The Truth of Her Existence
A/N As always, I have no proprietary claim on BTVS
Xander was dead; that was the truth of Dawn’s existence. She’d been in Africa for three months, ever since she’d completed her Watcher training. When Giles had asked her where she wanted to be posted, Dawn had immediately replied “Africa”. She’d gone on to explain that the African branch of the council was practically the model for every other department and she wanted to learn from the best. Upon her arrival, she’d thrown herself into one project and that was re-introducing Xander to the humanity he seemed to have left back at the crater that used to be Sunnydale. But now he was gone. Dawn could remember their slayers bringing his body back to their lonely compound in Kenya, all of them crying unashamedly and Dawn wailing in her grief, denial and loss. It had been a single shot to the heart; those who truly knew Xander would say that it was poetic. The authorities said it was a random killing, like so many in Africa and merited no further investigation. That evening, the slayers went looking for vengeance but all they found were demons that were ignorant of what had happened. Unfortunately, the slayers then used the demons in their grief therapy. Later that night, all of Africa house was gathered in the kitchen, reminiscing; when Kewithe muttered, “maybe that man had something to do with it.”
“Man, what man,” Dawn asked the young girl.
“A few weeks ago, a man came here and talked to Mr. Alex for some time. I could hear their voices raised at times and then the man left and the rest of the day Mr. Alex was deep in thought.”
“When was this, exactly,” Dawn asked, she couldn’t remember the incident.
“It was when you were in Nairobi, negotiating our supply situation. Mr. Alex seemed alright by the time you had returned.”
“Could you tell if he was evil, or maybe a partial demon?”
“No,” Kewithe replied, “he was just a man, but a very handsome one.”
Vaguely Dawn remembered Xander seeming a little off for a couple of days, but she’d dismissed it as just a spot of melancholy. But now, a terrible feeling was surging through her gut. “Excuse me,” she muttered and went to her room. She quickly picked up a photograph and headed back to the kitchen. “Is this the man,” she asked Kewithe, pointing to a specific figure.
“Yes,” the girl replied. “It is odd though, he appeared exactly the same way when he was here.”
“I’ll explain later,” Dawn had muttered darkly and the subject was dropped.
Now, as she sat vigil over the body, Dawn knew what had happened. She remembered a conversation with her sister many years ago in Los Angeles and a word, ‘Sanshu’. Dawn knew what had happened as surely as if she’d witnessed the whole thing. Somehow Angel had gotten his Sanshu and was now human. Idly Dawn wondered if he’d actually earned it or if the Powers were simply removing a loose cannon from the board. As a human he was free to love and so he had come to the one person he had never admitted to loving. Dawn could see Xander’s reaction; anger, disgust and pity; and she could see the realization in Angel’s eyes, the knowledge that Xander would never be his. Less than two weeks later Xander was dead, no doubt at Angel’s behest. Dawn knew what she had to do and her hand slipped into her pocket and came out with an object; a souvenir from her days as a thief, one of the few she hadn’t returned. Carefully she examined the medallion and once she was sure about what it said, she muttered a simple spell that isolated the room and then quietly began to chant.
“Who dares summon D’Hoffryn,” the demon’s voice boomed out. “Know that I will . . . . oh, hello there. I didn’t expect it to be you,” he said as he caught sight of Dawn. He then became aware of the body in the room and he stooped down to examine it. “Yes, I’d been told that some had seen him in the upper realms. I believed it when could no longer find Anyanka’s spirit anywhere. Given the circumstances I would have expected a call from someone other than you.”
“The others don’t know, at least not yet.”
“Ahhhh, but you. You know the who and the why and you want to do something about it. I can feel it seething in your brain.”
“But why summon me. Considering what you are feeling, I would expect you to have a visitor rather soon.”
“Maybe, but I want to call vengeance on a champion of the Powers; and I want nothing to thwart my desire in this matter. They have no power over you in this area, but might over some of your minions.”
“A champion,” D’Hoffryn mused, and then brightened in understanding. “So Liam is responsible for this, ehhh; I must confess I’m amazed he finally committed to something.” Then the demon lord finally turned his gaze from the dead body to the young woman, “so what is your wish?”
“I wish that Angel would suffer as he made Xander suffer, I wish that he might almost taste love only to have it taken away time and again. I wish that any affection will turn to affliction and all caring to pain. I want no one other than Angel to hurt; none that he loves can be killed to separate them, only that they will be lost to him. Finally I want him to live his full life, no suicide will be successful, no untimely end for him, I want him to live a lifetime in anguish.”
D’Hoffryn smiled, it was a terrible smile. “Now that as a wish and a half, do you mind if I use it as an example for others?”
“No,” Dawn mumbled, “feel free.” She felt hollow now, all the passion had left her numb and cold.
“Thank you,” D’Hoffryn said with a mocking little bow, “wish granted.” He disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Still, Dawn sat with Xander’s body. She knew that she might have damned her soul with that wish but she couldn’t find it in herself to care. After all, she’d just lost her heart.
Buffy snuggled into her lover’s side, his warm human side. It still amazed her that Angel was now human, no stupid happiness clause, no specter of Angelus, nothing to get in the way of their happiness. As she lay there, running her hands lightly over his body, a thought just popped into her head. “Angel?”
“Why did you bring Xander with you when you came to the Master’s cave?”
“I told you, because I couldn’t do CPR.”
“But you didn’t know I’d need it, I mean who drowns in a cave after all?”