
There was a blinding flash and a maze. All around her their stood tall bushes. To her eyes they seemed normal and some how not. It was as though they moved of their own will as they swayed back and forth, their movement some times against the direction of the wind. Their limbs suddenly shook furiously and vines began to crawl from beneath them. A scream tore through the air.
Some how the voice sounded familiar. Like she knew that voice. Except that she didn't and something made her run towards it.
Time seemed to pass in slow motion as she searched for the source of the terrified scream and as she drew around a corner she was suddenly in another place. The graveyard was unnaturally still, even the insects were silent and it was as though even the wind dared not to stir. A cauldron stood before her, a green fire causing the gleaming liquid inside to churn sickly.
Suddenly there was movement, but it was from inside of the cauldron. A man began to rise from within, a sinister smile upon his face.
Dawn screamed in terror and he reached his hands towards her.
There was another blinding flash, she lifted her hand feebly to shield her eyes from, and as her vision cleared she saw the Buffy-bot.
The blonde hair tumbled in messy curls around its face, a smudge of flour on its cheek. As it stood above her, one hand stroked back the sweat soaked hair from Dawn’s face.
"Shh, it's okay, it was just a dream. Look, I made cupcakes." The blonde turned briefly. When she turned back around, one hand held up a tray of burnt cupcakes and her smile slipped as she saw her "sister" begin to weep anew. "Its okay. I promise," quietly she slid the tray onto the night stand and gathered the girl into her arms, murmuring meaningless words.
Dawn sank into the embrace and ignored the small voice in her head that reminded her that this wasn't Buffy, it whispered that the real Buffy wouldn't have burnt the cupcakes, it whispered that the real Buffy was dead, even as it also whispered that the dreams were something more.
Dawn’s arms tightened against the bot's waist and she wept until exhaustion finally overtook her.
She was unaware as the robot told her brightly that it was all okay, instead she heard another voice. Even though the two sounded identical, Dawn could tell the difference.
The other sang softly from the gap of years that stood between them and Dawn was ten again. Buffy sang to her sister a song about the sea and a sailor who had to sail away from his love, he promised that he would return…he promised that he would return.
It was to the voice of a memory that the young woman finally found the release of a dreamless sleep.
*Please review! They help to prompt the muse onwards.