A/NMeet Chuck:(image from Supernatural Season 5, episode 22 “Swan Song”)
Three months had passed since Dawn had left their dimension forever and it was still hard for Buffy not to mourn her.
She knew that Dawn wasn’t dead. She knew that she was probably more happy than she had ever been before in her life. But to her, Dawn was dead. Buffy would never see her sister again.
On nights like this, when she was traveling alone for work and hanging out in a hotel bar, Buffy especially missed her sister. It was when she felt the loneliest. After all, it was in a hotel room that they had finally grown closer – the actions of Dawn and her friends right before they took on the First Evil had been painful, regardless that they had rallied together for the big win afterwards. In her hotel room that she shared with Dawn after they traveled to Los Angeles to figure out ‘next steps’ for a post-Sunnydale world, the sisters had been forced to reconcile.
It had not been pretty at first, but it had been needed. Afterwards their bond had been stronger than ever. Unconditional love, after all, was not about loving a person for all their good qualities – it was about loving them in spite of their bad qualities.
Sighing forlornly, Buffy swirled the straw in her rum and coke. She really wasn’t a drinker and her Slayer consitution was usually pretty good about keeping her sober unless she was doing shots¸ but on nights like these a drink was welcome. Being alone was always the hardest – her mind would flash back to that day on the Hellmouth battling Lucifer. Buffy, in her mind’s eye, would see Lucifer dump her on the ground and Gabriel pulling her back as Lucifer went to Dawn. When she saw the portal open it was like Glory’s tower all over again. She couldn’t
lose her sister and she had fought – oh, she had fought – against Gabriel but that damn stupid archangel was able to hold her down as Dawn left this world forever.
Nights like this she would imagine what she could have done differently. How she could have thrown Lucifer back into the Cage before Dawn had a chance to open that portal. How she could have convinced Dawn ahead of time to not even go near the Cleveland Browns’ stadium. How she could have begged Dawn to stay with her – to stay with all of them.
Scanning the room, Buffy took stock of the bar’s occupants. She was definitely the youngest person here. There were a gang of elderly women sipping cocktails and laughing up a storm – eh, they made Buffy feel guilty for not having fun. Then there were several businessmen all suited-up sitting around with beer bottles and making jokes. A couple of them tried to catch her eye but Buffy was not a fan of guys in suits – they made her think of the Winchesters on a case and thinking about the Winchesters made her think about angels and demons and god and the devil and…Dawn.
Buffy averted her gaze from the suit guys quickly to continue her search around the room.
At a table on the far wall was a very old – and mmkay, pretty creepy – skeletal dude wearing a black suit with slicked back black hair. A cane stood against the table next to him like a silent guardian and it matched his suit perfectly. He was a very plain looking man but she noticed his ring glinting in the bar light above his table; the pure white stone in the middle was eye-catching. With a grin, she noticed that the old man was eating pizza and she decided that maybe he wasn’t so creepy after all – old guys who ate greasy food like a teenager couldn’t be that bad.
Across the table from the old man was a late-thirtyish guy wearing a white dress shirt and jeans. Idly, she wondered if the old man was his grandfather. Although they did not look alike, they chatted easily with one another; the younger man was even able to crack a smile on the strict-looking old man’s face every once in a while. The thirtyish guy was alright looking although not quite Buffy’s type (well, then again her type was demon’s, so maybe having a ‘type’ was a bad thing). He had thick brown hair with a severe five o’clock shadow-slash-beard thing going on; on most men she questioned beards but she thought it suited him.
Just then five o’clock shadow-slash beard guy looked up and they made eye contact. He smiled.
Buffy blushed and looked back down at her drink. Wow, great. She was officially the lone wolf creeper just staring at people in the bar. Woo hoo for her social life.
She snuck a glance back at the table and saw the man walking in her direction. Again, her attention turned to her drink. Oh god. Why, oh why, did she have to attract attention? All she wanted was a quiet, sullen night with her and Mr. Bacardi before she had to go into the Capital to meet with some prospective Council supporters.
“Hi.” Buffy looked up to see the man smiling at her. His smile, she realized, was kind of infectious and she couldn’t help but return it.
“Hi,” Buffy greeted him.
“May I?” he asked with a gesture towards the empty seat across from her.
“Thanks!” he said cheerfully with eyes that sparkled with mischief.
“How do you know that I don’t have a friend sitting there?” Buffy asked, feeling rather irate. The nerve of some guys.
His face reddened slightly, barely visible underneath his beard, and he gave her a bashful smile. “Ah, well…I’ve kinda been watching you since you arrived.”
“Oh.” Now it was Buffy’s turn to feel a little bit embarrassed. She wasn’t really used to guys observing her as soon as she came into the bar – not unless they were a demon. Okay, sure, she had some dates over the years but no one stayed for long – she was a definite freak ‘o’ nature, after all.
“I’m Chuck,” he said with a bright smile as he extended his hand.
Wow, that smile was infectious. “Buffy,” she responded. She took his hand and warmth coursed through her. Tingles traveled all the way from her hand to her feet – and definitely hit that in-between space that Faith all to frequently talked about.
Chuck’s smile widened and his touch lingered longer than was socially appropriate – yet Buffy found she didn’t quite mind. His presence felt familiar but she was unable to discern its origin from her past. When he finally released her hand a shiver ran through her.
“Can I buy you a drink?” Chuck asked. He grinned at her and laid his hand in the middle of the table…close to hers, but not quite touching. Because…that would be weird, right? Who held hands with a perfect stranger?
“Yes,” Buffy replied. Her fingers stretched forward just a little bit to cover the tips of Chuck’s own fingers.
When he took her hand in his, her stomach fluttered and her smile stretched until her face almost hurt.
Suddenly she wasn’t lonely anymore.
I warned you all that this final chapter would be unexpected…but it was a necessary part of Dawn’s story to include this moment with Chuck…if you’re a Supernatural fan you probably know what I’m hinting at with Chuck and if you’re not then I won’t post spoilers. If you want to look him up head to: http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=Chuck_Shurley They'll explain who he was in the show and who people think he *really* is.
This story took me a year to write – it wasn’t always easy trying to make time to write and especially to get in the mindset of ancient beings. I really hope that you all enjoyed this fic. It’s one of my more unique ones and I’m very proud of it, especially chapter 6. Crafting the mythology and weaving in the BTVS and SPN aspects was challenging but fun. Throughout it all I found a new love of writing Dawn and Illyria, two figures that I had yet to really write, and of course continuing my never-ending quest to get Gabriel into more fanfiction! Hee. Exploring Lucifer’s ‘softer’ side was great fun and I loved fitting in various BTVS & SPN character moments.
It’s been a wonderful journey so thank you for reading, reviewing, and rec’ing! It is always appreciated. Honestly, I doubt I would not made the time to finish this fic if it wasn’t for a few persistent reviewers ;) Gracias!
Con mucho amor,
LunaPS: Fun fact -- The name 'Lailah' is Hebrew for nightfall...and in her reincarnated state she was named 'Dawn'. Fun, no? ;)