Dawn Summers, Marine.Disclaimer:
I own nothing. BtVS and SG1 belong to their respective owners, and the background story in the first few chapters is taken from Laney’s World Without fic, which can be found at www.realitiescollide.com. From that point on, the plot for this story is my own. Don’t sue, please? Spoilers:
BtVS everything up till Season 5; ‘The Gift’, from there it’s AU. SG1 everything up till, but not including, Season 5; 'Meridian'. Minor spoilers for Season 1; 'Singularity' and 'Tin Man', Season 2; 'A Matter Of Time', Season 3; 'Legacy' and 'Point Of View', and Season 4; 'The Curse' and 'Double Jeopardy'. However, no prior knowledge of Stargate SG1 is required to understand the story.Distribution:
Not to be removed from TTH.Warning:
Character death(s). Think ‘The Gift’ gone bad. Nothing too sad though, just using it as a backdrop to my story. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.A/N:
I’d like to dedicate this story to Laney for her great Stargate fics, which inspired me to write my own. If you want to read something from the master, check out her stories on the site.
‘Are you ready to do this?’ Xander looked at her trying to resurrect his trademark goofy smile, but years of hardship and fighting had put a strain around his eyes that hadn’t been there when it was just Willow, Buffy and him against the bad guys, when it had still been a game, save the world on Tuesday and take the English exam on Wednesday, first class.
Dawn swallowed, she too was marked by the fights, the deaths and the ever increasing strength of each new demon attack. The world had changed for them after Buffy’s dead, after Glory. It had seemed the same for a while, but it had changed. That night on the tower, Buffy had been killed, pushed of the metal platform by an enraged hell goddess. The bitch had killed Giles, when the watcher had attempted to suffocate Ben, Glory’s human side, and end it once and for all. Glory had changed back into herself in the nick of time and easily broken his neck.
She hadn’t even bothered to address Dawn but just smiled sweetly as she pushed the slayer over the edge of the trembling tower, walked by the terrified 14-year-old girl and proceeded to jump into the portal opened by Dawn’s still flowing blood, which presumably took her to her home dimension. Suddenly Willow had been there, tears streaming down her pale face. Dawn had thought it was for Buffy’s broken body some thirty feet below on the ground, not knowing yet about Giles, or Tara who hadn’t survived the return of her sanity, and died just minutes after she was able to recognise Willow again for the first time after months of being caught in the shadows of her own violated mind. The shock had been too much for the gentle witch, who drew her last breath in the protection of Willow’s embrace.
Willow had looked at the blood still flowing from the many cuts on her midsection as she stood tied to the platform, then with a whispered promise to bring her back she had raised her hand and placed it over Dawn’s chest. At first Dawn hadn’t felt anything but a light caress, the slight warmth of another person’s touch seeping trough her ruined dress. Then Willow’s hand started glowing and the heath increased, there was a stinging pain, which radiated out from the centre of her chest and spread like hot fingers squeezing her ribcage. A gasp as she tried to breathe, then nothing.
She had woken up on the ground beneath the tower a few minutes later, to the sound of crackling electricity, which still played around Willow’s hands. She opened her eyes to the teary face of Xander, Spike, who was badly bruised from his own fall off the metallic structure and looked at her with a worried expression in his pain raked eyes, Anya, who looked almost more dazed than any of them, numb with the shock of what had happened in less than half an hour. Seen Willow, who somehow, in the middle of all this death could still keep focus, who closed the portal by temporarily killing her, who even now seemed possessed by a calm only belied by the deep pain in her eyes.
She had asked where Giles was, then for Buffy. When they didn’t answer, but hesitated, she had yelled out for her sister again, her voice hysterical with gnawing fear. Knowledge or foreboding of what she was going to see in their eyes had made her squirm away from their hands as they tried to stop her from getting up. Then she saw her lying there, still, peaceful, on a pair of wooden crates, and her world went quiet. She couldn’t remember hearing her own voice, but knew she had asked about Giles again, and Tara, all the time staring at the body, no, her sister. Someone, she still couldn’t remember who, had told her what had happened, and her world had shattered. She didn’t remember anything after that, how they got home, the hospital, what lies they told the police.
Xander was still looking at her and so where the others, Spike and Cordy and Gunn. Still waiting for her answer. Was she ready? She didn’t know, she just knew she had to be. The rest of the team couldn’t be here, Anya was in L.A. with Simon and his team, trying to coordinate some of the demon resistance that had camped out in the burning high rises of the once teeming city, still poisoned by the nuke that had been launched at the hellmouth three years ago. Sunnydale was still too radioactive to support human live. It had slowed down the invasion for a while. A few precious months.
Anya’s job wouldn’t be easy, most demons had opted to go over to the winning side early in the fight, even those who where normally considered peaceful or neutral. Others had done as most humans and fled to the north seeking refuge in Canada, or south across the border and into Mexico. Some even went as far as boarding a plane or a ship and go to Europe, which was still largely untouched. As far away from the open hellmouth, and the hordes of demons as they could possibly get. Ironically she, who had spent years on the frontlines was going to go further than any of them.
So many were dead, Angel had died protecting one of the last convoys of refugees to get safely out of L.A. before the blast, Fred had been killed by a vampire four years ago just months after Dawn had finished high school, and mere weeks before the hellmouth opened. A fledgling, not even a week old and easily dusted afterwards. The loss had almost killed Gunn, and left in the place of the streetwise young man an angry and hardened soldier.
Wesley went on what could only be called a suicide mission, and saved many lives as he travelled between the different camps of resistance fighters, which had formed across the country, and helped coordinate attacks, medical and food supplies. A gnarl demon had gotten him in the woods near Sunnydale, his half skinned body found by some former initiative soldiers on one of the last raids on the hellmouth before the nuke. Killing him had been an act of mercy.
Willow had died only four weeks ago fighting a witch, who had turned to the dark arts. The building they had fought in collapsed under the strain of the magic blasts and killed them both. Cordy standing in front of her was missing most of her left arm, it had been cut off during a fight with a py’tchal demon last year. She still had her sharp tongue, but something in her eyes was missing, and had been since Angel’s death. The loss of her arm only made it worse, but she kept fighting as they all did. As they had to, the alternative was too bad to even consider.
‘Bit?’ Spike brought her back to the present and she smiled at his use of her nickname, at 20, after almost four years of fighting, she was hardly a Bit anymore. She looked him in the eyes and she knew that he would be the next to die. He would wait of course. Till she was gone, till he had fulfilled his promise to Buffy, and he would fight on for a while, pretend that he was still there, but eventually he would die, seeking out foolish fights, getting sloppy. Sometimes she wished she had that luxury herself, just close your eyes and let it happen. But she couldn’t, she had made her own promise to Buffy long ago on that tower, when Buffy had thought to sacrifice herself in Dawn’s place, seconds before Glory ruthlessly slammed into her and started events that would eventually lead to this moment in time. That promise given six years ago made her form the words despite knowing that Spike would seek death when she was gone. She only wished for him that he would find it quickly, painlessly.
‘Yes, I’m ready.’ She had made a promise. Live for me. And she would. Even when it hurt. When she was too tired to go on. She would. Because she kept her promises.
She hugged Xander, ‘Stay alive, Xander. Tell Anya goodbye for me.’ She smiled, knowing that they would be alright. Xander and Anya would keep each other alive. They had something between them worth fighting for. Worth living for. She turned to the seer. ‘Cordy… I… keep up the good fight.’ Cordy hugged her close, her right arm pressing firmly against her back, the stump of her other arm reaching out to squeeze her shoulder in the embrace. Dawn remembered how she feared that loosing her left arm would finally be the straw to break the one time fashion obsessed cheerleader. But Cordy had pulled through. When she was on the verge of giving in she had found some inner strength, some light, a purpose to keep her going. And from the depth of depression she had managed to call up her inner Queen C. And as she said, no one was keeping the biggest bitch of Sunnydale high down. Cordy would be okay.
‘Gunn.’ She didn’t hug him. No one hugged Gunn anymore. He stopped seeking human closeness when Fred died. He would sometimes sleep with one of the female warriors they met on their raids, but it was never about intimacy, it was about knowing you were still alive in the midst of all this death. He nodded at her, and she accepted that it was all he was able to give. He would die for her, as they would all die for each other, but he wouldn’t get close. Not to anyone. Not anymore.
‘Pet.’ Spike brushed his hand over her hair, his eyes shinning with love and sorrow, and even though she hated to admit it to herself, with relief. His job would be finished in a few minutes, he would be able to rest now. He had kept his promise, he had kept her safe.
‘Spike…’ she couldn’t say anything. Couldn’t tell him to stay strong, to keep fighting. She knew she could make him promise. That he would stay in this hell the world had become, fight another day to delay the death he wished for. Knew that for her he would do it. She also knew she couldn’t ask him for that promise. She loved him too much to deny him the peace he yearned for. She buried her head in his cold embrace, but she couldn’t cry for him. She hadn’t been able to cry for anyone in a long time. Feeling numb. He stroked her hair, ‘You have to go now, Bit, wouldn’t want you to be late, now would we?’ She sighed, breathed in his scent, then she whispered into his shirt, so low that she knew only he would be able to hear, ‘Promise me,’ she could feel the stillness in him, the sudden stiffness in his body, and knew she couldn’t go through with it, ‘Promise me that you’ll go fast. Without pain.’ His arms tightened around her, then he let her go. She stepped back looking into his ice blue eyes, seeing the gratitude there. ‘I will, Pet. Thanks.’