Between Life and Death (Dawn Summers/D'Anna Biers)
: 15, for adult content, language and violenceDisclaimer
: I do not own the genres I write about. Joss Whedon owns Buffyverse and the respective owners of the crossovers own the other half. I just own a piece of the plot.Summary
: We born, we live and we die. This is the moment before death when every second comes in perfect clarity. Some FFA, some not, where a Scooby is either the loved or the lost at the moments before and after death.Pairing
: Dawn Summers/D'Anna Biers (BSG) – 2200 wordsSpoilers
: From ‘Sometimes a Good Notion’; do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled.
~ ~ ~
Between Life and Death
The waves rolled and pitched, muddy waters swirling over rocks stripped clean of the hazardous fallout years before. The silence was deafening, but the roll and toil of the water was the one thing that kept D’Anna Biers near the river. The sky was grim and grey and the world around her was just as desolate, just as empty, just as meaningless as her own existence. It was the existence she had chosen to give up. She was the only model of her number left in the universe and it was her time to die. As the scriptures had said, there was a time to be born and a time to die. For a cylon, the fact that they were days apart would have once been ludicrous, but faith had given D’Anna the short stick of reality. She had nothing anymore, except shattered beliefs. What good was her existence when her entire race was about to die, anyway?
She turned from such dark thoughts, past the waves that crashed up against the debris and focused her attention on the sky. The sun was barely visible behind the thick sheet of clouds.
She had a few days of provisions. That was all she had taken, preferring to leave the rest up to the survival of the cylon race. She just didn’t care about her own line anymore, tarnished and wiped out. It made no sense, but things rarely had such clarity as the moment where she said she wanted to walk this world alone and to die upon the cylon homeworld, believing that there could have been a better tomorrow.
She was jarred from her thoughts. She wasn’t projecting, because she wouldn’t be sitting in front of a massive beach fire if she was. It was almost as though someone was walking along the shore, visible only when the swirling mist rose from the impact of water on rocks.
D’Anna rose to her feet and ventured out into the nightly shadows. “Hello?” she called out. The figure didn’t look up. “Hello?”
Everything on Earth was dead, she reminded herself. Why was she seeing ghosts?
The figure started and turned towards her. D’Anna knew she had never seen this woman before.
“You can see me.” It was more of a rhetorical statement than a question.
“Yes.” D’Anna offered a smile, the best smile one could muster when surrounded by such disappointments. “Yes, I can see you.”
The girl turned back towards the water. “It’s been years since anyone has seen me.”
“Years?” D’Anna asked lightly.
“It’s cold out.”
“I have a fire.”
Once the girl was sitting in front of the fire, D’Anna was finally able to look at her in ample light. The girl was pearly white and nearly translucent, practically invisible against the murky darkness behind her. But the girl stretched her hands towards the fire, flexing long fingers.
“Can you feel it?”
“Almost,” the girl replied sadly. “I didn’t know anyone was here.”
“Where did you come from?” D’Anna asked. “Everyone left days ago.”
The girl looked at her with an unwavering gaze. “From California, actually.” At D’Anna’s curious look, the girl smiled wistfully. “Yeah, I’m from Earth. I lived here before it became… this.” She looked around at the massive destruction around her and sighed deeply.
“How?” D’Anna asked. “It’s been thousands of years since anything lived on this planet.”
“It’s my blood,” the girl replied. “But, as time went on, everything just kind of faded away.” Her lips twisted into a sarcastic smile. “It’s sad when everyone wanted the key protected, but in the end I outlived them all. Except you.” Again, she focused on D’Anna. “Where are you from?”
“I’m a Cylon.”
The girl smiled. “So am I.” She looked back to the fire. “I’m Dawn Summers.”
“D’Anna Biers.” The older woman leaned forward and prodded the fire with a large stick.
“Why are you here, D’Anna Biers?”
“I’m from the original twelve colonies,” D’Anna explained. “This planet was our last hope.”
“The last hope for humans?” Dawn asked humorlessly. “Millions of people died when the centurions nuked Earth. Unless you want to live in radioactive farming communities, I don’t think anyone is living here.”
“That’s why I stayed behind,” D’Anna admitted. “It’s my time to die.”
“Do you have a ship?”
“You know about resurrection, Dawn?”
“I know that there were people working on it,” Dawn replied. “I don’t remember everything. Two thousand years of silence will do that to you.”
D’Anna looked up at the scatter of stars hidden behind the thick cloud cover. “We destroyed our one chance at resurrection,” she said finally. “So we are truly mortal souls.”
“Except I can’t die,” Dawn deadpanned. “I’ve wanted to, for so long. I want to be back with my mother and my sister and everyone I ever cared about. They’ve been gone for so long, I can’t remember…” Her tone faded away and she looked out at the fire with a haunted expression clouding her eyes.
“If you’re a Cylon and you’re originally from Earth, you must be one of the final models.”
“I don’t know… am I?”
D’Anna leaned forward, her chin perched on her hand. “Have you ever met any of the Final Five? Saul and Ellen Tigh, Galen Tyrol, Tory Foster or Samuel Anders?”
Dawn frowned as she concentrated on the names, rolling them around what remained of her brain. “I know Galen Tyrol,” she said after a few moments as the fire crackled, sending sparks up into the air. “I interviewed him when he was in Los Angeles. He was working on a contract with a company to design a new style of ship. It was rumored he was working on resurrection design. I almost wish it still existed. It’d be nice to die and be reborn and then die again; to know something other than existing between life and death.”
She felt the weight of D’Anna’s gaze on her. “Maybe it’s destiny I found you, then.”
“It’s not destiny,” Dawn replied. “It’s life. I never wanted this. I never wanted any of this.” She looked out at the water, bubbling and churning closer as the tide rose. Dawn Summers leaned forward on her elbows as brilliant sunshine shone through the ground-floor classroom of her journalism class. At the front of the room, the professor had just taken a slip of paper handed to her by one of the student aides. The aide had backed over, looking nervous. Dawn straightened up as the woman smoothed the paper and read in a shaking voice:
“We have more information available from the rumored attacks in Europe this morning.” The professor’s voice broke. “There have been nuclear detonations in New York, Philadelphia, Washington… all down the east coast.”
Dawn felt her heart stop beating. Her eyes widened as she thought of her sister, Buffy Summers, in New York, along with everyone she cared about. She felt her body tremble and saw the other students react, clasping horrified hands over their mouths. Some were taking comfort in one another, pulling others in for hugs, taking one another’s hands.
She remembered seeing two centurions when she had interviewed Galen Tyrol. They had been offloading heavy equipment onto some sort of machine. Had she not watched them, wondering what they were doing? Had they not looked up at her, knowing that in just a few short months, they would be detonating nuclear devices on Earth?
There was suddenly a bright flash and an unnatural hush fell over the classroom. Dawn felt herself drawn to the window, as were other students, seeing the mushroom-shaped cloud of smoke over the Hollywood hills sign. Her eyes widened as another detonation flashed. She barely had the time to register the professor yelling for everyone to get out of the classroom, to hear the panic-stricken screams as the doors were kicked open and students filed into the hallways. Dawn could only stare at the wall of fire and debris rushing towards them at speeds that her mind could never comprehend. She had only turned away from the window, grabbing the arm of the boy standing next to her when the windows shattered and she felt herself being picked up and thrown towards the wall before everything went dark.
When she woke up, everything was dark. Her arm ached, but that was the least of her worries. She listened for the sound of distant sirens, of people screaming or crying, of anything… but instead, she heard nothing. There were no sirens. There were no sounds of muffled sobs, of people screaming in pain, of flashbulbs popping as journalists crowded around what remained of Los Angeles, California.
Dawn stood up, nearly hitting her head on the ceiling that had collapsed over her head. She pushed aside concrete blocks and found herself outside. The seven-story building over her head had collapsed. She held her aching arm to her body and saw the unnatural angle, figuring she had broken it. She rubbed at her head, feeling the cluster of broken blood vessels and the swollen lump beneath her probing fingertips. She looked around, trying to see if any one of the fifty classmates had survived.
All were dead. She was greeted with silence, even as her shrill voice filled the night. She looked frantically underneath tons of debris, only to find scattered bodies, most of them in various positions of escape. She pressed her fingers to necks, pleaded with the Gods to have let someone survive this nightmare with her.
But the Gods had fallen silent on Dawn Summers.
She backed away, choking out a sob. The entire campus was gone. The entire city was gone. It was dark, with scattered fires providing all the light a cylon would need.
The medical center had imploded, its supplies rolling down the street. Dawn gathered what she could to bandage her arm in a sling and to give herself a dose of something to cure the insufferable headache that followed unconsciousness.
There was a convenience store off of campus that gave her water. An old shotgun was give her enough protection until she could find other survivors. The old man that ran the gas station wouldn’t care, as his glass-ridden body was found and covered with an old hunter’s jacket.
Dawn walked out into the twilight, armed with an old shotgun, bottles sticking out of a brilliant orange bag, arm in a sling and her body wrapped in a warm coat she’d found on the street, likely dropped by its owner as they ran for their lives from the flash of nuclear detonations…
Dawn snapped back to attention as she stared out over the fire. She could see the pitying look in D’Anna’s eyes. “We didn’t do it right, so they turned against us,” she finally said.
“We destroyed the twelve colonies,” D’Anna replied, “because they didn’t do it right. The humans created the centurions and treated them as slaves.”
“So the story is in an ironic, full circle,” Dawn said in a heavy voice as she stared out into the night. “I’m just glad to see one of my kind.”
D’Anna’s smile was sad. “I have no intention of sticking around.”
“All the stories I could tell you,” Dawn murmured. “About everything and everyone… they would have loved to meet you. What was your purpose?”
“I was the one that was curious about what lay between life and death,” D’Anna admitted. “I wanted to see the Final Five with my own eyes.”
“The others of my kind boxed me. They only brought me back in order to end civil war.”
“Did they leave you here?” Dawn asked.
“This was my choice,” D’Anna admitted. The wind picked up then, sending embers and sparks towards the water.
“I have an old shelter nearby. There isn’t much there, since it’s been two thousand years since I’ve been able to touch anything. But there is a bed and blankets and I’ve tried to keep as much preserved as I could because I knew someday someone would come for me.” She looked up at D’Anna. “They’ll come for you, too. You are one person and they can’t afford to leave anyone behind.”
“This was my choice,” D’Anna affirmed loudly. “I chose to die here.”
“If you die here, who will listen to my stories?” Dawn asked softly. At D’Anna’s curious look, she continued. “I’ll tell you about my meeting with Galen Tyrol.”
After D’Anna was relocated to the shelter, she found herself surrounded by cots, flats of water that was now undrinkable, boxes of army supplies that were unusable and a trunk of things that Dawn said she had kept for posterity. There were lanterns that hung, boxes of matches that were mostly in cinders, but could still be used.
“Where are you going?”
Dawn paused, one foot out the door. “You interrupted me on my walk,” she said with a pout.
“Will you come back?”
Dawn smiled into the night. “Will you still be here when I get back?”
D’Anna gave her a long look, her face nearly angelic from the light of the flickering lanterns around her. Without another word, Dawn stepped out of the tent.~ ~ ~A/N
: I have a deep fondness in my heart right now for Battlestar Galactica stories and crossovers, mainly because this story is coming to an end. This isn't replacing the Firefly cross, but is instead just fulfilling a few little hoppity bunnies that won't leave me alone. Happy reading. :)