Catch me, I'm falling.
Disclaimer: I own neither BtVS (Whedon) nor the Dark-Hunter series (Kenyon).
A/N: This is one of many bunnies that WOULD NOT DIE. Seriously, that whole exorcism-by-FFA thing never works for me. So you'll just have to deal with this'un. I'm still plotting out all my unfinished stuff, but I have to dig my laptop out of the box before I get anything substantial done. NOTHING is abandoned, I swear!♀♂♀♂♀
Dawn Summers didn't wait for her sister to talk, she knew that there wasn't anything Buffy could do. It was her
blood that had opened the portal and only her
blood could shut it. The Slayer had done her part as best she could, protected the Key and destroyed the goddess who would have used the portal to go home -- thereby destroying not just their world but all
worlds -- now it was her job, Dawn's job, to close the gate.
She jumped. It wasn't really a pretty jump, it in no way looked like any sort of dive. Dawn jumped off the tower the way every person jumps off something tall at one point or another in their lives: legs locked together and arms over her head, making of her body one long stream-lined shape. She didn't look down into the gaping hole of magic rushing up to meet her, she didn't look up at the rapidly receding countenance of the horrified Slayer, she looked straight ahead at the darkness of the horizon.
Dawn hit the portal with a soundless explosion, watched by her agonized sister and the rest of the Scoobies. Their faces were painted with wonder as all the cracks in reality sealed up as if they'd never been there. The demons that had crossed over, even the one dragon that Xander had spied all were sucked back into their rightful dimensions. With a final shockwave that threw everyone off their feet, it was done.
Trying as they were to right themselves, none saw the Key at the base of the tower. They did not see her land gracefully, knees barely bending as they caught the force of her descent. They did not see her eyes, now the color of jade instead of the sky blue they'd been just that morning, inspecting her own hands with puzzlement and growing horror. They did not see power crackling over her clenched fists as the memories of Dawn Summers blended with the memories of the force this earth had named "the Key".
She -- the girl, the woman, the Key, the goddess -- remembered everything. She remembered the last few months living as Dawn. She remembered fourteen years worth of life inserted into the Summer's family. She remembered centuries locked in a small green sphere of crystal at the hands of the well-meaning monks. She remembered the years beyond the measure of time that she had been Enodia, goddess of gateways and crossroads, daughter of the Atlantean god Archon and the Greek goddess Iris.
She remembered a prophecy by her 'sisters', the Fates, stating that one day she would have the capacity to destroy all of Creation. She remembered a frightened group of her fellow Atlanteans imprisoning her under the guise of a celebration and sending her here
to this dimension where the gods had been rendered mute. She remembered pain, loneliness and fear.
She remembered and she raged
Buffy stumbled down from the tower to see her friends gathered in a loose semi-circle about fifteen feet away from her sister. Dawn was standing -- standing! -- eyes closed and tears running down her face as she trembled. The Slayer dashed forward, sprinting towards her sister only to be struck by some strange bolt of energy and thrown away. She sat up: dazed, confused, and more than a little hurt. Xander came to one side and Giles the other, helping her up with worried expressions on their faces.
"What's -- what's going on?"
"We, ah, we don't really know," Giles told her slowly, helping her over to where the rest of the Scoobies stood. "Apparently she's been like that since the portal -- since she jump -- well, since
." He stood back a little and eyed his charge, looking for any life-threatening injuries she might have overlooked in her haste to get to her sister.
"What hit me?" Buffy asked.
"Dunno, whatever it is it's keeping us from getting to her. I think -- I think that she's
the one that's doing it, whatever it is. But -- " Xander held up a hand before Buffy start off on a tangent, "But I don't think that she's doing it on purpose."
"Pet?" Buffy's head shot up at the sound of Spike's voice. She looked for him and found him on the opposite side of the semi-circle, calling out to Dawn in a gentle voice she'd never heard him use before. "Pet," he said again, "s'alright now, the danger's gone. Y'can... let go of whatever it is that's holdin' you back."
"Dawn?" The Slayer added her voice to Spike's pleas, "Dawn... please. Can you hear me?"
Slowly, ever so slowly, the tension in the air that signified whatever it was that Dawn had put up between them began to dissipate. It shrunk back towards the girl becoming more and more clear as it withdrew, until it was a solid-looking shell of translucent purple-green-black light surrounding the teenager. Dawn's eyes popped open abruptly and as quick as that the barrier was just... gone.
The Scoobies released a collective sigh of relief, Buffy and Spike moving closer while the rest stayed where they were. Willow was still supporting a rather dazed Tara with Xander's help now that it appeared Buffy was alright. Anya and Giles were a little leery of whatever it was that Dawn had done.
Giles had never been entirely satisfied with what little information he could find on the "Key". It seemed as if it had popped out of the ether with no demonic of divine explanation for its powers and portents. It did not appear to have originated on the same plane as Glorificus and most of the few books he'd found describing it had been at a loss to explain its vast power. Add to that the oh-so convenient
way it had been shaped into a person
-- something he knew from his own magical studies to be nigh impossible, and he was a bit distrustful. Dawn the girl was a sweet thing, albeit a bit of a brat... Dawn the Key was something else, and he wasn't quite sure what that something was.
Anya could sense something different about Dawn. It wasn't demonic, but it felt like power. Not the power that had been contained in the girl's skin before, that had been like a banana in a peel: in her but not of her. Now it was almost as if the wrapper, or whatever sort of barrier had existed between the girl and the power had dissolved. That and Dawnie looked
different -- she looked tired and worn, but that was to be expected as a victim of kidnapping by crazy goddess, she looked somehow older
too. Anya had been around for a long time, as both a human and a demoness, and every bit of her not inconsiderable experience was telling her that something had changed. For better or for worse, she didn't know, but something was definitely different about Dawn.
Dawn looked at first Spike, then Buffy, staring at them with a frown of deep concentration. The vampire and the Slayer were very interesting to the parts of her that had only just been released. Enodia looked back at all the decisions that had led them to where they were now, the love that had driven them. She saw the demonic essences that were a part of both, the darkness and the light that made up who they were, the conflict that lived in them. A Slayer choosing to love a vampire... interesting. A vampire with the capacity to love at all (sans soul) -- very
"Dawn?" Buffy asked again, a little unsure now that she was looking into her sister's changed eyes. They were green now and -- old
. They looked very, very old somehow... but they were still Dawn's eyes. She saw her sister and something else, bit it was her sister who she worried for even -- especially
"I see why they sent me to you," Dawn told them both, "Faith would have been an unmitigated disaster, even if she hadn't gone to prison. They were doing the best they could with what they knew, but it wasn't right
of them to do it! It wasn't fair
, Buffy, for them to expect so much of you! They wanted you
to jump, the bastards... And none of them had any right
to use ME!
The flickering of purple flames at Dawn's feet caused Buffy to gasp and Spike to take two large steps back -- he was
a vampire, after all. The flames rose up to consume Dawn, encompassing her and then dying in quick succession, leaving nothing behind.
Buffy stared, numb, at the empty space where her sister had been. So shell-shocked was she that she didn't even flinch when Spike moved forward to wrap her in a reassuring hug. "Wh-where did she go?" she asked in a plaintive voice, one Spike had never heard her use before.
"I dunno, luv," the vampire replied, pressing a quick, comforting kiss to her temple. "I don't know."♀♂♀♂♀