*Note* Sections indicated by the word 'FLASH' are Elizabeth's memories of Buffy's life.
Twenty-five-year-old Dawn Summers sighed as she shut off her car and grabbed her purse, duffel bag, and keys. Getting out of the car, she took a deep breath.
She hadn’t been to this house on Revello Drive in two years. Two years. The second that high school diploma was in her hands she was out of Sunnydale and off to college. And for the previous ten years that was exactly what she had done. She’d gone to college for four years, graduated, and gone to a different two year college to get her masters. That, of course, had been when she’d come back to Sunnydale. She hadn’t stayed long, though, and within a few weeks she left again. Two years later--where she was right now--she was back.
Things had changed, though, since that dreadful day on the Tower. Sure the self-proclaimed ‘Scooby Gang’ had continued to fight the forces of darkness to keep the Hellmouth at bay, but in a different way. About six years back the second vampire slayer, Faith, had been released from prison on good behavior. She’d been in Sunnydale ever since. Consequently that (besides others) had been one of the reasons Dawn had chosen to go to college so far away . . . New York. The brunette ‘Rogue Slayer’ was even more rude and annoying than before she’d gone evil.
Presently, however, Dawn had had no choice but to take a week off of work and come back to her old house in Sunnydale.
The young college graduate took another deep breath and walked up to the front door. Turning the knob she found it locked and dug into her pocked for her old key.
She unlocked and turned the knob and pushing in the door. Visual and auditory memory flooded Dawn’s senses as she entered the old Summers’ residence. Everything, down to the furniture in the living room, was exactly the same. It even smell the way it always had . . .
“Hello?” She called out to the silent and seemingly empty house. No one answered.
Dawn dropped her purse and duffel bag on the floor and walked further into the house. She walked across the room to the mantle that had been added a couple of years back ( it was one of the only thing–small things, really–that they’d dared to change) beside the door that went into the kitchen.
On the mantle was pictures–pictures of the new things that had happened in the last ten years. There was Dawn and her maturing looks over the years, Giles and his ever-increasing amounts of grey and white hair, Spike (his looks never changing but the smirk only growing bigger), Faith-the-annoying-one, Tara-the woman reminiscent of an aunt to Dawn . . . and the two couples who had changed the most over the last six years: Xander and Anya, and, of course, the two no one had ever seen happening again—Willow and Oz.
Xander and Anya were married now, with a four-year-old little boy named Alexander Jr. (Alex for short). Willow and Oz, too, were married, but they had a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter named Jennifer Anne (after Miss Calendar and Buffy).
“Anyone home?” Dawn called again.
“Dawnie, is that you? We’re upstairs!” came the reply from upstairs. A childish squeal echoed from upstairs, followed by parental protests.
Dawn sighed again and headed for the stairs.
Seattle Grace Hospital; Seattle, Washington
“What the hell is that?” Dr. Miranda Bailey purse her lips and her hands rested on the hips of her bright-blue scrub pants. She swiped at the mask over her mouth and threw it in the garbage as she eyed the little blonde girl in front of her.
“A kid,” George said.
“I see that, O’Malley,” Bailey’s eyebrow’s creased in frustration, “What is it doing here in the locker room?”
George, Meredith, Izzie, and their fellow interns Alex Karev and Cristina Yang hovered in the locker room in front of Dr. Bailey. The ‘kid’, as George put it, sat on one of the benches with her doll, sadly running through the doll’s hair with a plastic brush.
The interns glanced back and forth. After a few minutes, Alex groaned and waved his arms, “Whatever. I’m not involved in this. Can’t I just go scrub in on Shepherd’s craniotomy?”
“No way, that’s mine!” Cristina’s eyes widened at the thought of not being able to scrub in on such an advanced surgery.
Dr. Bailey stared at the cocky intern incredulously, “No!” She stared around the room, “Nobody is going anywhere until I know why this . . . being . . . is in here when you all are supposed to be getting ready for rounds.” No one said anything, “Until further notice, the surgeries are all mine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I will go assist Dr. Shepherd myself. Assignments will be given out when I get back.” With that, their resident was out the door.
“So what’s the deal?” Alex was all over the other four, “Who’s the kid?”
“Izzie, you don’t have to tell him. Or anyone, for that matter—except Bailey. And, well, the Chief too,” George said.
“It’s okay,” Izzie said, “It’s going to come out eventually.” She sat down beside the little girl, putting her hands around the kid’s shoulders. “This is Elizabeth. She’s my daughter.” Cristina’s eyes went wide and Alex let out a breath. “I had her ten years ago but decided that her life would be better if she would have two parents who could give her everything.”
“The still doesn’t explain why she’s here now,” Alex snarled.
“Alex!” Meredith elbowed him in the rib. He sneered and rubbed his sore rib.
“She’s here because her adoptive . . . parents---” Izzie covered Elizabeth’s ears, “Her parents are dead . . . and I’m all she has left.” She uncovered the girl’s ears.
“Oh,” Christina said.
“Yeah,” Izzie sighed, “Now I just have to tell Bailey and the Chief . . . and figure out what I’m going to do next.” She sighed again. She got up and walked over to one of the lockers, leaning against it.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth sat on the bench listening to the strange people talking about while she played the doll her mommy and daddy had got for her for her last birthday. Sure, she was a bit old for dolls but it was from her mom and dad so it was special to her.
She wished her mom and dad could be here. This place was strange . . . and white . . . and something about the hospital freaked her out. In fact, they had for as long as she could remember.
Now a little blonde girl around Elizabeth’s age (and who strangely looked like Elizabeth) walked down a similar hall to the one in Izzie’s hospital. The little girl walked into a room where another little girl with long brown hair was lying in a hospital bed . . .
The little girl in the bed was screaming, her hands up beside her face, and her head shaking back and forth.
“I don’t know what do to!” the little blonde girl was yelling and she began to cry.
“Celia!” Elizabeth yelled at the top of her lungs, dropping her doll. She started to cry, big, fat tears rolling down her face.
Everyone in the lounge stopped what they were doing and/or saying and focused on Elizabeth. Izzie raced over to the girl, “What’s wrong, Elizabeth?”
“Shut her up before Bailey comes back!” Cristina warned.
“Sweetie, who’s Celia?” Izzie tried to calm Elizabeth down, “Is she your friend from home?”
Elizabeth shook her head, “I don’t know! Please don’t make me go back there! Please!”
“It’s okay,” Izzie held Elizabeth tight, “You don’t have to go anywhere you don’t want.” After a few moments Elizabeth stopped crying, “It’s okay.”
“Wow,” Meredith said, “Izzie, you’re really good at this.”
Izzie looked up, “Really? ‘Cause I’m terrified.”
“Okay!” Bailey announced her presence as she pushed through the doors to the locker room. All five interns jumped. Once she saw Izzie with Elizabeth she rolled her ekes, “Just as I thought. She’s the splitting image of you.”
“Save it, Stevens,” Bailey said, “Assignments are as follows: Stevens, you’re on scut today. You obviously . . . distracted. Yang, you’re with me. O’Malley with Burke. Karev is with Shepherd. And Grey . . . you’re on paper work until and after your meeting with the Chief.” The interns started to move. “Oh, and Grey?”
“Yes, Dr. Bailey?” Meredith said.
“You can have . . . the kid,” Bailey finished.
“But, Izzie is--”
“I do not care if Stevens is the Queen of England. I said that you have the kid.” Bailey put her hands on her hips, “Does anyone else have a problem with my decision today?” The other four shook their heads and all, including Bailey, left but Meredith, Izzie, and Elizabeth.
Meredith turned to Izzie, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Izzie nodded, running her fingers through Elizabeth’s hair.
Suddenly Elizabeth wasn’t in the hospital anymore. She was in a bedroom, sitting on the edge of a bed, facing a girl with long, brown hair who appeared to be only a few years older than Elizabeth, maybe four or five.
Elizabeth herself was staring through the eyes of the same girl from the last thing she saw, the older blonde one. Except this time her hair was longer and her face was older and more tired.
“Can I be president?” Elizabeth felt herself say.
“I’m president,” the brown-haired girl in front of her said, “You can be the janitor.”
“Okay,” Elizabeth’s new self said and she was chuckling, too. Then her new self ran her fingers through the brunette’s hair—exactly the way Izzie had just done to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth took a deep breath and clutched on to Izzie as she came out of that place again and was back in the hospital.
“Just take care of her,” Izzie was saying to Meredith, who nodded, “She’s a good kid. Or so her parents have said in their letters.”
“I will,” Meredith promised, “Now, you better go get to the pit before Bailey sees you still in here with her.”
Izzie sighed, “Good point.” She extracted the young girl from her arms. “Elizabeth? I have to go work now but you’re going to be with my friend Meredith, okay?” Elizabeth nodded. “Remember Meredith, from my house?”
“We’ll have lots of fun,” Meredith said.
“Yep,” Izzie said, “You’d just be bored with me.”
“Okay . . .” Elizabeth sighed.
“Knock, knock!” Dawn rapped on the door to Buffy’s old bedroom. For many years after Buffy’s death, they hadn’t touched her room at all. Willow and Tara had just moved in to Dawn’s mother Joyce’s old room so that Dawn wouldn’t be alone. A few months later they’d split on civil terms and Tara had moved back into her apartment. Then Oz had come back a year later and before long he and Willow were married and he’d moved in. The first time the room had been touched at all was two years earlier when it had been decided that Jennifer need her own room. Presently it was still Jennifer’s room.
From inside the room, Dawn could hear Willow say, “Jenny, who’s that? Huh? Who’s at the door?”
Dawn opened the door and was greeted with a humongous smile from the little girl who’d grown to be like a niece to Dawn. With the short-red hair, heart-shaped face, and short height, Jennifer was every bit her parent’s child. Willow and Oz were leaning over Jenny’s crib, their faces flustered, “Hi Jenny!” The 2 ½ year old giggled and held out her arms. Dawn dropped her bags on the floor and picked up the little girl. “Did you miss your aunt Dawn?”
“Donnie!” Which was, of course, the way Jennifer said Dawn’s nickname ‘Dawnie’ which was what Willow called her all the time. Yep, try going to your high-school senior parent-teacher conferences with your guardian who always called you by your kid nickname.
“I take that as a yes,” Dawn smiled. She looked over to Willow and Oz,” So what was the big rush for me to come home?”
Suddenly, Willow burst out in tears.
To Be Continued . . .