“So Angel of the emo was replaced by Angelus the evil and Buffy didn't do anything?”
Xander shrugged. “The man she loved was dead. Well, he was always dead... let’s try that again, imagine you fell in love with someone.”
Dawn smiled and hugged him a little tighter which he naively thought meant she was thinking of one of the boys at her school.
“Now imagine he suddenly does a complete 180 personality wise. Sure you know his soul is gone, but the demon has his body, mind, memories, and mannerisms making it hard not to see him as his other self.”
Dawn shivered, her ear pressed against Xander's chest as she listened intently to his heartbeat – her smile gone.
“That was what Buffy was facing, and to make matters worse Angelus was a true Master vampire, every bit her equal in battle, even when she wasn't having a hard time raising her hand against him,” Xander explained sadly.
“If you were turned, what would you want done to the vampire wearing your face?” Dawn asked.
“Stake him,” Xander said instantly. “If there is a monster wearing my face and stalking everyone I care about I want it gone. If you are ever faced with a vampire Xander kill it. I don't want you getting hurt because of me.”
“Wouldn't Angel have wanted the same?” Dawn asked.
Xander smiled a little. “Yeah I think he would.”
“So she should have staked him,” she said firmly.
“For Buffy to do that she'd have to admit he was gone and Angelus …” Xander sighed. “Angelus was such a crazy moron; killing Willow's goldfish, sneaking in here to leave a picture of Buffy sleeping on her bed, it took her killing someone Buffy knew to make her admit that Angel was gone and she wasn't getting him back.”
“Miss Calendar?” Dawn asked.
“Her actual name was Jana Kalderash and Giles was deeply in love with her. She was chosen by her people to watch over Angel and make sure he stayed miserable so the curse wouldn't be broken. Unfortunately she never counted on Buffy falling in love with him. Buffy, unlike most Slayers, can only sense vampires when on her period – don't ask me why, so she got to know him as a person before finding out he was a vamp otherwise none of this would have happened.”
“I'd like to think my sister wouldn't start chasing a man twice her age, because that’s seriously trampy. It’s like those high school girls who go to frat parties and are surprised to find out they got drunk and had sex with half the room.”
Xander laughed nervously.
Dawn lifted her head off Xander's chest and stared him in the eyes. “Xander... Did you go to a sorority house and get drunk and end up having sex with half the girls there?”
“No. No!” Xander swore. “I went to a fraternity house to save Buffy, Cordelia, and Harmony from a snake demon.”
Dawn groaned. “Great, my older sister is a tramp.”
Xander winced. “She's not that bad.”
“She chases after way older men and goes to frat house parties... What would you call her?”
He cleared his throat but didn't answer her question. “How about we get back to the story?”
Dawn sighed. “Fine, but edit out any more details that make my sister look like little Miss Susie Round Heels, please.”
Xander paused and went over the story in his head while wondering exactly how they'd reached this point.
Dawn groaned as Xander was thinking over the story. “There are that many bits?!”
“No!” he quickly promised. “I'm just wondering how we got from, terrible things happened to Buffy, to God what kind of tramp is she?”
“It’s the dating much older guys bit to start. He was way too old for her and then it turns out that my sister goes to places that people only go to get drunk and have sex!”
“Well, being the Slayer is a death sentence,” Xander pointed out. “She may have been rushing things so she could actually experience them before it was too late.”
“Being alive is a death sentence,” Dawn argued. “And that whole short life to live only works for a short period of time! After the first couple of years it’s just not a good excuse anymore.”
“She did die once already,” Xander replied.
“So, how is she still walking around then?” Dawn asked skeptically.
“I know CPR.” Xander grinned. “It was a whole big deal with the world's strongest vamp and she died, but I brought her back and she staked the vamp.”
“Wow, she must have been really thankful for you saving her.” Dawn smiled warmly at him.
Dawn's smile faded as she took in the closed expression on Xander's face. “She was thankful – right? Please, for the love of god, tell me she didn't go all emo and give you some speech about how you'd ripped her out of heaven or something?”
“No, she didn't give me a speech or anything like that,” Xander promised and tried to change the subject, “Now Giles...”
But Dawn wasn't having any of it. “She said thanks, right?”
“Not exactly …” Xander hedged. “She was a little crazy from the whole 'I was dead' deal at the time.”
“So what did she do?” Dawn asked in a tone that showed she was indeed Joyce's daughter.
Xander winced but replied, “She gave me a lap dance to make Angel jealous.”
Dawn slumped back down and hugged Xander tightly. “Thank you for saving my slutty sister, you don't have to edit the story I'm fine with it.”
“Buffy, who has saved my life many times...” Xander pointed out, rejoining the story.
“And has super powers so it doesn't count as much, and I'm damn sure she didn't pull you back from death itself,” Dawn grumbled.
Xander winced. “Buffy grew angry when Jana revealed who she was and accused her of doing something to Angel before driving her from the group.”
“How exactly did the curse get broken?” she asked suddenly.
“Well on Buffy's seventeenth birthday your virgin sister,” Xander said, emphasizing the word virgin. “Gave her virginity to the man she loved and that moment of perfect happiness broke the curse,” he said firmly.
“Virgin my ass,” Dawn muttered. “I recall overhearing... Ok, I admit it I was listening in on the extension,” she admitted. “My sister was telling one of her cheerleading friends that she had slept with the quarterback when she was a freshman in LA.”
“Angelus was sure she was a virgin,” Xander said.
“Well, he'd have to take her word for it wouldn't he?” Dawn pointed out. “Do you really think she still had her hymen with all the splits and kicks she did as a cheerleader? I've been in gymnastics for a couple of years and believe me when I say after the first split, it’s all over.”
Dawn blinked and looked at him strangely. “I know guys like to brag, but how did you and Angelus the dater of skanky older sisters, end up talking about it?”
“Remember when Buffy got the flu and was in the hospital? Well Angelus came by planning on turning her, we exchanged some words and he left.”
“Was Buffy thankful for you saving her life that time? How did you get him to back off? Why would he tell me the state of my sister's virginity?” she quickly rattled off.
“Buffy doesn't know,” Xander admitted.
“Wow, that lapdance must have SUCKED!” Dawn broke in.
Xander snickered. “You could say that. I don't know why he backed off, I wasn't even armed at the time, but I challenged him; he called me a White Knight, commented on sex with your sister and then left.”
Dawn smiled. “Anyone who knows you knows you're a white knight.”
“And then, while still sick, your sister hunted down an invisible demon that was killing babies in the hospital and slayed it,” Xander said proudly.
“Ok.” Dawn sighed. “I'll lay off my sister. Was it a fearsome demon?”
“Looked like the grim reaper complete with scythe, was invisible unless you were sick and was strong and quick,” he replied. “A bit heavy too, she made me dispose of the body.”
Dawn looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.
“What?” Xander asked nervously.
“You still have the invisible scythe don't you?” she asked knowingly.
“Kinda,” he admitted.
Dawn frowned in thought before grinning. “It’s lost in your room isn't it?”
“Let’s see you try to find an invisible object in my room,” Xander snorted.
Dawn grinned. “So my sister's behavior is not only fine, she's someone young girls like me should be like?”
“Yes, she's a good role model.” Xander smiled. “She's a hero of mine.”
“So as a high school freshman I should have sex with the quarterback of the football team?”
“Hearsay!” Xander said quickly. “I've often heard bragging from Harmony and Cordelia about something I know neither one has done.”
“Really? What?” Dawn asked doubtfully.
“Me,” Xander said firmly.
Dawn's smile grew. “Ok fine, I'll give you that, I know I don't even have to ask about dating a vampire because I'm not into dead things even if they still move but … I want your word you'll answer this question honestly.”
Xander nodded but Dawn still waited until he sighed and raised his right hand. “I Xander, no admitted middle name Harris swear to answer one Dawn Summers question honestly and to the best of my ability.”
“Good.” Dawn grinned. “If I went to a frat house party what would you do?”
“Tire iron or baseball bat, five gallons of gasoline, some matches, and a twenty pound bag of salt,” Xander said thoughtfully.
“Oh, sorry,” Xander lied. “I thought you said, what would I need.”
“Need?” Dawn asked confused.
“Yep, to kneecap every single fratboy that got within ten feet of you, before burning the place down, pissing on the ashes, and salting the ground so nothing would ever grow again,” Xander's tone was thoughtful, but his eyes danced as if he were picturing the flames and his grin would have made a number of people wet themselves.
Coincidentally he was staring directly into the nanny cam when he said that.
Dawn went back to snuggling her Xander quite happily, convinced his answer meant he cared more for her than Buffy.
“Fine, Buffy has many fine qualities that people would do well to emulate. Her choices in societal venue and dates not included,” Xander said firmly.
“I also dislike her cartoon choices,” Dawn pointed out.
“That’s more along the lines of personal taste and completely subjective. I've always been a firm supporter of everyone watching whatever cartoon they like.”
“Smurfs are evil,” Dawn said shuddering.
“I will make a note of your preference and never subject you to them, but my point still stands,” Xander said refusing to bend.
“That’s all I ask,” she replied agreeably.
After a few minutes of silence while Dawn quietly enjoyed her position Xander spoke up, “What was I doing?”
“Before we got sidetracked by my sister's bad points you were telling me a story about recent events.”
“Where was I?” Xander asked.
“Buffy forced Jana out of the group,” Dawn replied, repressing any comments about Buffy using her sluttiness to dispel an ancient curse.
“Giles loved Jana, but he felt betrayed that she hadn't confided in him, as did some of the others. Despite the fact that our group doesn't exactly share secrets either, unless forced to. Jana felt she had to redeem herself in Giles' eyes, even though she'd done no wrong and Giles had simply backed Buffy because as a Watcher his duty is to support his Slayer even above the dictates of his own heart.”
Xander sighed. “So she requested and received the original spell that was used to curse Angelus over a century ago. Unfortunately it was in a forgotten gypsy language that no gypsy alive knew. The Nazi's and the Scourge of Europe had been hard on the Tribes, taking many branches and families before they could pass on their knowledge. Somehow Angelus got word of what she was doing, so he killed her and destroyed everything … Except one disc she managed to hide.”
“Does this story have a happy ending?” Dawn asked hopefully.
“For a couple of people it’s a sad ending, for the rest … well you'll just have to listen and see.”
“Ok,” she agreed.
“When I gave Buffy CPR and brought her back, a second Slayer had already been called. So Kendra, the second Slayer was called by Prophecy to join us and she brought with her a blessed sword and some incomprehensible writings that Giles had to translate.”
“You guys sure do a lot of translating,” Dawn said.
“You have no idea.” Xander sighed. “Willow had discovered the disc Jana had hidden and finally deciphered it, so we all gathered in the school's library where she was going to recast the curse.”
“Willow can cast ancient gypsy curses?”
Xander shrugged. “She was going to try and no one wanted to hear any naysaying.”
“You didn't approve?” Dawn asked.
“A novice witch, unfamiliar magic, a curse which is bad juju to begin with, and ripping a soul out of the afterlife to make a demon suffer. No, it had BAD IDEA written in flaming letters ten feet high written all over it, but Buffy wanted Angel back and Willow seems to have become Buffy's follower, so my opinion was ignored.”
“So what happened?”
“Buffy was lured off, despite requests to wait and not run off into another trap, as she always does. And as usual she decided to, as she always does. And once again it was just a distraction so they could attack the library. End result; Willow and Oz were knocked out, I was unconscious with an injured arm beneath a bookcase, Giles was kidnapped and Drusilla the Mad Seer enthralled and killed Kendra.”
“Didn't they accuse Buffy of killing Kendra?” Dawn asked, remembering the cops talking to her.
“Buffy rejoined us just in time for the police to arrive and try to blame everything on her. Anyone with half a brain could see she didn't have anything to do with it, but it was on school property and the principal showed up yelling that Buffy did it, so the police went with the word of the only adult present and tried to arrest Buffy.”
“She kicked their asses?” Dawn smirked.
“She kicked their asses,” Xander confirmed. “Then vanished into the night, making her look even more guilty, while the rest of us were drug off to the hospital with Willow in a coma.”
“Willow was in a coma?!”
“A mini-one. I brought her out of it,” Xander assured her.
“How did you do that?”
“I reminded her she was my oldest and dearest friend and told her I loved her.”
“And that worked?”
“She woke up after I said it and called out for Oz,” Xander assured her.
“I'm used to it,” Xander assured her.
“Buffy did the same thing?” Dawn guessed.
“Yep. I forced Angel to lead me to the Master's cave at crossbow point, since he was convinced she was going to die because it was prophesized, and after I gave her CPR the first word out of her mouth was 'Angel'.”
“You had to force him?” Dawn asked.
“Kinda sorta.” Xander shrugged. “The cross and crossbow just got his attention, I then laid a guilt trip on him like you wouldn't believe and inspired him with a bit of ‘man or monster’ speech and he folded like a house of cards, He was convinced we were both going to die, but he was willing to try. I just kept the crossbow on him because it was fun and I dislike him.”
“You have the worst luck with women,” Dawn said.
“It’s not that bad; I had a thing for your sister which has thankfully worn off as I got to know her -”
Dawn interrupted, “That sounded so bad.” She snickered.
Xander laughed. “I just meant she became a good friend and I lost interest in dating her. There was Ms French, my science teacher who chained me up in her basement, but she turned into a giant praying mantis and your sister killed her.”
“Yeah, that was pretty bad, but I refused to give up! Next I dated a beautiful, intelligent and charming young girl who simply adored me, Ampata.”
“She vanished and Buffy told mom she went home, but I saw Buffy moving her trunk out late one night, so I know something was up,” Dawn shared.
“Turns out Ampata was the name of the male foreign exchange student who was supposed to be living with you. The Ampata we knew sucked out his life force and took his place, she was actually an Incan mummy – her people sacrificed her to keep their gods favor, not that it worked and she fell for me. Unfortunately she had to kill to survive and when we cornered the mummy in the museum and discovered it was her she was about to feed on Willow.”
Dawn sighed. “You have some pretty rotten luck.”
Xander nodded. “I told her not to drain Willow, but to drain me instead. Rather than let herself drain me she crumbled to dust.”
“And once more you put yourself in danger to save a girl,” she pointed out.
“Two girls. Something about the way Ampata said she needed to drain Willow so we could be together made me think she only needed to drain one last person, so I made my offer to save Ampata as well as Willow. Ampata was just 17 when her people sacrificed her, and she went along willingly to save them. The lives of those chosen to do great things are hard and I think she deserved better. Love and loss seems to be a common theme around here.”
“One doesn't have to lead to the other!” Dawn protested.
“Maybe not,” Xander allowed.“But back to the story.”
“The vamps had snagged Giles and Drusilla was sending him visions of Jana, asking him how to awaken a demon turned to stone that would suck the whole world into hell. They'd tried to torture the information out of him to no avail, so Dru's mind tricks were all they had left.”
“Can I introduce Dru to a chainsaw?” Dawn asked.
“She'd probably say hello and try to get it to kiss her hand before inviting it in for tea.” Xander chuckled. “Dru is called, the Mad Seer for a reason, she was tortured into insanity before she was turned by Angelus.”
“So I shouldn't hate her?” Dawn asked.
Xander shrugged. “She's dangerous, deadly, and a few other d words both good and bad, but I blame Angelus for her actions. He's the one who tortured and turned her. Whether you hate her or not, remember first and foremost she is a vampire and would kill everyone you love, or maybe just give them a bouquet of kitten heads. She's really unpredictable.”
“Ok... One to avoid as much for the confusing ethical considerations as well as for the danger,” Dawn admitted.
“It gets worse too,” Xander warned her.
“William the Bloody Awful Poet had earned a new name, Spike. He earned his name because he managed to kill two Slayers in hand to hand combat and liked to torture people to death with railroad spikes.”
“Yeah, pretty much. He made a deal with Buffy, he would help her stop the end of the world if she would allow him and Dru to leave.”
“He didn't want the world to end?”
“Nope, he likes things the way they are. He considers humans nothing more than food and likes his place on top of the food chain living in the world that humans created. See, if the world goes to hell then all the demons here drop to just above humans, as greater demons consider them food as well.”
“How practical of him,” Dawn said.
Xander nodded. “Spike is a very dangerous vampire, not only because Dru sometimes tells him what’s coming, but because he's a practical man … er vamp, who actually plans for the future and for things to go wrong.”
“So, what happened oh man of a thousand detours?” Dawn asked, ignoring the fact that she was responsible for half of those detours herself.
Xander chuckled. “Willow told me she was going to try the soul curse again, despite my objections and to let Buffy know.”
“She'd just awoke from a coma and the fate of the world was in my sister's hands and Willow decided it was a good idea to screw up her concentration like that?”
“Yep. She thinks Buffy and Angel are a romantic couple, like Romeo and Juliet and I agree.”
Dawn looked him in the eye before she buried her face in his chest and groaned, settling down and speaking again from her favorite spot with her ear over his heart, “She means she thinks its romantic, and you mean its doomed and filled with tragedy and death.”
“Yep, and I've been right. So far their 'romance' has cost the lives of about a hundred people little miss detour, and now back to the story. I went to provide backup for Buffy – a chunk of concrete about the only weapon I could find, I told Buffy that Willow was out of her coma, but I paused, realizing, as you did, that telling her about the spell would just distract her. So I told her that Willow said kick his ass instead. Of course Willow would never say that and we both knew it.”
“So, was Buffy mad?”
“Nah, we both knew it was from concern for her and the fact that this was for all the chips. I mean, if Buffy lost and Angelus won, then dying quickly would be the best anyone could hope for. Buffy knew it, so she centered herself and we went in.”
“We got rid of the minions and found Giles. Buffy told me to get him to safety and I had to half carry him out, because he'd been tortured pretty badly. He told us the secret of how to close the portal, so she went after Angelus while I got Giles to the car. He was in pretty bad shape, but pointed out that the vamps torturing him were experts in keeping people alive and I needed to help Buffy.”
“That is one tough school librarian,” Dawn said with a touch of awe.
“Don't I know it.” Xander chuckled. “So I went back in and found Buffy and Angelus fighting in front of the slowly growing portal. Angelus had opened the portal and unless we stopped it the world was going to hell.”
Dawn shivered at his grim tone.
“Buffy got the upper hand and had Angelus dead to rights, which was good since she needed Angelus to close the portal and before I could even step forward there was a flare of light and Angel was back, then confused and horrified, Buffy kissed him and sacrificed him, sending the man she loved to hell to save the world.”
“Ok, I'm pretty sure that leaves the happy ending question at a firm No,” Dawn stated.
“I'm not so sure about that.” Xander argued. “The world is still spinning; Willow and Oz are fine, Giles is recovering nicely, I have no current head injuries …” Xander trailed off, wondering what else he could say.
“Kendra is dead.”
“Then a new Slayer will be called, one worthy enough to take her place,” Xander said firmly.
“Hopefully,” Dawn said.
“Sometimes you just have to have faith.”
* * *
Faith and her Watcher Linda just stared at the screen for a moment, before Faith turned to Linda and said three things, “One, you guys got lousy operational security. Two, now I think I can do this thing. Three, before we go any further I wanna meet this guy.”
Linda nodded, wondering how in the world this had gotten broadcast.
* * *
“See it’s not really an ending, since the world is still spinning and our hearts are still beating. Buffy will come back when she's feeling better, which will probably be sometime near the end of summer, and since the summer is pretty much a quiet time for us here on the Hellmouth, we should be fine,” Xander reassured Dawn.
The front door shook as something started pounding on it.
“Then again, I could be wrong,” Xander admitted.
* * *
“What kind of show is this?” one of the cameramen asked, as the stations crew were watching fascinated.
“I'm not sure,” the station manager admitted. “But it’s coming in on the emergency broadcast frequency and FCC regulations mean we have to let it air and send it on.”
“Gotta be illegal.”
“Not our call, besides the ratings are great.”
* * *
The necromatic scrying spell that the Mayor cast should have failed, since it was directed where Buffy wasn't, but unbeknownst to the Mayor, Dawn was created from the Slayer's blood, making her a valid target for the spell.
Ted, the homicidal fifties dad trapped in an android's body, had installed a nanny cam in the Summers’ living room before Buffy had dismantled him. He'd never turned it on, but the spell had, sending the feed to the computer in Ted's basement.
The computer in Ted's basement, getting no response from Ted on his regular frequency assumed there was either a failure in Ted's primary receiver or interference and switched to the preprogrammed backup channel the original Ted had put in. A channel that had since been claimed by the FCC as an emergency broadcast frequency.
The five television stations within range of the signal had followed FCC regulations regarding the broadcast, which were made under the arrogant notion that no one would use an FCC frequency for a pirate broadcast.
The FCC regulations said it preempted what anyone was showing and to pass the feed on to their network affiliates.
The FCC didn't realize it was being broadcast under their authority; the networks didn't care as they were just showing reruns anyway. They did however add commercials after the first half hour – the revenue would more than make up for any possible fines after all.
The show went live on every channel in California within three minutes of Xander sitting down with Dawn in his lap, and all over the US in five. AN: Thank godogma for the typing and me for the typos!