In the early hours of a late spring morning, in a house on Revello Drive, Sunnydale, California, a teenaged girl suddenly sat up in bed, eyes wide open; the last words of her dream still vivid in her mind. Here, in a house full of Slayers and potential Slayers, dreams could sometimes be portentous and she was pretty sure that this one was.
She wondered what to do about it; who to tell? The other girls sleeping around her began to awaken before she reached her decision.
In the battleground beneath Sunnydale High School it was becoming increasingly obvious that, despite all bar one of the teenaged girls in the building now being full strength Slayers, the good guys were not winning.
Despite possessing the Ancient Weapon of The Slayer, despite including a witch of enormous power, despite the presence of one of the only two souled vampires, the good guys were not winning.
In fact they seemed to be losing.
At this point in events that ‘bar one’ teenaged girl decided that it was time to put Plan B into operation; Plan B that she had not mentioned to any of the Slayers, new or original formula, or to the witch, or the vampire, not even to the Watcher. No, the only person that Dawn Summers had spoken to about this was a former Vengeance Demon who just happened to be also the one-time proprietor of The Magic Box, Sunnydale’s leading supplier of magical items and spell components.
Now Dawn had to hope that the spell she had concocted, with Anya’s help, was going to work and enable her to get to where she needed to be.
Anya had been very helpful; she had fully understood the need for Plan B, the sense in Plan B as outlined by Dawn, and the need to ensure that no-one else knew of its existence. None of the others was as sensible about these things as Anya, and she and Dawn agreed that it was easier to avoid the inevitable objections to ‘Little Dawn’ doing anything that could be construed as in any way dangerous.
“A spell to make you invisible would be difficult,” Anya had mused, “but to make you seem unimportant, not worth bothering about, now that
is fairly simple. Almost as simple in real life as in that stupid game that Andrew goes on about.”
‘So far, so good,’ thought Dawn, clutching a short sword and dodging between Slayers and Demons, crawling over bodies (trying not to look too closely at any that might have been young girls), and ducking under weapons. She kept as far away from Buffy as possible, just in case the spell didn’t work on the sister who was so used to always trying to keep Dawn safe. After what seemed like hours, but was probably only five or six minutes, she found herself close to the great portal that was the Hellmouth, from which spewed forth a seemingly endless stream of the nightmare vampiric warriors that Buffy’s Watcher, Giles, called Turok-Han.
Getting as close to the edge as possible, Dawn thought again of the words from her dream; “Opening a portal requires complex magic. The Key, alone, is required to close one.”
Remembering the picture that accompanied the words, Dawn quickly drew the blade of the sword across her left fore-arm, and her blood began to flow.
‘How do I get it to the right place?’ Dawn wondered, as the blood simply dripped onto the floor. Letting it run in vaguely the right direction might take too long, or need more blood than she could spare.
She transferred the weapon to her left hand, scooped some of the blood into her right hand, and then threw it as if it was a small ball. An arc of green light followed the progress of the droplets and, as she repeated the process, she felt some of the Turok-Han start to turn towards her. ‘Presumably,’ she thought, ‘this is now an aggressive action!’
The green light was spreading; the blood seemed suspended above the Hellmouth. Dawn scooped and threw again and then took a couple of steps forward to shake the blood directly from the gash in her arm.
Suddenly there was a change in the essence of the sounds around her, as if the sounds of battle themselves were being drawn into the increasing pool of green light, and then it felt as if all the air was being sucked that way too.
Turok-Han seemed to be moving backwards towards the Hellmouth as if drawn by a magnet. Without warning one of them grabbed hold of Dawn, perhaps to stop his inexorable passage back to the Hellmouth, and she felt herself joining the stream. She tried to scream; maybe she succeeded, she thought, but then there was no more air in her lungs and she was falling, tumbling, down, down into blackness.
The battle was raging. Buffy was hitting out at the First’s army with cold efficiency; beside her Spike whirled, attacked, whirled again; around her fought all her sister Slayers. It was not enough; girls were falling and more and more of the Turok-Han kept coming.
This might be her last battle, Buffy thought, striking out again with The Scythe. This might finally be the one that they couldn’t win. But she would go down fighting; she would take as many of these Two Rock Hand things with her as she could.
Slowly Buffy became aware of a change in the atmosphere; the light was taking on a greenish tinge, and the sounds of battle were somehow muffled. She felt something like an electric current run through the battle ground. The Turok-Han nearest her began to look worried and she felt as if it had nothing to do with her.
Buffy glanced towards the Hellmouth where the green glow was getting brighter. “Dawn!” she screamed, recognizing the source of the light, and she began to run; twisting, diving, cutting through the demons in her way as she tried to reach her sister.
Spike ran with her, then Faith, both fending off opponents. Then, all around them, the forces of The First began to move in the same direction; seemingly against their will the Turok-Han were being drawn backwards towards the Hellmouth.
There was a blinding green flash. For a moment Buffy could see nothing and then, as her sight cleared, she could see that the Hellmouth was no more. No more gaping hole, no more troops swarming up, just bare ground.
Slayers all around her were attacking the remaining Turok-Han with renewed fervour, their morale soaring, and she was aware of Faith taking the Scythe from her limp hands and thrusting it left, then right, yelling obscenities, but Spike stood as motionless as a statue.
Buffy could hear two voices screaming “Dawn! Dawn! Dawn!” and “Niblet! Fucking Buggering Hell! Niblet!” over and over again. She slowly realised that the voices belonged to Spike and herself, but she couldn’t move, and she couldn’t stop screaming until the screams became sobs and she felt Spike’s arms around her.
Black. Everything was black. Dawn wasn’t sure if her eyes were open or closed – whichever it was, they were stuck that way. Breathing was almost impossible, her chest wouldn’t move properly, and any air that she did draw in smelled and tasted of blood, smoke and ash.
Most of all, Dawn hurt. The pain was terrible. It wasn’t in any one or two parts of her; all of Dawn Summers was pain. Soon she stopped trying to open or close her eyes, stopped fighting to breathe, and the pain disappeared.
‘I’m dead,’ Dawn thought. She didn’t know how long it had been since she had been unable to breath, but she must surely be dead now. Everything was still black. She tried to move but she couldn’t. She felt as if she was being held tightly – almost as if she was in a cocoon.
She could breathe fairly well – did you need to breathe when you were dead?
The air still smelt slightly of smoke. Maybe she was in Hell?
Actually the smoke wasn’t an unpleasant smell, and there was something else; a smell of greenness, of plants?
‘Hmm – dark, warm, smoky, cocooned – not really sure – Heaven or Hell?’ she wondered.
She tried to listen. What would Heaven or Hell sound like? There seemed to be a low murmur of sound, and distant music; singing perhaps? There was a beautiful sound close by – it might be singing – but it was very unearthly and she couldn’t really make out any words. It wasn’t quite as you would expect Hell to sound, no damned souls screaming or Death Metal, and so perhaps it was Heaven.
She tried again to open her eyes but her eyelids felt heavy and the cocoon seemed to cover them too.
‘Thirsty!’ she suddenly thought, and tried to lick her lips. She felt her tongue move, at least, although it seemed to stick to her lips.
The musical sound in the foreground stopped and she felt movement over her eyes. There was no longer any feeling of them being covered. This time, when she tried to open her eyes, they slowly responded and the colour of the darkness altered – still dark, but now with stars. She could see stars – another point in favour of Heaven then, she thought to herself.
She wanted to move her head, but it wouldn’t turn. Then slowly a face came into view. Pale, ethereal, framed in long pale blond hair.
‘Aha!’ thought Dawn. ‘An angel’.
She felt liquid dripping into her mouth and swallowed gratefully. The angel looked as if it was speaking, but she couldn’t make out any words and, as cool fingers brushed her forehead, her last thought before drifting back into total blackness again was ‘Not exactly like Buffy’s description of Heaven – I don’t remember her mentioning the angels…’
Time probably passed, Dawn had no real way of telling, but now the feeling of being wrapped in a cocoon was different. She felt as if she was being rolled from side to side, there were hands holding her firmly, hands touching her gently, air moving, dampness… pain! She gasped.
Again there was the touch of a cool hand to her forehead; something cool and damp brushed across her eyes and she could open them with a little effort. The face of an angel drifted into sight – she wasn’t sure if it was the same angel, but still beautiful with flowing blond hair.
There was sound, gentle soft sound, but she couldn’t make out any words. Then, as before, fluid was being dribbled into her mouth. She swallowed thankfully and then drifted back into the warm dark.
The pattern repeated a couple of more times and then on one occasion, as she opened her eyes, the figure beside her was surrounded by light. The light hurt; she tried to screw her eyes up to look again and the figure stretched a hand out, as if to shield her from the brightness, enabling her to focus properly.
White, all white – long white hair, long white beard, piercing blue eyes – ‘Fuck!’ thought Dawn, ‘It’s God!’ Followed quickly by ‘Oh no! He’ll throw me out for swearing!’
God smiled at her and seemed to be talking but Dawn couldn’t make out any words. ‘Looks like they were wrong about God talking English, then,’ was her last coherent thought for a while.
There was a lot of movement – Dawn thought that, still wrapped up, she was being carried somewhere and it was not comfortable. There was a lot of noise, voices, footsteps, someone trying to “shush” other people. She hurt too much to bother opening her eyes until she seemed to be being unwrapped, like something from ‘The Mummy’, and she thought she might be lying on a rather hard bed. She still couldn’t move her arms, or one leg, but the other leg moved.
‘Let’s go for the eye-open thing again’, she thought, and managed to lift her lids enough to make out her surroundings. Two angels came into view – except that she would have expected them to wear long white robes and they seemed to be in greys and browns. They were standing right beside her, and they seemed to be arguing with, with… a nun? One of the old fashioned ones who wore long grey robes and had her head covered by a scarf thing. ‘Who’d have thought?’ Dawn marvelled. ‘Nuns in Heaven look like nuns on Earth! But they argue with the angels. Heaven is weird
One of ‘her’ angels looked at her, and must have noticed she was awake, because he smiled, and then called out for someone – it sounded as if he was asking if Elroy was here, maybe. There was an angel called Elroy? Except that the figure who came into Dawn’s field of vision confused her understanding of how things in Heaven worked – he looked like one of the angels but his hair was black.
The angel called Elroy was talking to her, and waving fingers in front of her face, but she couldn’t understand. She tried to shake her head, and winced. Elroy smiled slightly, then produced a glass and a spoon and gave her something nasty tasting to drink.
Dawn’s last thought, as she drifted back into unconsciousness was ‘I don’t think he’s lame or stupid, and his hair certainly doesn’t stick up, but making me drink that stuff was more Angel than angelic.’
Dawn seemed to drift between waking and sleeping for another day or two. She was slowly beginning to conclude that perhaps she wasn’t in Heaven. Although, if it wasn’t Heaven, she couldn’t really work out where it was and she still seemed to have a couple of guardian angels hovering nearby. They still seemed to argue with the nuns about who should go near Dawn to give her drinks or clean her face.
The need to be helped was clearly related to the inability to move bits of herself, Dawn realised, and she began to wonder if this was some sort of hospital. There seemed to be other people in beds nearby and sometimes someone moaned, or cried out, or was sick. But if it was a hospital she was pretty sure that it wasn’t anywhere in California.
Apart from anything else, she couldn’t understand what people were saying, and even if she tried to ask where she was no-one seemed to understand the question.
Just as she had decided, for sure, that this was not Heaven, God walked in.
The ’BtVS’ characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. The 'LotR' characters also, for whom all rights remain with the estate of JRR Tolkein, and the production company responsible for the LotR movies.