A/N: OK, guys, this is my first crossover fic, as well as my first Doctor Who fic…so please be gentle! If you take the time to read, do you think you could leave me a review to help me improve? Now, my work is unbeta’d, so any mistakes are completely mine, and I don’t own Doctor Who or Buffy…I’d like to, but I don’t…seriously, stop ringing you lawyer!
After Martha left, the Doctor started to leave, but couldn't decide on a destination. He moved the Tardis away from London, but stayed in the present. Exiting the Tardis on the edge of Oxford, he wandered.
He felt something then, a faint pulling, but he couldn't tell what it was. He wandered across the campus, following the faint scent of something...familiar. He sat down on a bench, watching the building, the library, where the feeling was emanating from. Finally deciding that he was learning nothing sitting where he was, he went into the library, and began to wander the shelves. The feeling was so nebulous, it was hard to track down, but seemed to be coming from near the back of the stacks. He wandered deeper, occasionally stopping to examine a book. Finally, he reached an area so far back that he doubted many people ever bothered coming there.
Looking around, he saw a young woman, with long, dark brown hair, sitting at a small table surrounded by thick tomes. She was definitely the source of the compulsion the Doctor felt. He stepped forward, staring hard, trying to see what was so recognizable about this girl. He bumped against a shelf, causing a book to drop to the floor, and the girl jumped violently, whirling in her seat. "Sorry, sorry about that. Didn't mean to frighten you; I was just looking around, got a little bit lost." He smiled ingratiatingly at her. The girl took a calming breath, then smiled gently.
"That's quite all right, I just didn't hear you. Sorry, I'm Dawn. Can I help you?" She asked, standing. Seeing the books that were laid out on the table, the Doctor's eyes widened in admiration.
"Is that the Pergamon Codex?" He asked, staring at the Sumerian text she had been reading.
"Yes, it is," she replied, surprised that he recognized it.
"You're studying ancient languages?"
"I'm getting my Masters in mythology and archeology, but this piece is just a hobby of mine."
"A hobby? You translate dead languages as a hobby, while still having the time to get your Masters?" He asked, amazed. She nodded, grinning slightly at his expression. "Oh, I like you!" He declared, before picking up the page she had been jotting down her translation on. "This is good." He said, nodding as he read it.
"Thank you, I think." She said, sounding slightly concerned by his strange enthusiasm. Picking up a bottle of water, she took a swig, then set it down, accidentally splashing some on his hand. "Oh, sorry!" She cried, grabbing some tissues and wiping up the spill quickly. She seemed to have relaxed slightly.
"That's quite all right; I'm sorry, how rude, I'm the Doctor!" He told her, grinning.
"Doctor..." She left it hanging, waiting for a name.
"Just the Doctor!" He replied her brightly. He stared at her intently, trying to see what it was that was so familiar, but it seemed to be hiding from him. Then the girl gave him the opening he had been looking for.
"Have I met you before? You seem really familiar to me." She stared hard at him, and something flashed deep in her eyes, something so familiar that his legs nearly went out from under him. He stared at her, open mouthed, struck dumb.
"Doctor?" She asked, concerned. She guided him to a seat, and handed him her bottle of water.
"Key!" He breathed, and the girl's face changed from concern to total, abstract fear. She stumbled back from him, then turned and ran, as fast as she could, through the stacks towards the front of the library.
"Wait!" He called, running after her. He saw her running out of the doors, holding a phone to her ear. He caught up with her outside, but stopped about a meter away from her. "Please, I'm not going to hurt you, I just thought there was something here that I recognized, and it turns out it was you. But this is impossible; you died, I saw you die, your TARDIS was vaporized, and sucked into the Time Vortex, at the start of the Time War. You can't be here!" He stared at her, wide eyed, shaking his head. She stared at him, not understanding what he was saying. "And you have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?" She backed away slightly.
"You should go. I don't know what kind of demon you are, but you should know better than to come after me. The last person to threaten me was a Hell God, and my sister killed her, so I doubt you'll give her any problems. Leave me alone!" She backed away from him, but the Doctor followed her, staying at a certain distance.
"Demon? I'm not a demon...for that matter, what are you talking about?" He asked, very confused. The girl stared at him, obviously as confused as he was. Suddenly, he heard yelling.
"D! D, where are you?"
"Faith! Faith, I'm here!" Called Dawn. Faith came up behind Dawn, staring at the Doctor suspiciously. Her slayer sense identified him as non-human, but she sensed no actual threat from him. And he didn't feel like a demon, either.
"You all right, Little D?" She asked, squeezing Dawn's shoulder. Dawn glanced down at the shorter woman and nodded briefly, before returning her attention to the man standing before her.
"He knows about the Key, Faith. It was like he saw it, inside of me. But that's not the only thing; I feel like I know him; there's something about him that is so familiar, it almost makes me want to cry, and I have no idea why." Faith sized up the man standing in front of her; standing in the sunlight, ergo, not a vamp.
"Let's move this conversation someplace a little more...private, shall we?" She suggested, glancing around at the crowded college campus. Dawn nodded, and Faith led the way, across the campus, to a secluded garden. When he came to the gate, the Doctor paused for a moment, looking at something.
"Oh, good job!” He commented, stepping through. “Nice bit of camouflage and redirection you've got going there.” He told them, while ducking the fist Faith threw at his face.
“Faith!” Exclaimed Dawn, exasperated.
“What? Look, non human, knows you're this Key thing, something none of us really understand, and he can sense Willow’s spells? You expect me not to take him out?” She let a kick fly, not even looking at the Doctor, while arguing with Dawn. The kick caught the Doctor full in the chest, sending him flying across the garden to land at the base of a tree.
“Faith, stop it! I want to talk to him!” She snapped.
“Fine!” Snapped the dark haired Slayer, stepping back, and standing with her hands held palms out at her sides, deferring to Dawn. “But Buffy’s not gonna like it, and you know it,” she added, shooting a glare at the younger woman.
“What do you know about the Key?” Demanded Dawn, staring at the Doctor intently. The Doctor was confused. This girl was definitely the Key, but she didn’t seem to know anything about herself, or about him for that matter.
“How about you tell me what you know, because I’m getting very confused. Once I’ve got you story, I’ll tell you mine, it will probably make more sense that way.” He suggested, pushing himelf up to sit cross legged on the grass. Dawn looked at him hard for a moment, then settled herself opposite, while Faith remained standing, settling into a ‘parade rest’ position.
“From my memories, I’m twenty years old, the younger daughter of Hank and Joyce Summers, born in LA, lived in Sunnydale, younger sister of Buffy Summers, the Slayer. All documentation, and the memories of everyone around me, reflect that information. But that’s all a lie. A group of monks had charge of me, of the Key, I should say, for thousands of years, and to protect it from the hell god Glory, they sent it to the Slayer, in the form of a sister. They created me, my memories, everything. We know that the Key has the power to open portals to other dimensions, but that’s about all we know about it. It isn’t mentioned in written histories, at least, none that we can find, and we have good contacts.” She shrugged, then watched him expectantly. “So, what do you know about me?” She asked. The Doctor, meanwhile, was looking slightly bemused.
“You were in energy form?” He questioned. Dawn nodded, and a picture started to form. “All right, I can see how that happened,” he said, nodding slowly.
“You said you saw me killed. Did you know the Key?” She asked, sounding confused.
“Ummm, well yes, you could say I knew her.” He replied, suddenly unsure of how to continue.
“Who was it?” She asked.
“My younger sister.” He replied. “I think, from what you’ve told me, that I know what happened, although it is the first time such a thing has occurred. As I said before, I saw you, and your Tardis, vaporized and sucked into the time vortex. What I think must have happened is that your essences combined, and were spat out here, on Earth, thousands of years ago. They probably didn’t recognize your sentience, just thought you were a thing, but you clearly were able to communicate on some level, because you gave them your name.” he was warming to his subject now.
“My name? What kind of name is "The Key"?" She demanded.
“What kind of name is The Doctor?” Scoffed Faith, although her expression was thoughtful.
“The kind of name that we choose for ourselves, after looking into the Time Vortex.” Replied the Doctor matter-of-fact-ly.
“So, what are you?” Demanded Faith and Dawn at the same time.
“I’m a Time Lord. Well, last of the Time Lords, actually, at least supposedly.” He added, staring at Dawn as though he still didn’t quite believe it.
“But, why can I open inter-dimensional portals?” She demanded, confused.
“Well, remember I said your TARDIS was destroyed along with you?” He asked. Dawn nodded, cocking her head to try and see the point.
“What’s a TARDIS?” Demanded Faith, rudely.
“Stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space.” Replied the Doctor and Dawn together, before Dawn gasped and stared at the Doctor. Having a sudden idea, the Doctor told the TARDIS to stop translating, and spoke to the girl in Galifreyan. “Can you understand me?” He asked, hoping.
“Yes, I can understand you...how can I understand you, I have no memory of that language,” she said, sounding lost.
“You could understand that?” Demanded Faith, sounding even more confused. Dawn nodded distractedly, not actually looking at Faith. “I think we should get Buffy and Willow in on this, D. You know she’d want to know, and maybe Willow can shed some light on the situation.”
“Fine, you call them, we’re going to keep talking.” Replied Dawn, still distracted. Faith nodded and pulled out a cell phone, not actually moving from her position. She spoke quietly, not wanting to disrupt the conversation taking place.
“So, my TARDIS?” Asked Dawn, sounding confused, hopeful and disbelieving at the same time.
“You were inside it when it was demolecularised, so, like I said, I assume your essences, for want of a better term, were mixed…that’s the best I can come up with.” He offered, shrugging apologetically. Dawn nodded slowly.
“So, the TARDIS is the part that allows me to open portals and stuff?” She asked, to clarify. The Doctor nodded enthusiastically at her understanding. Just then, there was as buzzing noise, and two more women materialized in the garden, one blonde, one red head. And the power that rolled off of them both was sending shivers down the Doctor’s spine.
“Doctor?” exclaimed Willow, surprised.
“You’ve met?” Asked Buffy.
“Yes!” Replied Willow, while the Doctor muttered under his breath.
“Not yet.” He repeated more loudly, when they looked at him, surprised.
“We heard you,” replied Faith and Buffy together.
“So, you two are the Immortal Slayers,” he commented, looking them up and down. “And the most powerful Wicca currently alive. Well, what have you stumbled onto, little sister?” He glanced back at Dawn.
“Immortal?” Demanded Faith and Buffy together. “What are you talking about?” Demanded Buffy, staring at him in horror.
“Oh…oh damn…forget I said anything!” He said quickly, but Buffy grabbed him by the collar and hoisted him up.
“I think you should explain what you just said.” She ground out, dangerously.
“Fine, but would you put me down?” He asked. Buffy considered for a moment, then set him back on his feet.
"Now, explain” growled Faith.
“OK, then. You two,” he gestured between Faith and Buffy, “were already Slayers when she,” he pointed at Willow “did her activation spell. That increased the concentration of Slayer power around all of those girls, turning them from Potentials to Slayers, and around the two of you, making you Immortal. Understand?” The girls were all staring at each other.
“Willow, is this true?” Demanded Faith, sounding dangerous, while Buffy was starting to look lost, unhappy and joyful at the same time. Willow just shrugged, then spoke.
“If he says it, it’s true,” she told them, sounding uncertain.
“How?” Demanded Faith, sounding as though she was hanging onto her feelings by a thread.
“Well, just told you that, didn’t I?” Asked the Doctor, neatly defusing the situation.
“Wait a minute, what do you mean, little sister?” Demanded Buffy, her mind suddenly picking up on that additional slip of the tongue. And so the explanations began again, until they were basically back where they started, all sitting on the grass, throwing questions and theories back and forth.
“So, my younger sister, who we always thought was a mystical blob of energy disguised as a human, is actually an alien, no two aliens, turned into energy and mixed up together, shot through a time vortex, then disguised as a human being. That about the it?” Buffy asked, trying to keep calm. The Doctor nodded, while Dawn muttered something under her breath that the TARDIS flatly refused to translate for anyone present who did not speak Galifreyan, and the Doctor stared at her, openmouthed, before telling her in the same language to watch her mouth. She blushed a brilliant shade of red, and mumbled an apology, then blinked and stared at him, open mouthed, unable to believe what had just happened, while Buffy, Faith and Willow were trying to decide between laughing at such an obvious family moment, and shock. They also settled for gaping open-mouthed at her.
“Did I...did I...” she stuttered, unable to get her mind around it. The other girls all nodded slowly, while the Doctor looked thoughtful.
“You said you recognized me?” He asked gently. She nodded, her eyes starting to glisten as what was happening really started to sink in. “I think your personality, or personalities, as the case may be, have been dormant, and that my being here has started them waking up.” He told her gently.
“Am I gonna change completely? Will I still be Dawn, or will I just be the Key?” She asked, sounding like the child she still was, in every sense.
“I don’t know; this has never happened before, but I doubt it.” He told her, trying to encourage her. “I don’t even know how much of the Key will come out in you, if your TARDIS is capable of separating itself, any of that. I might be able to figure some of it out, if you like,” he offered.
“How?” she asked, sounding uncertain.
“I...I can come into your mind, if you’ll let me, and see what there is to be seen, as it were. I’ve heard it described as walking in people’s memories. If you’ll let me, I’ll have a look, see if I can find any answers.” Dawn glanced at Buffy, who frowned, and shook her head slightly.
“Look, no offence, but we really need some kind of confirmation before we just, you know, let you into her head.” Buffy said, while Willow and Faith nodded their agreement.
“All right,” he said, and stood, dusting himself off. They stared at him, trying to understand what he was doing. “Well, come on then!” He told them, leading the way off towards the TARDIS. Exchanging puzzled glances, the group followed.
When the came around the corner to where he had ‘parked’ the TARDIS, Dawn cried out, a strangled gasp. Whirling to check on her, the Doctor saw she was staring at it, recognition bright in her eyes, then she looked at him and spoke in Galifreyan. “Let's not tell them, shall we?” She suggested, and he knew, automatically, that the TARDIS wasn’t translating. He nodded to her, then continued on to the TARDIS.
“What was that?” asked Buffy, sounding suspicious.
“Nothing!” Dawn sang innocently, and the Doctor wondered with a start if she realized she wasn’t speaking English anymore. Apparently she didn’t, and neither did her friends or her sister. The Doctor stopped by the TARDIS, earning the routine derogatory comments, although Dawn stood quiet, her head down, biting her lip. To her family, she looked nervous, but the Doctor could see the suppressed humor in her eyes.
He opened the door, and gestured for them to enter. Dawn scuttled past him, glancing around the interior. ‘He’s redecorated’ was her first thought, followed by one asking how the hell she knew that. Buffy followed her, reaching out to drag her back, and froze, as her eyes went up, then left, then right. Faith shoved her in the back, entering behind her, and Willow squeezed in behind him. At the expression on their faces, Dawn and Willow fell over backwards laughing. The Doctor entered behind them, chivying them all up the ramp, past Dawn, who was slowly recovering from the hilarity of the situation. The Doctor reached down, grabbed her wrist and pulled her upright. “Satisfied, ladies?” He asked.
“You redecorated,” said Dawn, still staring around in surprise. “And how the hell do I know that?” She cried, frustrated. Suddenly, one of the panel started to pulse, and Dawn walked over to it, mesmerized, the others following in her wake. She touched it, and stiffened slightly. The TARDIS began to pulse and hum joyously. Her hand suddenly fell away from the panel, and she stumbled, her legs not wanting to take her weight. The Doctor caught her, and lifted her into one of the nearby chairs. Faith and Buffy were both glaring at him accusingly, while Willow was staring deep into the TARDIS.
“She remembers me!” Whispered Willow in awe. The Doctor nodded absently, concentrating on Dawn, who seemed to come to herself a moment later.
“We doing this?” she asked, as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
“What just happened?” demanded Buffy, getting all ‘big-sister-protective’.
“I connected with the TARDIS…and it connected with the TARDIS in me.” Replied Dawn, sounding puzzled. She shook her head slightly. “I can hear it...I can hear both of them!” Her eyes flew to the Doctor, and he could see the fear and uncertainty, hidden so deep he doubted that any of the other girls could see it, behind the excitement and hope. He smiled gently, and took her hand, squeezing it gently.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” He asked.
“I feel like I have to,” she replied, then looked over at Buffy, who was watching her closely. “I can’t explain it, Buffy, but I have to do this.” She stood, and walked over to her sister, who grabbed her in a hug.
“If this is what you want, do it; I won’t hold you back, goodness knows enough things have in this life,” she whispered in her ear. “Maybe this is going to be your place, like you’ve been looking for.” She added, softly. Dawn nodded, blinking back tears, before turning and hugging Faith and Willow.
“If…If I’m gone, you guys take care of each other, and take care of her, you got that?” She demanded, her eyes shining with unshed tears. They nodded, watching slightly fearfully as Dawn turned back towards the Doctor
“You’re sure, now?” He asked, watching her closely. She nodded decisively, and he stepped forward so that they were facing each other. He reached out and placed his fingers on her temples, closing his eyes, as she did the same. He entered her mind, gently, and began to walk through her memories. Suddenly, he became aware of her, standing beside him.
“Where are we?” She asked, looking around.
“This is your mindscape; your memories, your personality,” he told her. He walked through her earliest ‘real’ memories of Dawn, the ones she’d actually lived. He paused when he found the ones where she found out she was The Key, when she had freaked, and cut herself, and the overall pain that radiated out from that point. He reached out and gave her a hug around the shoulders. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, and she shrugged.
“It happened. I got over it…mostly.” she told him. He nodded, smiling sadly. An already messed up teenager learning she wasn’t even human, hadn’t been born and that none of her memories were real? He was surprised she had come out of it as well as she had, and even more surprised that she was trusting him to show her how different she really was.
“It’s not really that surprising.” She told him, and he realized that she knew what he was thinking. "I’ve known that I’m different, not human, for years now, and it’s made it very hard for me to fit in anywhere.” Some memories flashed by, always starting happy, and ending in rejection and pain. He winced. “So, you say you know who and what I am, I want to know,” she said.
“All right, then, hang on!” He told her, and went deeper, past her human ‘memories’ to her time as the Key in energy form, then beyond that. Dawn cried out, at the memories and feelings that crashed into her mind. She started to fall, and the Doctor sank with her, gathering her in his lap, as they continued through her memories. Then he led her into his, something he had not done in many years, beyond one or two incidences of unauthorized trespassing, and showed her many things. He became aware that she was crying, sobbing quietly into his chest, and he tightened his arm around her, and allowed his hand to fall away from her temple. She clung to him, sobbing at what she had seen. She now had all of the memories of her previous life as the Key, and she knew what had happened after her apparent death. She knew of the destruction of Galifrey, and the deaths of all the others. So, she clung to him and sobbed, and he held her, and together they mourned everything they had lost.
When Dawn finally calmed, she stood, and started to glow. The Doctor heard a very familiar thrump-thrumping sound, and as the glow flew from Dawn’s hands it coalesced into a pulsing light, which topped off a pale mauve phone box.
“Thirtieth Century?” Asked the Doctor, and at Dawn’s nod, he added “nice, but more girly than your normal tastes, isn’t it?” He chuckled.
“He's showing off. He always did have a crush on her,” she replied with a shrug, then turned to face her sister and friends.
“Buffy,” she said, and her sister had stared at her, slack jawed. “It’s still me, mostly, at least the personality is, and I have all of Dawn’s memories.” She realized she had just referred to herself as not being Dawn anymore, and winced internally.
“But you aren’t Dawn anymore, at least, not completely, are you?” Asked Buffy, her lips quivering and tears standing in her eyes.
“No, but I am in every way that matters” replied the other woman. She stepped up to her shorter sister and wrapped her arms around her, holding her tightly. Holding her close, Buffy gasped in astonishment.
“Two hearts…you have two hearts!” She shoved her sister from her, staring at her in horror and amazement.
“So does he,” piped up Willow, looking at Buffy in surprise at her reaction. Buffy continued to back away, shaking her head.
“You’re not my sister!” She declared, and turning, ran out the door. Dawn stared after her in hurt, while Faith glanced back and forth, unable to decide with path to follow. She stepped up to Dawn and gripped her shoulder gently.
“She’ll come around,” she reassured the younger, at least in her perspective, woman. “I’ll go and make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid in the mean time” she added darkly, intending to give Buffy a beating she wasn’t likely to forget anytime soon. Dawn nodded blankly, struggling to contain her emotions at Buffy’s reaction. She hadn’t spoken those words to her in so long, and they hurt more this time than they had the first time they had come out of her sister’s mouth. Willow still seemed to be in shock from Buffy’s reaction, but didn’t seem to know what to say to Dawn, either. She smiled at her, weakly, before taking off after Faith and Buffy, worried about what Faith may do.
Dawn stared after them, disbelief written across her face, before collapsing on the floor, head in her hands as she sobbed. Staring after his sister’s other family in shock and anger, the Doctor dropped to her knees beside her and lifted her into his lap, rocking her gently. When she finally calmed again, he continued to rock her, and finally managed to lull her to sleep. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her back to the medlab, to check something he thought he might have found when he was in her mind. He laid her on the bed/table in the middle of the room, pulled a blanket up over her, and grabbed some diagnostic instruments.
He was sitting beside the bed a while later, mulling over the computer readouts, when Dawn shifted and woke. “Hi, Dee,” she mumbled, grinning slightly, using her nickname for the older brother she adored.
“Heya, KK,” he replied softly.
“Missed you!” She mumbled, raising a hand to rub her face. Closing his eyes the Doctor sighed softly.
“I missed you too, baby, more than you could possibly know.” He leant in and planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
“You might be surprised. You only had a few years to miss me; I’ve been stuck on Earth, completely cut off, for a couple of thousand. I think, at the very least, I understand how much you missed me.” The Doctor stared at her, surprised.
“I was a lot more conscious than the memories you were able to access indicated, but I was able to sleep a lot of the time.” She told him, shrugging slightly. He sighed softly.
“I’m surprised being that alone for so long didn’t drive you mad.” He commented softly, then remembered the readouts he had in his hand, just as she really took notice of where she was.
They spoke simultaneously. “Why am I in the medlab?”
“We need to talk.” they looked at each other, and chuckled.
“What about?” Asked Dawn.
“Your body; it’s dying,” he told her, gently.