Chapter 33 - We’ll Be A Dream by We The Kings
Standard Disclaimer Applies
Dawn was standing in front of the window of her lab, arms crossed over her stomach as she stared at the city as the sun set, throwing splashes of color against the usually dark buildings. It was beautiful. A cup of coffee sat cold on the corner of her desk beside the book she’d been translating for Tony. He wanted a multi-lingual encryption system for the Avengers and she was helping him out on it as a few of those languages weren’t currently spoken except by scholars and demons. She’d been working on it until about an hour ago, and then she’d spotted the calendar. Life had ended and then begun all over again on this coming night only ten short years before.
Dawn had been fifteen during the fall of Sunnydale, but she hadn’t been a child. None of them had. The instant Buffy was Chosen her childhood had ended, she held onto the vestiges with everything she had, but there was no more freedom to be safe and warm and loved. Xander and Willow and Cordelia and Oz and Andrew, anyone from Sunnydale really ... they had all known about nightmares that stalked them in the dark. Parents had an easier time pretending things like that didn’t exist ... but the kids knew better. It was why all of the graduates had been willing to fight back against the mayor.
Dawn hadn’t had a childhood in the literal sense, but she still hasn't shared it with her team. Her memories were real to her, and as far as any of the Scoobies were concerned they WERE real. There were no documents to prove otherwise so they didn’t speak of it. However, even in her created childhood she was 7 and a half years younger than her sister. Dawn had been kidnapped by Spike when she was ten and Buffy had saved her and they had made a pact to not tell their mother about it. At ten years old Dawn had given up an integral piece of her childhood to accept demons were real and her sister fought them every night to try and keep her safe.
Tonight she wouldn’t be with the Scoobies or even the Scrappies (the Sunnydale Slayers) and so it was up to her to keep the memories of everything they had accomplished and all of those they had lost on that fateful day when they had closed the Sunnydale Hellmouth. Sunnydale, a place of great joy and great fear, because everyone knew that with life ready to end at any moment you had to throw yourself into it with an abandon most found distasteful. They had known great joy on the mouth of hell and tonight was for mourning all that was lost.
“Jarvis?” Dawn didn’t have to raise her voice as she tilted her head down and looked at the darkening streets.
“Yes Ms. Dawn?” The calm voice inquired politely.
“I’m going to need your help getting the house ready for the festivities tonight.” Dawn informed him, still not moving for her position in front of the window.
“I wasn’t aware there was a party this evening.” Jarvis could do blandly sarcastic with the best of them, a trait which had come back to bite Tony in the ass ever since he’d programmed the AI.
“I hadn’t wanted to impose, but it’s a family tradition so everyone’s just going to have to deal with it.” Dawn informed him, twisting around and heading out of her office and down the hall past the elevator to the staircase. Very few people used the stairs, but Dawn preferred them.
“Of course, madame. What would you have of me?” Jarvis’s tone was warm this time, he had a soft spot for Dawn. Maybe it was because she often included him in conversations, asking his opinions and proving just how much more he was than a simple machine.
In less than two and a half hours Dawn had junk food and alcohol spread across the kitchen and living room, there was some real food tossed in here and there, but for the most part it was a health-free zone. She was sitting in sweatpants and an Army shirt that looked suspiciously large on her slender frame and smelled of man-spray.
Darcy was the first one upstairs and she slowed upon entering their usually immaculate living space. Her eyes darted from chips to dip to cake to cookie dough to vodka to candy and then back to the vodka before zipping over to Dawn, sitting with her arms wrapped around one knee watching Darcy. “Somewhere a diabetic is slipping into a coma just thinking about being in this room,” the curvy brunette informed her friend, snagging a cupcake and licking at the frosting, making a humming noise of approval.
“Welcome to the Sunnydale Memorial Party.” Dawn told her, hugging her knee a little closer to her chest and looking a off to the side a bit. This was kind of a big thing for her, sharing the bad parts of her past.
“Let’s do a shot before I go change into something less camera ready.” Darcy told her friend, grinning widely and snagging the vodka and a couple shot glasses. She poured and the two girls lifted the glasses before knocking the liquid back and making vaguely disgusted faces. Dawn poured herself a glass of juice, but Darcy waved it off as she stripped off her suit jacket. “Seriously, I need to change. B-r-b.” She wandered down to her room to do as she mentioned.
The party was fairly self-explanatory. Ten years ago Sunnydale had been destroyed, but now Dawn gave them the full story rather than the media’s take on it. The cover-up had been shaky at best, but people had believed the tales of the underground cave system. She recounted their leaving in a decrepit old school bus, Dawn watching for her sister and scared to her very marrow Buffy wouldn’t make it. Buffy had though, because Buffy excels at not being dead.
“This isn’t just for Sunnydale though, Sunnydale just gives us the perfect day for a celebration,” Dawn told the Avengers and their significant others as she looked around solemnly. “It’s a night to remember everyone who has ever fought beside you, fallen beside you. It’s a Scooby tradition to remember those you’ve lost who still haven’t really left you yet. The one’s you can almost hear making snide comments nearby or who talk you out of something really stupid.”
The celebration was bittersweet, with memories shared and helpless laughter filling the room. Dawn had her feet tucked up on the couch as she snuggled into Steve’s side, an appletini in her hand. Darcy was lazing on another couch, her feet on Clint’s lap and letting him rub out some of the stress of her day. They were an interesting couple, the flirtatious marksman who drove people away so they wouldn’t hurt him and the vivacious young PR manager whose sharp tongue was more likely to fillet you then offer kind words of encouragement. Well, unless she had decided you needed looking after, then you were hers for life. She had an old soul and a childhood involving a very long run through the foster system. Clint liked taking care of her and she liked taking care of Clint. They confounded SHIELD agents who didn’t actually know them, but to Dawn they made perfect sense.
This was just part of the wonderful madness of the Avengers. They all had their nightmares and baggage, but they could count on each other to remember you shouldn’t always dwell on that. The Avengers were her Scoobies, and until this moment Dawn hadn’t realized that, because of all those years watching her sister and Xander and Willow, this was exactly what she had been searching for.