: Now, a number of you have left reviews about how much you hate Elizabeth. And I keep telling you that you're going to hate her quite a bit more, before this whole thing is over. So... um, yeah. Here's the quite a bit more section.
Don't worry, when you get to Willow's odd little dialogue section that seems to make no sense. You haven't missed anything. You'll find out what Willow's reacting to, soon enough.
As I've said before, Buffy does come into this story, but not exactly in the way you expect.
They didn't find Elizabeth.
Or the Doctor.
They looked all throughout the day, until they decided they were way, way, way too tired, and crashed in Dawn's living room. By the time that they woke up, night had fallen, and Angel was trying to shake them awake.
"We've got a serious problem," he said.
Everyone sat up, abruptly.
"How serious is serious?" asked Xander. "Are we talking the entire town of Sunnydale is going to die serious? The world is going to be destroyed serious? The Hellmouth has just opened serious?"
"I can find the Doctor," said Angel.
"Oh," said Xander, collapsing back into the armchair. "We're talking 'we just found someone we were looking for' serious."
"I know this might sound stupid," said Willow, "but don't we want to find the Doctor?"
do," said Angel.
Dawn stretched, and gave a small yawn. "You think Elizabeth's found him?" she asked.
"I think Elizabeth found the Doctor a long time ago," said Angel. "And from the smell, I'd say she's pretty much done with him."
"Smell?" asked Xander. "You don't mean they…?" He made a face. "Ew."
"I meant she tried to kill him," said Angel. "Blood, Xander. That's what I can smell. Time Lord blood."
"And if you can smell it…" Giles said, adjusting his glasses.
"Then every other vampire in Sunnydale can smell it, too," Angel agreed. "And that's one problem we really, really don't need on top of everything else."
"Vampires killing the Doctor?" asked Tara.
"Vampires that have drunk Time Lord blood," Angel corrected.
Willow frowned, trying to jog her sleep-addled brain. "Oh, yeah," she said. "Vampires all go sort of crazy around the Doctor, don't they? I never really got why."
"I thought his blood turned vampires human," said Dawn.
"Only when he's injected himself with the Vamp-Away cure," said Angel. "If that's worn off… then we've got a serious problem on our hands."
Everyone gave him a blank look. Angel looked around the room, at all the confused faces.
"You mean you never heard the legends about Time Lord blood?" asked Angel. "What it can do? The reason that vampires are willing to risk their lives and maybe more for just a taste of it?"
Everyone shook their heads.
"Then let's hope you never find out," he told them, as he ran to the door.
When they found the Doctor, Dawn didn't think she knew enough swear words to describe the scene they discovered.
They had passed a number of vampires on the way. At first, Dawn had been frightened, but it soon became apparent that the vampires weren't interested in them. The vampires had their noses in the air, their eyes filled with greed and hunger. They had one goal in mind, and that was the Doctor.
Dawn squeezed Willow's hand a little tighter.
They arrived, eventually, at the burnt out remains of Buffy's high school. Willow paused, as she approached. "Wait a minute," she said. "Vampires… and a woman… and…" She trailed off.
"What?" asked Dawn.
Willow gave Dawn a reassuring smile. "Nothing," she said. "It's not important."
But it was, and Dawn knew it. And it always bugged Dawn when Willow and Tara and Xander and Anya and people didn't fill her in about important stuff she should know.
The others were all talking. Mainly about why the Doctor would be in the burnt-out high school (and if he'd been here all day, no wonder they hadn't found him, because they'd never have thought to look here) and whether he'd been trying to open the Hellmouth or was Elizabeth trying to open the Hellmouth, or… what?
None of that could prepare Dawn for what she found in the burnt-out library.
Two vampires were feeding as they entered, their jaws dripping with blood. Then, their eyes went wide, and they screamed, as they turned to dust. That was when Dawn noticed the tied-up figure on the ground, the one the vampires had been feeding on.
And Dawn ran out of swear words.
"Is that…?" Giles asked.
It was. The Doctor, on the ground, on his side, beside the Hellmouth crack, feet bound with thick rope, and his hands bound in front of him. A long length of rope extended out of the knot that bound his hands, a length of rope that looped around a partially toppled beam of the ceiling. It looked as if the Doctor had originally been hanging from the roof, before some vampire had come in and tried to drag him away, pulling the beam down along with him. His eyes were shut, and his skin was drenched with a reddish-orangey blood.
"Before anyone says anything," said Xander. "This is definitely still something that Buffy would have done." But Dawn wasn't sure if Xander was trying to convince himself, or everyone else.
Tara ran over, and felt for a pulse. "He's still alive," she called out.
Willow, Dawn, and the others ran over, untying him and applying pressure to the wounds, trying to make the bleeding stop.
Willow paused, as she examined the bite marks. Her eyes went wide, and she just kept staring. Most of the others didn't notice, simply continued to try to get the Doctor back to normal. But Tara caught the lack of motion, and hesitated.
"Willow?" Tara asked. "What's wrong?"
"I've seen this before," Willow breathed.
Everyone looked over at her.
"Seen what before?" asked Anya.
Willow put her hand up to her hair, and felt the strands beneath her fingers. "It's long," she said. "Longer."
"Will, you sure you're all right?" asked Xander.
"What's 38,000?" asked Willow. She looked around at them. "That number's important. What does it mean?"
"Isn't that the population estimate of Sunnydale?" asked Angel.
"That sounds about right," Anya confirmed.
Willow blinked, then nodded, slowly. She looked back at the Doctor. "What am I going to do to you?" she asked, in a whisper.
"Willow?" Tara asked.
Willow shook her head. "Sorry," she said. "It's just… nothing. I'll tell you later. Right now, we should just figure out how to get him somewhere safe."
Angel turned to Giles. "You better go get your car," said Angel. "He's not in any position to walk."
Giles nodded, and rushed out of the burnt-out library.
"Well," said Anya. "From the number of bite marks, I'd say nearly every vampire in Sunnydale had a go at him."
"So all those vampires now have Time Lord blood?" asked Dawn.
"From what we saw when we first came in," said Angel, "I'd say Elizabeth worked out how much Vamp-Away was too much, dosed him with it, and set a trap. The moment a vampire tries to drink his blood, he'll turn to ash."
"She set a trap for vampires using her ex-boyfriend as bait?" asked Dawn. "That's horrible!"
"You gotta admit, it does get rid of a huge number of vampires all at once," Xander pointed out. "I mean, it's what Buffy would do."
"Nearly kill her ex-boyfriend?" Dawn asked.
Angel shrugged. "She sent me to Hell for a hundred years so she could save the world," he pointed out. "How's this any different?"
Dawn had to admit that was a good point. Really, this was the same thing, wasn't it?
"And besides, wanting to kill your ex-boyfriend isn't a crime," said Anya. "I've met tons of women like that. At least Elizabeth is nice enough to use her vengeance to make the world a better place."
"Yeah — wait, what? No, just…" Angel sighed. "Look, all I'm saying is, you guys can't blame Elizabeth. She's just acting exactly the same way that Buffy would act."
"Yeah," said Dawn. "I guess."
Willow stared at them, horror in her eyes. "What are you guys talking about?"
"If the positions were reversed, this is exactly what Buffy would do," Angel explained. "Saving the town from vampires and helping innocent humans."
"Yep, this has Buffy written all over it," Xander agreed.
Willow gaped at them. "Are you guys insane? Buffy would never have done this!" she cried. She pointed at the Doctor. "This is not
okay! Under any circumstances! I don't care if it's Elizabeth doing it, or some random stranger, or whoever. He was tied up, and interrogated — by the Hellmouth — and then nearly killed. You don't do that to people!"
"He's not exactly people, Will," said Xander. "He's… you know. Alien."
"I don't care!" said Willow. "Buffy would never, ever
have done this! Not in a million years! If she were around, right now…" She trailed off, as she looked over at the doorway, where three more vampires had appeared. "Uh, oh."
The Scoobies all got up, and prepared themselves for the vampire fight of their lives. These vampires looked determined to feed, but the Scoobies were determined to stop them. And they all knew how determined vampires always were to drink the Doctor's blood.
Dawn was about to go and help the others, but she caught sight of movement from the Doctor, and looked down to find his eyes open, staring at the area around him. Then those dark, intense eyes fixed on her, as if looking deep into her soul.
The Doctor tried to get up, reaching a hand towards Dawn, but it was clear that he'd lost too much blood, and collapsed back onto the ground. Dawn looked at his eyes, those sad, terribly lonely eyes.
Was this the same guy everyone kept saying was going to kill her?
But Dawn kept remembering, when Buffy was still alive, the way she'd spoken about the Doctor. She'd said he was sunshine and starlight and that wonderful feeling you got when you were so happy to be alive. And Dawn kept remembering those times when she had been in trouble, and the Doctor had rushed to defend her. The way he'd sat her down, with those friendly, trusting eyes, and told her that he wasn't real, either, that he was from a planet that never existed, in a time that had been folded out of the timeline, in a galaxy that was now just empty space.
Donna had said it best. The Doctor was terrifying. And he was amazing.
Just like Buffy.
Dawn knelt down by him, and took his hand in her own. He squeezed it, tightly. She could see his lips moving, see him saying something, but she couldn't catch what it was. He just kept saying it, over and over again. It took her a little while to realize that it was her sister's name.
He thought she was her sister.
"No, Doctor, it's me," said Dawn. "Dawn."
The Doctor nodded. "I know," he whispered. "Buffy's dead."
Oh. Oh. So that's what he'd been saying. Over and over and over again. 'Buffy's dead.' As if trying to convince himself it was true. Trying to process what the words actually meant.
"I know," said Dawn. "I miss her, too."
"No," said the Doctor, clutching her hand tighter. "I checked. She's dead. Really dead." He stared straight ahead at the ceiling. "Why?" he mouthed.
"She died saving my life," said Dawn.
"It doesn't make sense," said the Doctor, squeezing his eyes shut.
Dawn hesitated. "What… doesn't make sense?" she asked. Because she wasn't sure if it was Buffy's death that didn't make sense to him, or the fact that Buffy would sacrifice herself to save Dawn.
(Because Dawn knew that she had cried her eyes out for nights on end, trying to make sense of it herself, trying to understand why Buffy — a real person, a superhero, the one that everyone always depended on — would have sacrificed herself for Dawn. For someone not real. Dawn couldn't make sense of it, either.)
The Doctor's eyes popped open, and he stared at her. Really stared at her. In that way he'd done the first time he saw her, as if he couldn't quite believe what she was, as if the entire world were crashing down on his head, and he couldn't do anything to stop it.
"Dawn Summers," he said. "The most dangerous girl in the universe."
Dawn felt herself shiver as he said those words. She wasn't really sure what to say when he told her things like that. And he said that to her a lot. Buffy had always said it was just because he wanted to make sure she knew her own responsibility. But Dawn was pretty sure he'd said that to himself, the very first time he'd seen her.
She didn't want to be the most dangerous girl in the universe.
A terribly sad expression haunted the Doctor's face, one that was filled with such pain and loss and self-hatred that Dawn felt a little uneasy. In a voice barely above a whisper, the Doctor told her:
"I'm sorry. I am so, so sorry."
And the way he said it was actually sort of creepy. Like… he was going to have to do something he regretted. But that couldn't be right. He wouldn't really want to kill her, would he?
(He wanted to kill her the first time he saw her.)
Dawn tried to pull away from him, but he held her hand a little tighter — impossibly strong — and wouldn't let her go. Dawn looked at the people around her, then back down at the Doctor. Buffy would have trusted him. Buffy would have trusted him with anything. Everything.
But should Dawn?
Elizabeth didn't trust him one inch. And Elizabeth was so much like Buffy. Yes, Dawn could sort of tell that she traveled with the Doctor — she had that way of talking people around that all the Doctor's companions picked up. And she did gadgets instead of fighting. But she still looked like Buffy. She still felt like Buffy.
Elizabeth had to still be Buffy.
The vampires dusted in the night air, and the Doctor's eyes darted over to them, acknowledging them. "Don't understand," he said.
Dawn was a little too frightened to ask him what he didn't understand. She thought she knew. And she thought she knew what he was planning to do to remedy the situation.
The Doctor squeezed Dawn's hand even tighter. His eyes met hers. "When she returns," he whispered, "run."
"Huh?" asked Dawn.
But the Doctor had already drifted back into unconsciousness.
Dawn tried to get her hand away, but even unconscious, the Doctor kept holding on with an iron grip. She called out to the others for help. They all ran over, and, with some effort, managed to get Dawn away from the Doctor.
When who returns? Because obviously, he couldn't be talking about Elizabeth. Elizabeth was Buffy, and Buffy would never hurt her. Elizabeth had to be Buffy. Dawn wasn't about to run away from Elizabeth. She wasn't about to run away from someone who'd sacrificed herself to save a non-real sister.
Outside, they could hear a car approaching. Giles' car. Dawn watched, as the other Scoobies picked the Doctor up and dragged him back towards the car. They were all still arguing, even as they managed to arrange the limp, bloody body into the back seat.
"Look, Will," said Xander. "I promise. When Elizabeth explains it all, you'll see. Elizabeth's just doing exactly what Buffy would do, in this situation."
"Well, quite," said Giles, as he got into the driver's seat. "I'm certain there's a terribly logical, reasonable explanation for this."
Dawn decided they had to be right.