Once Upon A Time…
Disclaimer: I don’t own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Disney.
Author’s Note: This is the Prologue for a Series.
Warning: Implied fem-slash, very minor.
The doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it!” cried Dawn rushing to open the door before either Buffy or Joyce could stop her.
“Hiya Dawnmeister, those are some lovely jammies you’ve got there,” chuckled a familiar voice.
“Xander!” shrieked Dawn at a pitch that made both Buffy and Oz with their sensitive ears wince.
Dawn had something of a crush on Xander, easily seen buy the way she threw her gangly limbs around him eyes bright and already scheming. Buffy found it faintly disturbing actually that Dawn was so adept at drawing Xander’s attention to her. At thirteen she had to of course play heavily on the cute little kid card and break out the eyes but Xan fell for it every time.
“Hey Xander, did Willow and Cordelia say what time they’d be over at?” asked Buffy shooting her sister a warning look.
“Nah, but they were studying pretty hard when I left the library,” Xander said deftly disentangling himself from Dawn.
“They said they be done by now,” huffed Buffy eager to get to the patrolling part of the night.
Xander took a seat on the big sofa next to Oz who gave him a nod of acknowledgment. Dawn plopped adoringly down on Xander’s other side and promptly snuggled up to him, gazing up at him with big blue eyes.
Xander continued to speak, oblivious to the younger girl’s machinations.
“You know Buff you should really be studying with them, your GPA could use a boost,”
“So could yours Mister Where’s-French-Class-Again?” snorted Buffy.
“So what have you and Oz been doing in the meantime,” asked Xander promptly changing the subject.
“I’ve lost to him about thirteen times at staring contests,” Buffy answered waving her hand in Oz’s general direction.
“Fourteen,” Oz corrected his lips twitching upward slightly.
“It’s fun to watch, cause, you know, Oz just sits there looking all cool and Buffy glares at him and they stay that way for like minutes and then Buffy starts freaking out for like no apparent reason,” giggled Dawn doing a rather unflattering impression of Buffy freaking out.
The Slayer glared at Xander and he was forced to swallow his smart comment.
“Isn’t it time you were in bed?” Buffy asked Dawn pointedly.
“No!” screeched Dawn indignant her cheeks burning red.
“I think it is…”
“I’m thirteen I can stay up past nine o’clock on a school night if I want to,”
“Oh yeah, we’ll see about that!”
The cry was loud shrill and in perfect unison. Oz winced.
“I hear you man,” Xander grimaced rubbing his own ears.
“Dawn Marie Summers, how many times have I told you I don’t want you involved with Buffy’s slaying?” started Joyce as she appeared in the room hands on her hips.
“Mom, it’s not even like that, I just wanted Xander to read me a bedtime story,” Dawn said pulling her innocent face.
Buffy scowled and Joyce gave her youngest daughter an indulgent look.
“Is that alright with you Xander?” she asked.
“Sure thing, Mrs. S,” grinned Xander shooting Buffy a quick apologetic shrug.
Dawn stuck her tongue out at Buffy and Buffy gave her a very sisterly look of annoyance.
“Here,” said Joyce rummaging around in the cupboard beneath the table in the entrance hall, “You can read this, it’s Disney. It’s nice and short so you can finish before you have to go patrol and Dawn can get to bed early,” Joyce compromised handing Xander a dusty looking tome with a bit of fake cobweb still attached from its stint as Joyce’s costume prop last Halloween.
Buffy’s expression immediately morphed from annoyed to surprised a pleased.
“You still have this old thing Mom?”
“Of course, it was your favorite when you were a little girl, Dawn’s too. I’ll be in the kitchen if you need anything,”
“Alright-y then, what does everyone want to hear?” asked Xander flipping open the book carefully.
“Pocahontas!” Dawn decreed immediately.
“Aladdin,” Buffy suggested at the same time flushing cutely.
Xander bit his lip glancing between the two Summers sisters. How was he supposed to make a decision that wouldn’t end with bruising or tears.
“Oz, my man, what’s your vote?”
“Beauty and the Beast,” he said like it should have been obvious.
“Sure, make it hard on me,” Xander muttered under his breath knowing Oz could hear him.
Oz flashed him a half-second smile.
“Well you’re reading Xander, why don’t you pick the story you want?” suggested Dawn, batting her eyelashes at him.
“Or, to avoid injury to both body and feelings, I will pick a story at random,” he said closing his eyes and running his finger up and down the table of contents, “And I’m stopping…now,”
“What is it?” asked Dawn eagerly.
“Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” Xander read checking the page number and moving to flip to the story in question.
Cried the Summers sisters.
“You have to read the introduction,” Buffy ordered firmly opening to the appropriate page and settling herself down in the chair.
“Yeah, it’s tradition,” Dawn insisted.
“Alright, alright…” agreed Xander raising his hands in the universal gesture of surrender, “To children and parents everywhere, herein you will find a collection of tales and dreams to whisk you away on an adventure of a lifetime. Go now to the world of your dreams and live the life you’ve always imagined, and remember that all of your dreams can come true if you take the time and have the courage to pursue them,”
“Buffy what’s that?” asked Dawn fearfully.
Buffy shot up from her lazy sprawl on the chair upon hearing the fear in her sister’s voice. The book of fairy tales was glowing with ethereal white light.
“Xander close the book! Xander!” ordered Buffy panicked as the light, accompanied by the loud roar of a fierce wind, grew stronger and larger.
Xander was still in the same position he’d been in, and he didn't respond to Buffy's increasingly forceful shrieks, his eyes glazed over white. Dawn tried to shut the book but was powerless against whatever magics flowed through it. Oz and Buffy both reached out and put their super strength into it and all four of them were sucked in.
Dawn’s scream had barely faded when Joyce burst into the room and the book dropped closed onto the sofa, once again nonmagical and nonthreatening.
“Buffy! Dawnie!” called Joyce panicked throwing open the door and running down the street calling their names.
When that yielded nothing she phone the Sunnydale High Library in hysterics and told Giles what had happened. They searched and searched for months. Faith, Angel, and Giles, beat up every lowlife on the Hellmouth. Willow cast a locator spell. Cordelia even used her father’s political contacts shamelessly and got the police the FBI and the CIA to look for them.
The book was forgotten, packed away when Joyce had a moment to clean.
Elizabeth Anne Summers, Dawn Marie Summers, Alexander Lavelle Harris, and Daniel Robert Osborne, were declared legally dead by the authorities after three years of fruitless searches.
Faith got her chance at being the Chosen One and thrived, preemptively striking at the Mayor with the help of Angel and Wesley, and prevented the Ascension.
Giles and Joyce found solace and understanding in each other and eventually married and became parental figures to Willow, Cordelia, and Faith.
Angel left for LA, the pain of Buffy’s loss too much to bear in Sunnydale, where the memory of her haunted and tormented him. He never again knew true happiness. Cordelia eventually went to work for him.
Willow, Faith, and Tara became an inseparable threesome and the best defenders the Hellmouth could ask for. They graduated UC Sunnydale with honors.
AN: Hope you liked, please stay tuned for the first story in this new series, The Legend of Atlantis.