Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, but belong to their respective owners.
The glittering scythe came crashing down upon the seed-
“No!” the goddess Ishtar, also known as Inanna, and by many other names, cursed loudly from her home dimension. “This-, that-,”
“That what happens when you leave things half-done,” muttered the Old one sitting by Ishtar’s side. “They fall apart, the center does not hold, and magic’s first to go from the world. You want to go the way of old Zeus and just flood the whole thing and get it over with?”
“This isn’t my world,” Ishtar said crossly, “nor is it yours. There are plenty of other Powers that Are who are displeased about the elder Vampire Slayer’s decision, but were we to flood it without asking their permission – uh-uh. It just wouldn’t work. And to ask their permission... that’s not what I want.”
“Well, what do you want?” the Old one was unperturbed. “Seriously, you’re at war with Azathoth and his hordes, remember? Just write off this world as a loss for now and return to it later.”
“No,” Ishtar replied in a rare foul mood, so rare that she hadn’t felt it since the episode with Gilgamesh. “I want different results.”
The Old one didn’t say anything, but just looked on at Ishtar as the latter began to share with her the plan.* * *Three years in the past
“And I am saying that resurrecting Buffy is our only way!” Willow angrily thumped the table in the Magic Box. “Now that that vampire knows that the Sunnydale Slayer is a robot, who knows whom he will talk to? We must bring Buffy back!”
“No you don’t,” a strange, accented voice spoke just as Tara was about to. “Life never narrows down to a single choice, but always grows, spreads and changes – that’s why it is life!”
There was a pause as the Scoobies stared at the exotically-dressed newcomer and her more conventional-looking companion.
“And who are you?” Xander asked, seeing how both Willow and Tara choked up for some reason.
“Xander, honey?” Anya answered him instead. “Remember how Willow and Tara tend to go ‘oh my goddess’ and all that? Well, this is the goddess in question and she came to us in person to say that resurrecting Buffy won’t be such a good idea!”
“Why not? Without Buffy-“
“No, not without your friend, young man,” Ishtar shook her head. “Without your Vampire Slayer, you mean – and you still got one, albeit in prison. For what would you do with your friend if she returned to you without Slayer abilities?”
There was a pause as everybody tried to formulate an honest answer, and surprisingly, Dawn found one.
“That’s not the whole point,” she said, though flushing red. “She was my sister, and while her being the Vampire Slayer – ours or not. She was my last family and all. Willow and Tara have problems of their own, Giles is in England, and Xander and Anya don’t even live here. So with-out Buffy,” Dawn shuddered, “I am doomed. Kind of petty, I guess-“
“Therefore, if you had your sister back, whether as a Slayer or not, you will be at peace?” Ishtar looked Dawn straight in the eye.
“Yes.” Dawn was sweating profusely, but she wasn’t backing down either. “I will.”
“Done, then!” Ishtar said cheerfully and snapped her fingers. Immediately, a cloud of sapphire-blue light surrounded the still charging Buffybot before fading into pinkishness instead. And when even that had vanished, the former robot blinked in surprise and stared at Dawn in even greater surprise.
“Why am I feeling all tingly?” she asked, lacking her usual metallic notes of voice. “Why am I... feeling? Dawn, you are my sister? I’m confused.”
“Buffy?” Dawn slowly asked and took the ex-robot by hand. The hand was warm and soft, and not at all metallic or robotic. “Buffy!” Dawn yelled and hugged her big sister – and was hugged back.
The next moment loud wailing and weeping broke the silence, as both sisters just hugged each other and wept freely.
“Well, that’s that, then,” Anya shrugged. After a brief look at Tara and Willow (who appeared lost by their desires to prostrate before their goddess, join Buffy and Dawn at hugging and weeping, or just sort things out between themselves), she turned back to Ishtar and her companion (whom Anya has also meant during her existence as a vengeance demon, but she’d be damned, if she could recognize her). “I’ll go and talk to Angel or Giles about getting Faith an early parole?”
“Please do,” Ishtar smiled in a sort of a superior way that gods and goddesses bestow on ex-demons and vanished alongside her companion. Anya, for her part, just sighed and reached for the phone, even as Buffy and Dawn still sat on the floor, happy together at last.End