What Makes a Hero?
Notes: I know that Buffy timeline would have her dying during “The Gift” taking place before the September 11 attacks. For the purposes of this story, I’m pushing her death to 2002 instead of 2001.
The events mentioned are real, the names and places, however, have been changed.
Whoever chose the Dawn/Metatron pairing, I’m sorry for the seriousness. I’ll make it up to you later with a more comedic meeting between the two.
Dawn stood, staring at the grave.
Buffy was gone.
She had died for her. She wasn’t even real and Buffy had died to save her.
“Why? Why would you die for me?”
“Because that’s what heroes do.”
Dawn turned quickly at the voice and stared suspiciously at the man behind her.
“Who are you?”
The Voice of God rolled his eyes.
“Metatron. Voice of God. Et cetera, et cetera.”
Dawn looked around her and noticed that the Scoobies who had accompanied her had frozen in place. She looked back at him.
“For all I know you could be some demon out to take advantage of the situation.”
“I could be, but I’m not. Even if I were, what would they do? They’re frozen in place.”
Dawn realized he was right. Her shoulders slumped in acceptance.
“So what does the Voice of God want with me? All I am is a murderer.”
“And that’s why I’m here.”
“To kill me?”
“To make you understand.”
He held a hand out to her. She stared at it in uncertainty.
“Take my hand. I want you to see something.”
She looked back at the Scoobies. She realized that if he could do whatever he wanted and they would never be able to stop him. She stepped forward and took the proffered hand.
Minor Elementary School- Brookside, Ohio- May 5, 19922:55 PM
The two reappeared. School was just letting out and pre-teens streamed by them, never noticing the strangers in their midst.
“Where are we?”
“Nowhere important. You’ve never heard of it, and never will.”
“Then why are we here?”
“For you to see this. Watch that man over there.”
He pointed to a bus driver waiting by his vehicle.
As they watched, a young girl, about seven years old, darted past the driver to cross in front of the bus.
She never saw the car coming from the wrong direction.
But he did.
The man leapt from his position, grabbed the girl around the waist and threw her out of the way of the car.
Dawn screamed as she saw what was coming, but Metatron shielded her from seeing the actual impact.
The girl had landed safely on the other side of the road. Bruised and scratched, but otherwise unharmed.
The man wasn’t so lucky. There was very little blood, but it was obvious the man wouldn’t survive.
“Why didn’t you stop it?” Dawn screamed at the angel.
“It already happened. It happened nearly twenty years ago.”
Tears poured down her face as she watched the scene in front of her.
“Why did you show me this?”
“To let you see. Would you call that little girl a murderer?”
“No! She didn’t ask for that to happen!”
“Neither did you.”
“Buffy wouldn’t have been on the tower if it hadn’t been for me. It’s my fault she’s dead.”
They watched the girl try and comfort the man as a crowd surrounded the pair. Metatron took Dawn’s hand and they disappeared.
University Walking Track- Jackson, Georgia- September 20, 19961:02 PM
This time Dawn and Metatron appeared on a walking track. All around them, men and women were doing sit-ups, push-ups and running.
“A walking track?”
“All these men and women? They’re firefighters here to do their annual physicals.”
They watched as a group of men took their place on the starting line of the track then started their run.
One of the men, about 40 years old, began limping shortly after the first time around the track. He waved at the younger man who was overseeing the physicals.
“Scott, you alright?”
“My leg’s got a cramp in it. Let me work it out and I’ll start back with the next group.”
“Sure man. Go see the medic and grab some water.”
The limping man, Scott made his way to the medic.
“Scott, you okay? You’re looking kind of pale.”
“I’m fine. Just a cramp.”
“Let me look you over anyway.”
The medic quickly took Scott’s blood pressure.
“It’s low. Let’s take you to the hospital and get you checked out. It’s been hot out here, so let’s play it safe.”
Metatron took Dawn’s hand and they vanished.
They popped back into existence as Scott was wheeled into an emergency room. The medic from before was now giving him chest compressions.
“What’s happening to him?”
“From a cramp? Does he have heat stroke or something?”
“He’s having a heart attack.”
“So? I don’t mean to be rude, but lots of people have heart attacks. What makes his so special?”
“His death changes how this entire city treats an injured emergency worker.”
“There was a hospital less than three blocks from the walking track. The hospital they’ve brought him to is five miles away. It may not seem like much, but in this case, it’s the difference between life and death.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Because that’s what their rules and regulations told them to do. But Scott’s death? It changes everything. From now on, they’ll take emergency workers to whatever hospital is closest. It saves thousands of lives in the future.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“Would you call that medic a murderer? After all, he was only doing what he was supposed to do.”
“Of course not. But it’s a completely different situation.”
“What about all the people who live because of Scott? Are they murderers?”
“No! None of this matters. I’m the reason Buffy’s dead. That little girl and those people that Scott saves? They didn’t cause those deaths.”
Metatron looked at a teary Dawn.
“You still don’t understand.”
Fire Station- New York City, NY- September 11, 20018:40 AM
Dawn and Metatron reappeared inside a fire station.
Several firefighters were stretched out on bunks, asleep. A few more watched a movie on a television in the corner.
“Why are we in a New York fire station?”
“It’s September 11. In a few minutes, these men are going to get the call about the World Trade Center.”
Tears began to stream down her face as she realized the situation.
“I’ve seen enough. I don’t want to see any more.”
The Scoobies were still frozen as Dawn and Metatron returned.
“Do you understand now?”
“I think so. But it doesn’t make me feel less guilty. It wasn’t my fault that Glory took me, but still- Buffy died for me. She died for me, but it wasn’t my fault.”
Dawn began to cry and Metatron took her in his arms. He held her as she sobbed.
“See? I knew you were a smart girl. Buffy said it would take at least five examples, but I knew you’d get it in three.”
Dawn jerked her head up and looked at him in shock.
“Dawn, your sister was a hero. Is a hero. I’m an angel. Where else did you think she would go?”
“She’s in heaven?”
“Yes. And she’s at peace. She couldn’t rest, knowing you felt guilty. She’s a stubborn one, your sister. She wouldn’t shut up until I came to see you. Amused the Almighty to no end.”
“She’s there too. She sends her love, by the way. They both do.”
Dawn hugged him.
“You’re quite welcome. Would you like for me to give them any messages?”
“Just… tell them I love them. And miss them.”
Dawn looked to where the Scoobies were still frozen.
“The Scoobies, what do I tell them?”
“It’s up to you, but to them, no time will have passed.”
Metatron released her.
“Wait- before you go. Those people… that bus driver and that firefighter. Those were real people? Those things actually happened?”
“Then they’re heroes too. Will you tell them thank you? I mean, they don’t know me and they probably don’t care-“
She was cut off mid-babble by Metatron’s hand over her mouth.
“They are most definitely heroes. I will deliver your thanks.”
He grimaced as he removed his hand from her mouth and wiped it on his pants.
“Yes… just like your sister.”
With that, he disappeared.
“Not yet. But maybe one day,” she whispered.
“Maybe one day what?”
Dawn jumped as she turned around to find the Scoobies behind her.
“Nothing. I’m ready to go home now.”The End
I’m sorry to anyone who came here looking for a comedy (as that’s usually what I write).
Scott, the firefighter from this story, was based on my father who died fifteen years ago today in the same circumstances.
There were two points to this story: one is for catharsis, the other is to give thanks to all the heroes who never receive it.Thank you to all the uncelebrated heroes out there.