Title: Feels like letting go
Summery: Dean and Sam help Buffy and Dawn through Joyce's funeral
Spoilers: Season 5 BTVS Season 1 Supernatural
Notes:Joyce dies a few years after chosen. Dawn is around twenty at the time of this fic
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon and Eric Kripke
Pairings: Sam/Buffy, Dawn/Dean
Sunlight bathed the graveyard in a warm blanket, a mild wind lifted Buffy's hair gently around her shoulders like a mother's caress. The sisters stood on the edge of their mother's grave, staring into the abyss. Buffy's feet were begining to hurt but her sister seemed rooted to the spot, an agonized expression fixed on her face.
Everyone had left, but when Willow had come to Buffy, tilting her head at Dawn in a question Buffy had shook her head. Her sister's fingers were cold in her own but held on steadfastly. Neither were willing to let each other go. Willow had nodded in understanding and had left with the others.
Hours slid by, Buffy could tell it was getting late only by the stiffness of the breeze against her back. Her eyes stung but she didn't have the energy to blink the tears away.
"Dawnie, it's getting late." She didn't know why she said it, she didn't want to leave, and Dawn didn't give any indication that she heard. She simply stood, her face closed off and numb, as if she were a statue. Buffy walked backwards, her back finding the rough bark of a tree. bonelessly she fell to the ground and watched the growing shadow steal the light, it seemed an appopriate melaphor. Dawn's long black coat began to merge with the growing darkness and her baby sister became a dark shadow against the blackness of the night.
"Buffy" The voice was soft, a puff of warm air on her neck, Buffy didn't start even though she was surprised, she simply let Sam wrap his arms around her.
It had been a long time since she had allowed herself to be held, especially by Sam. The year and the half they had spent together seemed like a beautiful dream, a dream that she tortured herself with when she had returned home, blaming herself for leaving after the last battle with the First, with Dawn hoping to build some bridges with her sister, to make good on her promise, leaving her mother in the capable hands of Faith-the ultimate gesture of healing between the two oldest slayers. She had just wanted some time for herself. To not be defined as the slayer. The Hellmouth was well protected by the slayers created by Willow and Buffy had been able to see a life for herself, able to see the beauty of life that had eluded her for so long. She wanted to show Dawn the whole wide world. She wondered if Dawn blamed her too, sometimes when Dawn looked at her, Buffy felt the weight of her blame as if Dawn was asking how Willow and Buffy could protect the town of Sunnydale from the First with a blanket of magic that had supressed the First's power and kept Sunnydale standing but there was no magic to save their mother.
"I got here as soon as I got your call." Sam said quietly, seemingly unwilling to break the strange spell that had been cast over them, Buffy didn't even dare breath too hard in case the silence shattered, sending her tumbling into the black choas that raged beneath. Buffy frowned, her muscles protesting at the gesture.
Had she called Sam? She couldn't remember doing it, but then she hadn't really been in control these past few days. She settled into Sam's embrace, greatful from a far off place for the warmth he provided.
"How are you?" Sam whispered, rubbing her arms with his hands, trying to bring warmth into her frozen limbs. Buffy shook her head.
"I'll tell you when I can feel again."
"I can wait." Sam promised, and for the first time since she had found out her mother was dead-no for the first time since she found out about her mother's cancer, Buffy believed it.
"How is she?" Sam asked, his worried older brother gaze on Dawn. Buffy shrugged.
"She found mom, when she got back from classes, had a meltdown, screamed for what seemed like months and then..." She flapped an arm at the figure. "This. Nothing."
"She's in shock." Buffy nodded, they had both saved enough people to reconize the haunted, desolate, hollow look in Dawn's face. She had made an effort, for her sister and friends, but Dawn was a part of her, they were two sides of the same coin, just as Sam and Dean were, and Dawn's raw, anguish colided with a cold, frozen place inside Buffy like giant bells clanging together, leaving them both deafened.
Buffy leaned back against Sam, her long blonde hair pressing against his neck and he nuzzled the warm strands for a moment. Buffy sighed, feeling the first painful pinpricks of feeling emerge in her bones.
"Can you stay?" Buffy implored.
"Yes." Sam promised fiercely, holding her tightly. "I'll stay."
"I missed you." Buffy admitted, addressing the grass beneath her, honesty had always been hard for her, there was so much of her life she couldn't share, even with her friends, there was no point lying now. She had to be strong for Dawn, and she needed to be honest.
"I hated leaving you, Sam, but I..."
Sam shushed her gently. "You left because your mom got sick, it was the right thing to do."
"I thought you would hate me, that I'd never see you again."
"I never hated you Buffy, I admired your courage, and Dawn's, you couldn't let your mother suffer alone Buffy, that's not who you are, and Dean knows it as well."
Buffy tensed, wishing Sam had never brought his brother up as her eyes fell on her sister, standing alone in the dark,a quiet, unknowable figure.
"I wi-I wanted things to be different." Buffy murmured softly.
Sam knew something was wrong the second Buffy emerged from the hotel lobby into the bright sunlight. He squinted his eyes as Buffy cast a long look over the parking lot and then made a beeline for her sister. Sam moved to intercept her, not liking the expression on the slayers face but she brushed him aside.
Something in her tone made Dawn look up immediately even as she clung tightly to the packet of M&M's she was fighting Dean for.
"Dawn, Mom's sick."
Dawn's whole face froze, Dean gently took her hand but Dawn couldn't look away from Buffy's face.
"We have to go home." Buffy continued, she couldn't bring herself to look at Sam. "Pack up your things."
She turned and strode back to the hotel, Sam followed her, moving in front to stop her. Buffy scowled but she didn't threaten to go through him.
"Buffy, talk to me."
"I told you Sam, Mom's sick so Dawn and I have to go home."
"No one's arguing, Buffy I just want to help you, what's going on? I mean what's wrong with your Mom?"
Buffy hugged herself, and Sam could see the glaze of tears in her eyes. "They think it's cancer" she whispered.
Sam reached out for her and to his relief Buffy tumbled into his arms, wrapping her smaller arms around his waist. He could feel tears begin to drench his T shirt. He held her tight, they hadn't known each other long, had only been together a few months, there was so much of her life back in Sunnydale he didn't know, didn't know how to comfort someone as strong and powerful as the slayer. But he hadn't fallen in love with the slayer, he had fallen for Buffy, the sweet, funny girl, a girl who was vulnerable despite her strength.
"I have to help her, Sam." Buffy whispered. Sam's big hands wrapped around her back tightly.
Dawn exloded into movement the moment Buffy had told her, she wrenched her hand out of Dean's despite Dean's attempt to hold her. The only thing in Dawn's mind was getting back to Sunnydale, to find out what was wrong with her mother. She took of her knapsack and knelt on the scorching hot ground, unzipping her bag and rifling through the contents at speed. She took two books out that belonged to Sam.
"Can you get my crossbow and my machete, you can keep the sword I don't need it."
"Dawn." Dean started but Dawn couldn't look up. The panic was rising inside of her but there was a cold, numb part of her that knew what was going to happen and was shutting down her emotions to do it.
Dean let out his breath noisily but his shadow moved away and the sound of the trunk opening filled the silence. She stood casting a glance at the hotel willing her sister to hurry. Every second they delayed was another second that her mother was alone, possibly in pain.
"We shouldn't have left her," Dawn murmured under her breath and Dean could hear 'We shouldn't have stayed'
She felt him behind her, and she turned, his lean body cutting off the glare of the sun for a moment. His handsome face was worried and tense. She took the proffered weapons, and when his arms were free they fell to his sides helplessly.
The silence stretched between them, the long waiting before the storm. The desire was burning inside Dawn, in that moment she wanted to beg him to come with her, to help her through this, but she knew Dean, knew he would never leave this life, not when his father had gone missing it would be a waste of breath and so she kept silent.
Buffy and Sam appeared and Dean moved to the drivers side. Buffy slid into the passenger side to give directions. There was nothing left to do but to drive.
It was fully dark now, but Buffy was settled, comfortable in Sam's embrace. She leaned on Sam's strong shoulder and although she felt as if she were breathing methane it was slightly easier with Sam by her side.
"Is Dean here?" Buffy asked, she could feel him nodding. "He went to your house, just in case you went home."
"Dawn needs him" Buffy murmured. She stiffened as a figure appeared in the blackness,but relaxed as the familiar shape of Dean came into view. He was silent, wrapping his arm around Dawn. Her sister shrugged him off but Dean held tight and after a moment Dawn relaxed into him.
Buffy felt as if her soul had been ripped from her body, her grief surrounded her, but because of Sam it wouldn't overcome her. The long months of fear and lonliness were over. Her old life was over, but she wasn't giving up, she couldn't.
Goodbye Mom. I'll take care of Dawn, I promise.
The promise was sealed with a kiss.