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Summary: Links of a Chain. These are important if you want to follow along with this tale, Dawn, in her moment of almost death caused by Glory's portal learns that sometimes the Weakest Link can be dangerous.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Dark > Dawn-CenteredSithicusFR2113,687018102 Jul 122 Jul 12Yes

NOTE: This story is rated FR21 which is above your chosen filter level. You can set your preferred maximum rating using the drop-down list in the top right corner of every page.

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Disclaimer: First, all characters appearing in this story are the property intellectually speaking of Joss Whedon, creative genius who built up the Buffy Franchise to what it is today, a part of pop culture phenomena.

Secondly, I bring you fair warning. This story is dark, it features repercussions of a singular event seen in my previous Fanfiction Discord's Morning-Glory, though it is not a cross over with any one thing. It involves strong implications of underaged teenage pregnancy and other things whic may disturb some readers, I do not advocate these things in real life. It is used for the purpose of telling a story, a very deeply rooted story of consequences for events surrounding the climax of Season Five.

Thirdly and most importantly, while the ending hints at a valiant protector of the citizens of a city who shall remain nameless, as I said I do not consider this a cross over of any sort as the bulk of the story takes place squarely in the Buffy corner of the Multiverse and no other fictional characters from any other branches of the Multiverse appear in person. Consider the ending a vague possibility at best that Dawn goes on to a better place.

Now. As the rating is also appropriate for this story, I give you my twisted muse's idea of what happens when Glory opens the portal, and why the Multiverse is always meant to remain in check lest something like this may inadvertantly occur.

With all of the divergent and branching pathways that exist there are often events which fail to correlate between realities. And then there are events which correlate too often. Glorificus needs the Key, Glorificus finds the Key, Glorificus uses the Key.

In order to prevent the entire fabric of the multiverse from unraveling completely; the sector of the Omniverse governing the realm of realities linked to The Vampyre Slayer only ever allows the Key to be activated at set points along the spiraling chain which links them all. At each link of the chain the Key is allowed to activate, the portal to open, and the events resulting in sealing this portal before it can manifest completely occur.

All plans often work out when governing the Omniverse is concerned, it happens like clockwork. Unfortunately, due to the events in one particular link on the chain, and the alteration of the rules, now comes the true danger of this planned orderly chaos.

Or to put it most bluntly, two realities are about to get royally screwed because it is now their time to activate the Key. Simultaneously. Not of the Good here folks, Not of the Good.

Dawn felt the steel blade of the knife cutting her flesh, she felt her blood spilling out even as she instinctively brought her hand up to prevent it. And she felt a very powerful tugging on her essence as the shimmering vortex destined to seal their doom tore open in front of her, just a few inches away from the end of the catwalk on the precarious tower she was perched upon.

Then she felt the sensation again, as it ripped through her very soul and through the eyes of another Dawn Summers she witnessed Glory, rather than Doc, cutting her open and leaping into the portal to go home before anyone could stop her. It was bound to happen, the theory of Multiversal Existence states that every single event must play out at least once, so Glory succeeding and getting home instead of being killed makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, this event is not what is happening to Dawn at the moment. She still sees Doc standing in front of her, but she also sees the portal opening wider and wider where Glory left it.

Screaming in sheer agony Dawn feels the spell that the Monks used start to erode and the full might and power of the Key is tapped into, or more appropriately re-awakened.

Unlocked Dawn and Sealed Dawn stare across the tear in reality at one another, both of them realizing that they are witnessing a simultaneous event of a key nature. And what an ironic pun that is, then the Key realizes that this was never meant to happen, something has changed drastically, and there is a great danger now that Glory has escaped from one reality. That everything in existence could be destroyed.

“Discord!” Unlocked Dawn shouts to the heavens as her powers allow her to notice where the break in the chain has occurred.

“This can’t be good.” Sealed Dawn glances around hoping to find her sister coming up to stop her from doing something monumentally stupid. “One of these portals needs to be sealed fast, and I don’t see my other self doing it any time soon.”

“We can not seal them individually.” Unlocked Dawn adopts a very depressed expression. “You can feel it can’t you? Both of our portals have become merged, neither one of us has the right type of blood to seal it back up. Think of it like this, even though we are both Dawn Summers not every reality has the same blood type. Due to the very nature of the Omniverse itself, one of us could be O Positive and the other AB Negative, with both portals opened and both blood types merging inside of the portal neither one of us can seal it.”

Sealed Dawn nodded, ignoring the confusion on Doc’s face as he tries to figure out why his Goddess isn’t taking advantage of the tear in reality. She starts to pace.  “So what do we do?”

Unlocked Dawn offers a tiny shrug. “The only way to merge blood types naturally is to… Get busy, you know, have a kid.”

Sealed Dawn flinches. “I’m only fifteen! We’re only fifteen! Way too young to be having kids.”

Unlocked Dawn chuckles. “Technically neither of us is older than a few months, as humans, whereas the Key is about a billion times older than that.”

Sealed Dawn shoots her other self a glare.

Doc, finally fed up with being ignored tries to end this confusing development.

With a thought and a flick of her hand Unlocked Dawn unleashes a burst of energy, which travels through one portal and out the other sending Doc sailing off of the tower to his death, and breaking her other self free of the chains still holding her to the sacrificial alter.

Sealed Dawn blinks and rubs her wrists. “Thanks, I forgot those were still there.” She frowns as the topic of conversation returns back to the previous train of thought. “Another thing, I don’t want to give birth to some kid whose sole purpose in life is to die, that’s just sick and way wrong.”

Unlocked Dawn nods her agreement. “I know, but if we don’t do anything everything in existence will die.”

Sealed Dawn sighs in defeat. “So how do we go about doing this? Because last time I checked neither one of us was Derrick Summers.”

Unlocked Dawn laughed. “We’re the key, and I have access to all of my abilities as such. Approach the portal; we must be able to do what is necessary.”

Sealed Dawn feels a sense of impending nausea as she watches her other self alter her body structure a little bit to gain a part that no fifteen year old girl should ever have to think about as being part of her body. “This is totally squicksome you realize.”

“I know!” Unlocked Dawn said shuddering with a hint of disgust. “Let’s just hurry up before your Buffy or mine decides to jump in and kill herself for no good reason.”

Sealed Dawn approaches the portal and then… It felt like everything and nothing at once, her arm reaches out to try and steady herself and she brushes against her other self’s skin. Thankfully enough this does not cause an Omniverse shattering paradox of ungodly proportions. “Someone so totally gets off on these sick types of scenarios,” sealed Dawn mutters as she feels the tingling sensation of the Key’s power radiating from her other self, protecting her and her other from the destructive effects of the portal.

Unlocked Dawn silently agrees with her sealed counterpart. “Fortunately they don’t need to know what we do in here, because we can just transition to another POV of the scene from somewhere else.

Sealed Dawn frowns confused. “Huh?”

Unlocked Dawn shrugs. “So, do we kiss or something or just get down to it?”

Sealed Dawn stares frustratedly at her other self.

“Right, right, this isn’t a romantic thing, out of necessity kind of deal, so down to it, it is. You will have to be undressed for this part though,” unlocked Dawn reminds her other self, and with a thought Sealed Dawn is no longer wearing her sacrificial dress. And then…

Willow felt her powers slipping dangerously out of control, Glory had escaped, Tara was still a basket-case and she hadn’t been able to drain the sanity back into her from Glory. It wasn’t fair; she couldn’t even kill the damn bitch or lash out at anybody.

The magic inside of her began to boil and bubble, as though it wanted out, her skin began to feel as though it couldn’t contain her. Her eyes pooled into black orbs, her hair darkened, her very essence began to feed off of the mystical energies surrounding the portal.

If her Tara had to suffer through life like this, than everyone else would suffer as well. With a mental thought she hurled a bolt of energy at Anya and Xander, both of whom were clinging to one another.

Anya cried out in sudden pain and felt her legs fall out from under her, that was the last thing she could feel as her spine seemed to almost twist into a knot. She couldn’t feel her legs anymore.

Xander was screaming at her to get up, trying to pull her to her feet, but the synaptic pathways just weren’t there anymore. She was a paraplegic.

Another uncontrollable burst of energy struck Spike and Buffy who were arguing about letting Buffy go up the tower to stop her sister from killing herself. Spike instantly turned to ash and Buffy felt a sharp stabbing pain drawing across her face, a huge scar appeared causing one of her eyes to go dark.

A third burst of magical energy collided with Giles. At first nothing seemed to happen with him, then he almost collapsed in fear as the ghost of Jenny Calendar appeared before his eyes, as gruesome looking as he remembered finding her corpse that terrible day. And she was mocking him, telling him he failed to save her. Failed to save Buffy.

Linked as they were inside the ellipsis of the portal both Dawn’s felt the horrible things happening to their friends and family on Unlocked Dawn’s side of reality. But neither could stop their actions now as they needed to save all of reality from collapsing inwards on itself.

“What the hell is Dawn doing?” Buffy practically screamed as Spike held her back from charging up the tower.

Xander with his head craned upwards was doing his best to try and see just what was going on. “I can’t be sure, Buff, but I think she’s standing just on the lip of the portals edge… And uh… I don’t even know what my brain is trying to tell me at this point.”

Anya, as blunt as ever, stated exactly what she was seeing. “Dawn and another Dawn on the other side of the portal are fucking like horrible little bunnies for some deranged reason. They’ve orgasmed both at least three times by now.”

The others turned and stared at her as if she were crazy.

Spike shuddered. “I think we all could have done without that odd mental image, luv.”

“Ruddy hell.” Giles came back from wherever he’d gone staring at the others. “Why are we all standing here doing nothing to prevent the end of the world, indeed all worlds, discussing possibly the most disturbing and perverted thing I have ever had the misfortune to overhear uttered from your girlfriend’s lips, Xander.”

“Hey!” Xander felt extremely offended by this. “We have been trying to figure out what to do, G-Man, but in case you haven’t noticed there’s an awful lot of energy floating around up there. It kind of looks like its expanding and, was that a dragon that came out of there a few minutes ago?” Xander shook his head. “The point is, while you’ve been off doing God knows what we’ve been trying to figure out how to prevent our total destruction.”

“Yes, well, that’s all well and good.” Giles removed his glasses. “I’ve merely been busy doing what none of you had the courage to do.”

Buffy whirled on the watcher in that instance, all fear for Dawn’s safety buried under the sudden horror within her mind. “You killed Ben!” she accused.

“Someone had to do it,” Willow spoke up.

Buffy spun to face her. “You didn’t just say that. I am not hearing you say that.”

Tara took a step back in nervous apprehension. Her eyes hadn’t left the portal since Dawn approached it, her aura sense allowed her to see what exactly Dawn was doing, and why she was doing it. Now she could see something different forming within the portal, a new aura spreading between both Dawns. It brought a sense of great joy and sickening sadness to her heart.

The others continued to argue the moral ramifications of murdering an innocent human being, Tara couldn’t bear to hear them fight, she also couldn’t bear to see Dawn have to go through this alone. It was a violation on so many levels that it defied description. Taking one shaky step towards the tower, Tara began to climb, she had to hurry or else the event would be over before she had the chance to do something to deflect the consequences.

Sealed Dawn cried out in pure agony as her body once again felt the throes of labor, mystical births were a bitch, she so could relate more to Cordelia now after this mess. Unlocked Dawn coaxed her gently through the motions, doing her best to keep her other self from suffering too much with her abilities.

Tara Maclay was suddenly standing behind Unlocked Dawn, holding out her hand in a gesture of almost sadness. “Pretty lights dance,” she whispered extending her aura instinctively to the pair of energy turned human creations.

Tara Maclay reached out for Sealed Dawn and grasped her hand; despite the energies of the portal she somehow managed to reach it. “I’m here, baby, just breathe… O-O-Ok?” She smiled.

Sealed Dawn let out one final cry of intense agonized pain, her throat feeling raw from all the screaming. A tiny cry escaped from the center of the portal, and with that everything seemed to freeze up. The arguments below, the energies swirling around, even the feeling of sheer nauseated disgust at having done something no human being ever should faded into the background and all of reality stilled with bated breath awaiting the next moment.

A tiny baby cried out as she came into the world within the very center of the maelstrom. Then another voice joined her cry, and another, as Anya had pointed out both Dawns had experienced certain physical results three times within the portal.

Tara wept as the new lives began to extinguish. The auras surrounding them growing dimmer.

Tara, the not sane one, let out a fierce shout and with her last breath she instinctively tapped into the magical essence of her very soul, forcing the outcome to change. To alter the fates of the three young triplets who had been born in order to save all of reality from destruction.

Unlocked and Sealed Dawn both felt a tugging sensation in the back of their minds and without another word everything vanished.

Buffy cried out as the portal imploded sending the tower, her sister and Tara crashing to the Earth far below. She stumbled towards the ruined monument built by crazies hoping beyond hope that her sister had survived.

Willow let loose her fury, her anguish and her despair in a burst of mystical energy. She would have killed them all if not for the sudden and unexpected arrival of Angel and crew who managed to contain her with a sealing spell.

Xander stared around in confusion. “What just happened?”

Anya, already over her feelings of sadness at having lost the use of her legs, decided to answer her fiancés question in typical fashion. “We saved the world; Dawn fucked her self and somehow saved the world. Yay us, now, can we please get to a hospital I want to make sure I can still experience orgasms when we have sex despite what Willow did to me with her magic.”

“Dawn.” Buffy knelt at the foot of the ruined tower. She couldn’t find a body, not even Tara’s. She was at a loss what to do.

“Buffy.” Angel approached her tentatively. “We really should get out of here.”

“T-Tara?” Willow stared in horror at the collapsed tower. “What happened to Tara?”

Tara smiled sadly as she approached her girlfriend. “I’m alright, Willow, but we need to talk.”

Willow rushed up to her lover and wrapped her in a hug. “You scared me! Never do that again.”

“Where’s Dawn?” Buffy demanded whirling to face the other blonde.

“Sh-She went to a better place.” Tara smiled sadly.

“Then she…”

“Transcended time and space to be with her family.” Tara reached out and took Buffy by the hand. “She’s still alive, she is the Key after all. You can’t destroy Energy, Buffy, merely displace it.”

Buffy felt tears fighting to come out. “Why did she have to leave me too? Mom… And Dawn.”

Xander wanted to say something, but a look from Anya stopped him.

Giles and Spike both remained silent in this moment of grief and loss unable or perhaps unwilling to interfere.

“Trust me, Buffy, there was very little choice. What was done to Dawn… To both of them, it was unforgivable and a great burden to place on the shoulders of such young women.”

Buffy frowned showing her confusion. “Both of them?”

Tara shook her head. “I’ll explain it when you’ve had the proper time to mourn. Come on, let’s collect Ben and give him a proper burial, after all he never asked for any of this and it is the least we can do.” She shot Mister Giles a pointed glare.

The older man had the decency to appear cowed. “Q-Quite right. Spike, give me a hand.”

Spike shrugged. “Least I’m not the only murderer in this happy little band anymore.”

“Oh do shut up!”

Elsewhere in existence: Dawn Marie Summers sighed exhaustedly as she rested her head on her pillow. The triplets had at last gone to bed and she could finally get some rest herself, the sudden accelerated ageing caused by the merging of her two former teenaged selves into one composite entity had given her a bit of a shock, but at least now she didn’t have to explain to the kids who their father was.

She turned to glance at the picture she’d managed to create from memory of her time with her family. Even her extended family members. She just wished that she didn’t have to leave either of the two realities where she’d been born, unfortunately it couldn’t be helped. After all she had been inside of the portal with the kids when Tara, bless her soul, helped seal both rifts simultaneously.

Both of her sisters were just going to have to cope with her disappearance, there was unfortunately no going back, even if she could muster up the energy to open another portal when the stars aligned properly. What would be the point? One of the two realities had become a much darker place thanks to Darth Willow and the other… The other just didn’t feel right any more.

No, it was better here. This was a brand new world, a place where she could raise her daughters properly and prepare them for the day when they would come into their powers. No child born in such a situation as these three had would ever be free from the Summers curse. When that time came, here in this place, Dawn would be ready to properly train them.

Joyce Sineya Summers. Kendra Drusilla Summers. Janna Cordelia Summers. Her daughters would grow up to become quite the force for good indeed if she had her say about it.

Smiling softly Dawn closed her eyes and soon nodded off to sleep. And high above her in the night sky a great beacon of light suddenly shot up as someone activated a specially designed searchlight on the top of a downtown police precinct building. And the denizens of the criminal underworld trembled with fear as that symbol shone out signaling to one and all that their city’s Dark Knight was on duty.

The End?

Author's Note:
I feel that I must bring a certain bit of clarity to this tale. Or at least explain just where the hell it came from. My original vision was one of Buffy and Dawn both sacrificing themselves in each other's arms at the end of Season Five and vanishing to a different reality. Somehow, I'm not entirely sure really, it metamorphosed into this odd duck of a story in which Dawn and Dawn need to somehow create new life in order to save all of creation from extinction.

You know what, let's just blame Discord. He seems like the sort who'd get off on this type of chaos anyway.

If anyone wants to see a sequel to this, dealing with Dawn's new life as the mother of three irrestibaly cute triplets with a penchant for getting into and causing trouble, they'll just have to write it themselves. There's no way I'd even know where to take it from here, but I may bring back the triplets in other stories if my muse deems they should reappear.

Please don't hurt me for writing this, she made me do it. *Points at Muse*

The End

You have reached the end of "Keys to Parenthood". This story is complete.

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