The Follow-Up: Epilogue
Disclaimer: see previous chapters
“Oops? What do you mean, ‘oops’?” Buffy asked. As Willow’s face did not show anything more than some resigned weariness, Buffy’s face adopted an expression of extreme annoyance and irritation, at a level that has not been reached ever since Xander Harris persuaded Willow not to destroy the world using some sort of an infernal idol or demonic statue to do it.
“I mean,” apparently even Willow could have an ‘Andrew moment’, when her brain and her mouth were running at different speeds. “I did use an ancient Egyptian ritual to bring you back, and their undead are very, well, earthen. Not that you’re an undead,” Willow finally began to realize what she was babbling about, “but you, but your case is unusual-“
Buffy grabbed Willow with her remaining arm and began to choke her. Even though Buffy currently had half the grip and the force that she usually had, it was still the strength of a Vampire Slayer, which meant that it was enough for Willow to start wheezing and gasping and trying to break Buffy’s grip, one-sided as it was.
“That’s enough!” the other redhead in the room spoke up, as she reached-out and grabbed the Vampire Slayer. “You really shouldn’t hurt her!”
“You,” Buffy glared, but was interrupted.
“Me,” the other redhead agreed. “Well, her, actually. She’s the one who can fix you, most likely, so let her go.”
“Willow?” Buffy’s grip slackened further. “Can you fix me?”
“Oh yes, certainly,” Willow nodded.
It should be pointed out that at this moment Willow Rosenberg had been half-strangled by her best friend (on and off through the years, but still the best), on top of already being tired from cleaning up Andrew’s mess, both magical and non-magical. Consequently, as formidable as she usually was, right now Willow Rosenberg’s attention span and mental facilities were somewhat impaired at the moment.
“Bombara, chuffara, loriki, yoriki,” she muttered, as she made eldritch signs in the air with her hands and fingers – and then those signs, still suspended in mid-air, flashed dark green, then bright grey-white, and then they exploded.
Once again, within moments of having returned for the second time from the other side in order to rescue Andrew, Dawn found herself lying prone on her back, staring at the world above her, where two figures faced each other in mid-air: one was similar to a colossal serpent made of liquid lightning, of liquid fire, of liquid gold, the other was humanoid in shape, but bi-colored – both black and white, with the two colors alternating in a design similar to that on chess boards...
And then the image faded, and Dawn...* * *
“Dawn? Dawn?! Are you okay?!!”
“I’m fine, Xander,” Dawn muttered, as she began to recover herself. “What, what has happened?”
“You tell me,” Xander muttered wearily. “This room has been scrapped down to the bare walls – luckily, no one appears to have been immediately hurt. Still, you are in infirmary-“
“That’s not it, Xander,” the younger Summers’ sister shook her head. “I’ve saw them. Them! And I don’t even fully know who they are!”
“Well, one of them was my father,” a slim redhead, who was not Willow, another Wicca, or a Vampire Slayer, appeared from behind Xander in a movement that a human body couldn’t do. “He tried to come in when Miss Rosenberg tried to use the half-closed door. But the other one was Melinoe, the great foremother and protector of all of the Vampire Slayers! She had confronted my father over your sister and the rest of us! And she did not banish me, so this means she does not consider me a problem and that I can stay here! Yay!”
“...Dawn? Your friend does not make any sense. Who is she, anyways?”
“She is a spirit whom I allowed to cross over, because I’m the Gatekeeper and she has asked nicely,” Dawn said with a gravity that really did not fit her.
“No you’re not,” Xander replied desperately. “You’re Dawn-“
“Xander,” Dawn sighed with a weariness of her own. “The monks, those monks, when they got their hands on me, they didn’t know who I was, what I was, but they knew what I did, so they called me the Key. Glory, now, she knew much more, but she didn’t care, and so here we are.” Dawn paused and added. “Did you know that with your new look you look rather like Nick Fury’s bastard son?”
“Nice try, but you aren’t distracting me that easily,” Xander muttered, as he noticed someone moving past him. He turned around, and there was Buffy, busy flexing and rotating one of her arms. “Buffy-“
“Hi, Xander!” Buffy said brightly, maybe even too brightly. “Willow fixed me, so I am back to normal now.”
“Buffy, your sister-“
“My sister, mister, had participated in one of Andrew’s dumb experiments, because of your voyage of self-discovery!” Buffy snapped at Xander without any warning. “So don’t give me any of your lip, Xander Harris!”
Xander caught the rather serious look in Buffy’s glaring eyes, and complied, keeping silence.
“And you,” Buffy turned onto her sister. “This other redhead is your responsibility now, got it?”
“Great! Problem solved!” Her mood shifting back from very irate to perky, Buffy turned around and walked elsewhere in the building.
“This,” Dawn muttered quietly to anyone who could hear her, “new attitude of Buffy’s can be a problem.”
Silently thinking over about what he had seen in Buffy’s eyes, about that manic light, Xander agreed.