Dawn lay curled up on Buffy’s bed, Mr. Gordo smushed tightly against her, with her face in the pillow to muffle the sounds of her sobs.Disclaimer:
Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and all related characters; Marvel owns "X-Men" and all related characters; I own nothing.Author's Note:
More belated Fic-a-Day crossposting. Takes place post Season 5 for BtVS and after the first X-Men movie. I'm extending the canon period between the first two movies by a quite a bit of time.~*~*~
Dawn lay curled up on Buffy’s bed, Mr. Gordo smushed tightly against her, with her face in the pillow to muffle the sounds of her sobs. Everything hurt, and she just needed to go to sleep and wake up to find that this was a nightmare. Mom would still be alive and Buffy wouldn’t be dead because of her. It was all her fault this had happened, and why was she the one still alive? She should be dead, not Buffy.
The thought just made her sob harder into Buffy’s pillow.
They had buried Buffy earlier that evening, waiting until the sun had set so that Spike and Angel could attend. For once, neither vampire fought with the other, both too overcome with grief. Dawn had clung tightly to Spike’s hand during the entire ceremony, watching the coffin with Buffy’s body lowered into the ground. Tara stood on her other side, her arm wrapped around Dawn’s shoulders. Between Spike and Tara, surrounded by the other Scoobies, Angel, Wesley, and Cordy, Dawn’s grief seemed manageable. But as soon as she was by herself, it began to overwhelm her and she felt like she was drowning.
She’s managed to escape to Buffy’s room as soon as she could. At least here, she was surrounded by Buffy’s scent, Buffy’s things. It’d been the same after Mom died, the few nights she didn’t crawl into Buffy’s bed back when she was younger (at least, that’s what her fake memories told her she did).
Her free hand snaked up and gripped her locket tightly, the edges digging into her skin. The locket was the last thing her mom had given her, back when they were cleaning out the basement, and Dawn wore it constantly now. Its solid, cold weight was a constant reminder of her mom. Dawn was so scared of forgetting, even if most of her memories were fake. Memories were all that made her real, and if she forgot anything about her mom or Buffy, would that mean the reality around her was re-writing itself and erasing her?
Slowly, her sobs turned into sniffles. As much as she wanted to cry and scream at the world for being so unfair, she just felt so empty. What was the point? She wouldn’t feel better and nothing would change. She screwed her eyes shut and hugged Mr. Gordo tighter.
“Dawnie?” Willow’s muffled voice called from downstairs. “Cordy, Welsey, and Angel are going to be leaving soon. Do you want to say goodbye?”
Dawn lifted her head and swallowed to clear her throat. “Yeah. Just give me a few minutes.” Brushing her tangled hair out of her face, she slowly eased herself out of bed. She wanted to clean her face before she said goodbye to the Fang Gang. Even if they all knew what she had been doing, she wanted to at least wanted to look decent.
She reached for the light switch, but before she touched it, the lights above the sink flared brightly. Less than a second later, an arc of electricity lept from the wall to her outstretched hand and all the lights in the house went out.
“What was that?” Dawn distantly heard Xander say, but she felt too stunned to respond. She should be dead, or electrocuted or... something. Instead, all she felt was a warm buzz all along her arm. That was normal, right?
Biting her lip, she gently touched the light switch and saw another arc of electricity, this time coming from her. The lights in the hallway blinked back on, as if nothing had happened. Dawn stared at the wall, panic rising within her and making it hard to breathe.
Nononono. She didn’t need this. She didn’t need to be more of a freak than she already was. Her fingers began to spark, and she nearly screamed. Dropping to her knees, Dawn put her head in her hands and silently pleaded, Stop, please stop. Just leave me alone. Go away. Stop!
Slowly, the sparks faded, leaving Dawn alone in the still darkened bathroom trying to catch her breath. She wanted nothing more than to curl up on the floor and hide, but the Scoobies would send somebody to look for her, and she didn’t want to try to answer their questions. Not right now. She didn’t want to let them see how much of a freak she really was. Carefully getting to her feet, Dawn did her best to fix her appearance and hide her distress so that she could say goodbye. She avoided touching the light switch again. ~*~*~
Jean and Ororo walked quickly through a deserted hallway. They had been sleeping when the Professor had psychically asked both women to come to his office as quickly as possible. Since it was fairly rare that the professor woke them this late at night, it had to be urgent.
“Professor?” Jean asked, knocking quietly on the door.
“Come in,” he called out. Ororo followed her friend inside, carefully closing the door behind her. She called forth a gentle breeze to bring some air into the stuffy room, smiling a little as the air caused some of the papers to flutter.
“Is there a reason you needed us, Professor?” Jean asked, hands folded in front of her.
“I was in Cerebro earlier, when I picked up the signature of a particularly powerful young mutant coming into her powers,” Xavier explained, moving his chair from behind his desk so that he was closer to the two women. “I would like the two of you to travel to Sunnydale and attempt to persuade her to attend this school.”
“How powerful is she, Professor?” Ororo asked with a frown. The only times they acted with this much haste were when the mutant posed a significant risk to themselves and others if their powers were left unchecked. The last time they’d acted so quickly was with Theresa, only a few months after Rogue.
“Very powerful, Ororo,” Xavier confirmed solemnly. “At least as powerful as Bobby Drake, if not more so.”
Jean whistled softly, and Ororo silently agreed. While Bobby wasn’t the strongest of their youngest mutants, he was fairly close to the top in sheer power and his training had made him more formidable.
“Do you have a name?”
Xavier picked up a file folder and handed it to Jean. “Her name is Dawn Summers. I would suggest proceeding with caution. The impressions I received from her were extreme grief, guilt, and panic.”
Ororo peered over Jean’s shoulder to see what papers were inside, and inquired, “Did her powers manifest and kill somebody, or even nearly kill somebody like Rogue’s did?”
“I don’t know. It was hard to discern anything other than generalities. She may have a natural resistance to telepathy, which makes her difficult to read even using Cerebro.”
“We’ll check on the jet and head out as soon as we can,” Jean assured Xavier, closing the file and nodding at their instructor. “As soon as we arrive in Sunnydale, we’ll contact you, and then again once we’ve met with Dawn.”
“You both have my absolute trust.”
They left the professor’s office and split up to head to their respective rooms to grab their go bags before meeting at the jet. Ororo reached their destination first, and started the pre-flight check while waiting for Jean. She wasn’t surprised her companion was taking a little longer; she did a boyfriend to say goodbye to, after all.
Meeting a new mutant was always a mixed experience, one that they always had to adapt to on the fly. There were some families that knew their child was different and wanted what was best for them. Some families knew, and just wanted their child out of the house as quickly as possible. Other families had no idea their child was a mutant, and the boy or girl wasn’t keen on enlightening them. Those were ones that made Ororo upset. No child should have to hide a part of themselves for fear that their families would hurt them. Being different was nothing to be ashamed of, no reason to be ostracized.
Waiting for Jean to join her, Ororo wondered what type of experience she was going to get with Dawn Summers and her family. If they were both lucky, it would be the first.