Disclaimer: I own neither the Star Trek
universe nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. If only I were rich... wait, wrong film. Let’s get a move on, shall we?
A/N: This story will start at the beginning, sort of, but will jump around thereafter. It’s part of an attempt to break out of writer’s block through writing smaller stories in a larger narrative, rather than the longer stories I generally prefer.“What’s that siren?”“Air raid. We need to get downstairs.”“I thought it was all over.”“Apparently not.”“What is it? What are they saying?”“Oh, God-”“Dawn?”
“Get down, Bu-”A hug. A flash. Ashes and dust. And a sudden, rude awakening.
Dawn Summers - or, if one wanted to be technical, the girl who had once been Dawn Summers - sat quietly as Willow told her the results of her magical examination. She didn’t know what had happened. She had died, and then she was... back. Just, back. Except not. Fourteen years of memories had magically appeared in her head, added on top of her whole life before, and there she was, speaking with her... mother. And father. Watching the world outside go mad, unable to contact anyone from her past life for months.
Until now. Now that things had “settled down somewhat”, the government here had started allowing communication with the outside world. And, with it, she got in touch with the only person who might believe her; it had probably taken all her magic to teleport halfway across the globe, but she had done it.
“Well, I can tell you that it’s no different from what happened before,” Willow said, frowning. “I’m not sure why you still have your old memories, I don’t think that was planned. The spell was clearly meant to reincarnate you just like you were the first time. You didn’t take some other girl’s life. You were just kinda inserted.”
“So it’s all a lie?”
“Think of it as, sorta, a new truth,” Willow said, kind of weakly. “I don’t think anyone who didn’t know you as Dawn would even recognize you. I mean, I can tell, but I showed you the picture.”
A picture of Dawn Summers. A picture that only had the same vague description as Dawn, though close enough to look related to her.
“So,” Dawn said, hesitating, “this is just going to happen again?”
“I think so,” Willow said. “I mean, these are deep magics. The Key is, uh, well, it’s not something you really wanna mess with. The spell is tied into it. Into, uh, you.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Dawn said, her new accent setting in slightly, “I mean, I’m fourteen again! Fourteen! I was almost collecting social security before I...” she choked up. “Before I...”
“Dawnie,” Willow said, trying to soothe her. It wasn’t going to work.
“Am I still Dawn? Am I Marie? What the hell am I supposed to think?”<br>
“No. I went through so much. And now I’m 14 again. How am I supposed to deal with high school again? I mean, if school ever gets back to normal. I’m stuck. I’m stuck and in the middle of all this crap.”
Willow waited for a few seconds, to see if Dawn was finished. “Dawn- maybe, maybe you should try to live.”
“I mean, well, I didn’t exactly take to living easy. But, you know, there’s so many opportunities in the world. Maybe you should try. Take some risks. Do some good. Try living as Marie Laurent. Or whoever else you get made.”
There was silence as Dawn contemplated her words. She knew what Buffy would say.
“Dawn, please.” Willow almost sounded pleading. “I-- just call me if you really need help. I’ll be around. Somewhere.”
Dawn sighed in silence as the last moments played through the end in her mind once more.
“I- I’ll try,” Dawn said, before her eyes suddenly flashed in anger. “Why am I acting like this? I’m not like this! I mean, I haven’t-”
“You’re fourteen, Dawn. Again. You have, well, a different perspective on it, but you still have the memories of a fourteen year old. You’re as much Marie as you are Dawn.”
“And I need to get going, soon. And you should get home. It’s almost curfew.”
“And I mean, I don’t want to be late being a foreigner getting back to the slayer house, I mean, well, if they ask for papers, I won’t exactly have them-”
Willow stopped. Dawn spoke again.
Willow smiled, and said nothing as they both stood up from the small table. Willow hugged Dawn, very strongly.
“Call me if you need help,” Willow said, seriously. “I love you. So did Buffy.”
Dawn nodded, with her head leaned on Willow. It was awkward.
“Good luck, Willow.”
As though Willow was a prophet, the loudspeakers began to announce:
Attention: Curfew begins in thirty minutes. I repeat, curfew begins in thirty minutes. All citizens should return to their homes immediately. Thank you.
They let go of one another, and, with a last look, Willow turned away, walking up the small street.
Dawn, feeling slightly better, turned in the other way back to go back to the Laurent residence. Maybe one day it would be home.
But, she thought of the advice that the immortal witch had given her. “Live.”
What could she do? There were so many things left undone. She’d dedicated her entire life to helping the slayers. She could learn more languages. Or maybe just study something else. Or maybe she might actually bring herself to experiment in the Willowy sense in this timeline. Urgh. Bad thoughts. If anything that thought appealed less now than it did before.“You disgusting traitor!”
Dawn looked carefully to the side, where three soldiers were harassing a dark-skinned teenager. She looked back. She was small and unarmed. They were well-armed and allowed to shoot troublemakers on sight.
Her fixed vision ahead saw an old propaganda poster, from a previous government. Thirty-odd flags, flapping in the wind, surrounded by golden stars and the legend in Latin, In varietate concordia.
‘United in Diversity’. Yeah, right. If only that were true.
Years later, she would realize that, in that moment, she truly became Marie Laurent. And, in some cosmic sense, became a greater Dawn Summers.