Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
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Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: The Scoobies bring Buffy back and it goes even more wrong.
Spoilers: Season 6 and beyond.
The Shade twisted around at the soft inquiry and was shocked to see the figure in the doorway. The Shade was even more shocked when a chain shot out from her waist towards the figure.
“No!” cried Buffy as she quickly grabbed the lengthening chain and stopped its progress about a foot in front of the figure.
“Dawn! Get away from here! Don’t let the chain touch you!” she yelled.
Seeing the figure behind her sister, she commanded, “Spike! Take Dawn away! Don’t let her near any of us or she’ll be snared like the others!”
Though he had no idea what was going on, Spike knew it was bad and tried to pull Dawn away from the Training Room doorway. However, Dawn had other ideas and shrugged off his hand on her arm.
“What’s going on?” asked Dawn.
“Please go,” replied Buffy. “I don’t know how long I can keep the chain from you.”
“What will it do?” Dawn demanded.
“It will bind you to me for all eternity and force you to feel my pain from being torn from Heaven by these four and never being able to return,” Buffy said. “Now go before it’s too late.”
Dawn glared at the other occupants of the Training Room.
“Bit, com’n,” said Spike with a sense of urgency. “Big Sis is a tad testy right now and we should be elsewhere.”
“Why can’t you return to Heaven?” asked Dawn, ignoring what even she admitted to herself was probably good advice from Spike.
Buffy’s Shade was showing signs of strain on her face as she tugged on the chain that was in front of Dawn’s face.
“The spell they used tainted my soul and the taint can’t be removed since I’m no longer alive,” she said through gritted teeth. “Now go before you become trapped.”
Spike realized what she was going to do a split second too late to prevent it.
Dawn raised her hand and touched the end of the chain.
There was shocked silence for several heart beats.
The Shade of Buffy Summers drifted towards the slim brunette.
“Why?” she quietly asked.
“Because an eternity of being with you and sharing your pain, pales in comparison to the thought of spending an eternity somewhere you can never go,” was Dawn’s reply.
“Oh, Dawnie,” choked out Buffy as ethereal tears trickled down her cheek and her translucent hand seemed to caress Dawn’s face.
Silence once again filled the room.
A few moments later, Dawn whispered to Buffy, “I think I know a way for you to remove the taint.”
Only Spike could hear her and her statement caused his eyebrows to quirk up.
“What do you mean?” replied a shocked Buffy in a returning whisper.
“It’s just a feeling I have since being connected to you,” Dawn said quietly.
“What is it?” asked Buffy.
Looking at the other across the room with a disapproving glare, Dawn sighed and said, “You have to forgive them.”
Buffy was too shocked to even make a sound.
“Think about it,” said Dawn. “They are responsible for tainting your soul. To remove the taint you need to do something related to how it was obtained. Forgiving them for their actions will do that.”
“How do you know?” Buffy finally asked.
“I’m not sure but I believe the feeling comes from my being The Key. It is something that has been around for eons and would likely know about these things. But you’ll have to really, really mean it for it to work. And it has to be done soon before these chains become firmly attached to their souls.”
Buffy contemplated Dawn’s words. They rang true to her but even though she might be able to say she forgave them, could she mean it? The anguish of being torn from Heaven, returned to her coffin, and die again in agony trying to dig her way to the surface was immense. How could she forgive them all that? How did they deserve it?
“Buffy,” said Dawn with an understanding look on her face. “Forgiveness is not about who deserves it, but about freeing you for giving it. Not specifically about being free from the chains that bind you to them but about freeing your soul from the burden of your ill feelings towards them. By forgiving them you rid yourself of those feelings because they no longer matter. It’s not about them, it’s about you.”
Buffy rose up from beside Dawn and turned to face the others.
“Due to Dawn’s advice, I find that I really don’t want to be chained to you for all eternity,” she stated calmly. “Therefore, I hereby forgive you your actions that have caused me to be pulled from Heaven and left in my current state.”
The ghostly chains between her and the four shone brightly and seemed to become more solid before winking out of existence.
Buffy turned back to her sister and saw that the chain between her and Dawn was still there.
“Why didn’t this chain go away?” Buffy asks bewilderedly. “You weren’t part of their plans were you?”
“No,” replies Dawn. “This chain is still here because I owe you an apology. You see, even though I didn’t know what they were going to do, I did want you back. I wasn’t living for you like you asked me to. I was wallowing in misery over you not being here and not properly mourning you and cherishing all that you’d accomplished. I miss you terribly and don’t want you to go, but you do deserve your place in Heaven and to want you anywhere else now is wrong and I apologize to you for that.”
“I release you to your reward in the certain knowledge that we will be together again someday,” she solemnly said.
The chain between the sisters just faded away and a bright light shown around Buffy as she drifted towards the ceiling.
“Wait,” cried out Willow finally coming out of her stunned silence. “What about Tara?”
Buffy hovered just below the ceiling and looked at the blonde Wicca.
“Her retreat into her own mind was her own doing. She will have to be the one to cause her own return. I don’t know when that might happen though it will be sometime after she realizes I have forgiven her and then forgives herself.”
That said, the shade of Buffy Anne Summers slipped out through the ceiling and returned to her final rest.
“Com’n Bit,” said Spike as he glared at the others. “Let’s get you home.”
“Spike,” interjected Xander before Dawn even had a chance to turn around.
“What do you want, Whelp,” growled Spike.
Xander didn’t even flinch at Spike’s tone or name for him, considering he actually expected a lot worse.
“Before you take Dawn home, could you please get us a car so we can take Tara to the Sunnydale General? She’s already in danger of hypothermia as it is and with the rain outside still pouring down she’ll get soaked again before we can get twenty feet from the door.”
Spike was going to refuse but Dawn looked at him and nodded her assent.
He returned in a bit and went over to Xander to help carry the witch to the car. Dawn stayed inside as Anya and Willow followed them.
“Spike,” said Xander as they got Tara positioned in the back seat of a four door sedan. “I need you to keep Dawn away from Buffy’s grave for the next couple of days while I clean up our mess.”
Spike growled and said, “You will tell me everything you did. And don’t count on the Chip keeping me from making you spill your guts if I have to.”
Xander just nodded, knowing that Spike had meant that both figuratively as well as actually. For once he didn’t blame the vampire one bit for his anger towards him.
After they drove off to the hospital, Spike went back into The Magic Box.
“Ok Bit. Let’s get you back home and into some dry clothes of your own,” he said.
“In a minute Spike,” she replied as she inspected the damage to the Buffybot.
Spike joined her and said, “Bot’s pretty banged up.”
“I know,” replied Dawn. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for her to be out with all this rain as it’ll just mess up her insides more.”
“True enough. There’s no room on the bike and even running back home will get her drenched,” added Spike.
“Botty,” said Dawn. “Go over to that chair and sit until Willow can come get you. Reduce your power output as much as possible but keep alert.”
“OK,” replied the Buffybot cheerfully as she moved to the indicated chair. “We’re sisters and we look out for each other.”
Dawn gave the Bot a half smile and then proceeded to ensure the store was locked up as she and Spike left to go home.
Shortly after they left the Buffybot swiveled its head to look over the entire room and then said, “Shit!”
AN: I wrote this basically to get it out of my head and not interfere with working on my other stories. Not really sure where to take this from here. Especially since I have so many other irons in the fire. Anyone who wants to, feel free to write your own continuation.