~ three ~
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy. I do not own Twilight. If you think I do, please make your way to the nearest insane asylum and let the nice doctors give you some medicine. Oh, wait, they have their own Maggie Walsh? So sad for you.
Timeframe: for Buffy, post-Chosen
. For Twilight, this turns AU during Eclipse
after the newborn smackdown. The Cullens won, but not without a terrible price.EDIT: I am SO, SO, SO sorry to anyone still reading this story. It's not abandoned, just stalled. I've removed the beginning of Buffy and Carlisle's story, because I knew it was going to be longer than appropriate for inclusion within this story. I've posted it separately on my account here, under the title Chasing Elizabeth. Please don't kill me!
It seemed the destiny of libraries everywhere to be the hub of Slayer-related powwows, Dawn thought as she looked around. Xander, Willow, even Faith had gathered to hear about the newbies. All that was missing were Giles, Oz, and a plate of doughnuts. Buffy sat next to the stranger on the couch, the dark-haired teens that were so not of the living at either end. Xander sprawled in one of the wingback chairs, Willow perching on one of his handrests, and Faith was lounging against a nearby bookshelf, cleaning her fingernails with a dagger.
“Who the hell are you?” Loud, brash, and pointed as a stake to the heart, Dawn was making sure that everyone knew that she WAS NOT HAPPY about the latest arrivals.
The last time Buffy visited Castle Daphne she had stayed for two weeks, yet Dawn had only managed to see her sister three days out of those fourteen. And now, eight months and four international phone calls later, this pasty-skinned Dracula-wannabe thought he could just show up and take over Summers sister time? Yeah, the guy was a vampire, smarter than the average bear, here. She snorted, arms folding defensively against her chest. Pale skin, yellow eyes, and his breathing act collapsed under her Sunnydale-honed instincts.
And the vamps with him? So not making with the normal: one looked like he’d taken injections for bearhood and the other was all rabbit-y, twitching and wrinkling her nose all over the place. You’d think they’d never been around a bunch of humans before, judgmental bloodsuckers.
Her eyes narrowed, a malicious glint turning her sharp look into a Summers-sized glare. If they got twitchy, she’d make with the dusting. Then there’d be plenty of time for sisters. Something of her thoughts must have translated to the blond vampire, as he gave her a measuring glance. Dawn hunched inward slightly, irritated that she’d failed to ruffle his calm. Seriously, the guy was like ice. And why did it seem like she’d just been a disappointment to him?
“My name is Carlisle Cullen.” He spoke softly, his speech pitched low. “I am a friend of Elizabeth. These are my children, Emmett and Alice.”
Something in his face called to her …the way his gold eyes dimmed as he said their names, the way his voice seemed to catch and break. There was no begging, no pleading, a simple asking for understanding. Of what, Dawn didn’t know, and it was making her very uncomfortable. She didn’t want to feel sorry for these people. She didn’t want to hear their stories, prophecies, or mystical whatchamawhosits. Buffy was home, for now, and they were supposed to go shopping, see a movie, or maybe even stab evil things with pointy swords: the usual sister stuff.
She looked at the others and sighed. They seemed willing to let the guy speak, and grumpy brattiness aside, Dawn could admit, if only to herself, that she was a little curious. And sad. How many more secrets had Buffy been hiding all these years?
Her sister seemed to sense the direction of her thoughts, a serene expression on her face. “It’s a long story, Dawnie. I never told anyone.”
“Why not?” Willow didn’t seem angry, just curious, and maybe a little sad as well. There were lines around her eyes that hadn’t been a year ago, after Sunnydale. Her hair, though still a vibrant ruby red, was threaded with silver, the result of so much magic used in the re-creation of the Council.
Buffy shrugged, her hand in Carlisle’s tightening. “I wasn’t ready.”
“But how did you two meet?” The redhead appeared to be remembering the nights on patrol.
A smile quirked at the edge of Buffy’s lips. “Would you believe me if I said we met through a time-split?”
“Was it a Tuesday?” Xander smiled at her to take the sting out of his words. Previously slumping in the wingback, he now sat forward, hands on his knees, carefully watching the blond Slayer with a sharp eye.
“When did you meet?” Willow persisted.
Buffy grinned. “Victorian France.” Eyes sparkling at their rolled eyes, she continued, “On the way back from LA.” Her smile slipped. “After Acathla.”
She was silent after that, as were the rest of them. Not much could be said about that time without opening up a whole new can of worms. Xander stared at the floor, Willow stared at the ceiling, Faith watched them all, and Dawn studied her hands.
After several uncomfortable minutes, the dark Slayer spoke, startling the room. “Victorian. With corsets and ankle porn and shit?”
Dawn rolled her eyes, sighing in not-relief. Trust Faith to find the sexual side of anything. Buffy shot the dark Slayer a grin. The blond Slayer nodded, her gaze falling to the coffee table.
Faith smirked. “Kinky.”
For the first time, the bearish vamp at Carlisle’s side cracked a smile. The blond vampire himself seemed to hide a grin, a light dancing in his gold eyes. He shared a look with the blond Slayer, something unspoken passing between them. Buffy sat forward, her hand still tightly clenched around his.
“I was on the Greyhound back to Sunnydale.” She spoke softly, her eyes losing focus as she remembered. “We’d just pulled in to the San Roque bus stop, and there was this demon that tried to eat my shoes in the bathroom…”
Her voice was soft as she spoke, telling them about the portal and her arrival, telling them about meeting Carlisle, telling them about their adventures between chuckles and warm looks at the blond vampire. Faith wasn't the only one to notice Carlisle's hands tightening around the blond Slayer's fingers as she spoke about sneaking away.
“Ya could’ve played dumb, yo, with Slay-gal ready and waiting to dust ya,” she pointed out softly, once Buffy had fallen silent.
Carlisle said nothing, studying the hand clasped in his own. “She was alone, with such pain and sadness within her. I had to try.”
Dawn refused to cry.
So, that’s it for now. *ducks flying vegetables* Was this worth the wait? And can I say I’m sorry?