TITLE: Not a Fairytale Ending
SUMMARY: A little over a decade ago Dawn Summers died. Or at least most days she wished she did.
FANDOM: BtVS/Terminator: Salvation
NOTES: Set during Terminator: Salvation, also pre-Judgment Day and post Season Seven.
DISCLAIMER: "A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend." - I do not own any of the characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel the Series, they belong to Fox, the WB/UPN, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc. The characters of Terminator: Salvation belong to Warner Brothers, etc. The ideas and concepts in this story are mine entirely. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Dawn let out a weary sigh as she ran her fingers through her dirty hair, loosening out the braid. Her group had been out for three weeks, scouting SkyNet forces, rescuing people. John had recalled them yesterday, needed them for a mission, and they’d busted ass to return to Connor’s side.
“Hey Summers,” a few voices called out as she made her way down the hallway. She always expected to see Buffy. Buffy should have been here, leading others into battle. She’d have been at home in this war. But that thought brought a frown to Dawn’s face. It’d been years since her sister had been killed. Over a decade since that fateful night had started out as a fantastic date, but had quickly spiraled downhill, and ended in the death of her sister. Dawn’s thigh began to throb at the memory of being tossed around as the car rolled, crumpled around them, as the glass and metal tore through her flesh and muscle. They were phantom pains. The scars from the wreck were hidden beneath a mass of scar tissue from her first run-in with a T-600. Unbidden her right hand slid down her thigh to gently massage the scar.
“Summers, John wants a full report after you’ve taken a moment,” Jenner said as he fell into step next to her. Her steps slowed slightly to accommodate Jenner’s slower gate. He walked with a limp, irreversible damage done in a bombing. He was lucky he still had his leg. But it meant he was sidelined from the field. His gait was noisy even though he did his best to hide it. Dawn, even with her heavy boots and bone-deep weariness, made hardly a sound on the dirty concrete floor. Silence had kept her alive in the past, well before J-Day.
“Thanks Jenner,” she curtly answered.
“Good to have you back,” he added with a smile, one she did not return. It was no secret that she had a little bit of a death wish. John said she’d never give in though. Not while they might be able to win this war. She wondered if she had enough self-destruction and spite left in her to prove him wrong.
Jenner hustled down an intersecting hallway and Dawn came to a halt. She longed for a shower, even though it would be nothing like before. This base had the amenities of a 5-star hotel compared to what else was left. With one last look down the corridor in front her, the way to her bunk, a shower, and a fresher change of clothes, she let out a small sigh and turned around. ~*~
The med bay, if you could really call it that, was quiet and empty when she stepped through the door. Kate sat with her back to the door, studying the papers in front of her.
“John’s gonna start to think something’s going on between us if you keep coming to see me first,” Kate’s voice broke the silence.
It unnerved Dawn that the woman always knew when she was around. Dawn’d managed to sneak up on Connor a time or two but never Kate.
“What does that baby have, radar?” Dawn chose to answer instead. It was an odd and uneasy relationship Dawn shared with John. Kate tried to make it better, but it would never be easy between them, surprisingly not like it was with Kate.
“Nah, you’re just getting sloppy in your old age,” Kate teased as she closed her notebook and pushed it off to the side. Slowly she maneuvered herself to her feet. Dawn could already tell she’d gained weight, filled out as the baby’s birth drew closer.
“You look great Kate,” the words freely tumbled out of her mouth. It was too easy to fall into that familiar comfort with Kate. She reminded Dawn of Buffy, fearless in the face of danger, fearless enough to match up with Connor; she reminded Dawn of family.
A blush stole across Kate’s pale but glowing complexion as Dawn studied her. “Thanks. You look like shit. Do you wanna grab a shower?”
“I’ll get one later. John wanted to see me. You were on the way.” If the way included taking the long way around the Pit rather than the straight shot.
“How’re you doing Dawn?” her voice was soft and full of concern. Concern was something Dawn didn’t deserve or understand.
Dawn had tried her best to destroy John Connor. Tried to kill him a handful of times and when that didn’t work she tried to fuck him. She hated him for years for saving her life. For rescuing her from her SkyNet prison hellhole when all those she cared for were dead.
She was a joke among the rest of John’s crew. The way they told it, the metal didn’t need to worry about killing John Connor, Summers would do him in first. Only a few came close to understanding why he’d trust her at his back despite their infamous tirades.
“Exhausted,” Dawn answered honestly.
“I’d tell you to take it easy, take a few days and get some sleep. But you’ll sleep when you’re dead, right?”
“You know it.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t surprise me that you and John butt heads so much. You’re so damned alike it’s frightening.”
Dawn opened her mouth to immediately deny any similarity to John Connor but the proximity alarms went off. Something had breached the perimeter. Dawn drew her handgun, sliding it quietly and quickly out of her leather shoulder holster. She spun, putting Kate at her back and guarding her against the only entry point. She heard Kate moving behind her, sure hands grabbing the pulse gun from the wall and taking a defensive position at her back.
The shrill screeching of the alarm abruptly shut off. And for a moment, everything became eerily quiet. And then the bubble burst and the commotion outside resumed.
“Medic! We need a medic!” a female voice was screaming. Whatever it was, was bad, Blair Williams did not fear much.
Dawn heard Kate lay down her weapon and move toward the table and into the line of fire from the doorway. “Wait,” Dawn hissed as she snuck a glance over her shoulder to glare at Kate. Kate’s movement forced Dawn to step further into visibility through the door in order to cover her. “You wait till I confirm –“ Dawn started to lecture Kate on trusting a voice alone. Never trust a voice; it could be the last you hear.
A group of people rushed into the med bay, carrying a bloody mess of a screaming man. Dawn never got used to the sounds of the dying. The screams of pure torture, physical pain so bad your body could only scream. She remembered those screams from the camp she’d been stuck in. She remembered those screams as they tore their way out of her own throat.
“He stepped on a mine. Help him. Please help him,” Williams rambled as she stood near the man’s side, not quite in the way.
Dawn’s gun slid back into its holster as she moved to Kate’s side as the man was placed on the table. There was so much blood, he was covered in it. He was lucky to be alive after stepping on a mine but he would probably argue differently at this point.
“All right let’s see what we’ve got here,” Kate said as she cut open the remains of his shirt.
Time stood still for Dawn as her eyes slid up to the man’s face. She gasped, sucked in a shocked breath as those so very familiar blue eyes looked up at her. There was recognition there, enough for him to swallow his next scream to focus on her.
“Marcus?” Dawn whispered the name in disbelief. There was absolutely no way it could be him.
She was shoved to the side as John crowded into her space. She tumbled into some equipment, hands flailing to keep herself upright. And she watched in horror as John brought his shotgun up and slammed it down into the man’s, Marcus’
“John. No! What’re you doing?” she heard herself yell as she rushed him, hands settled on the gun, not allowing it to strike down again.
“Dawn, why do you want to protect this thing?” John yelled back in her face as he tried to pull the gun away.
“Thing?” It was a man on that table. A man that looked exactly like one that she’d watched die fifteen years ago.
“It’s not human.”
Dawn looked down at the man and her grip on the gun released immediately. John stumbled a few steps at the sudden release. The man’s…no the machine’s chest was metal, metal surrounding a beating human heart.
She barely made it to a waste can before her stomach emptied itself.