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The Dead Don't Walk

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Ficlet(s)

Summary: Lara Croft buries her dead - a series of ficlets

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Other Genre > Tomb Raider(Moderator)acsFR1523,283072,75430 Aug 0416 Feb 05Yes

No. 1 - Dawn

Disclaimer: This is a derivative work using characters and intellectual property belonging to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox Television, and Eidos and probably others.
When/Spoilers: Post BtVS Season 7 / Tomb Raider (post AOD and CoL)
Rating: Action Violence and character death but no sex. Subtext is in the eye of the beholder.
Distribution: TtH, atbvs.creative, alt.fan.lara-croft, my blog fanfic pages. Otherwise-ask.
AN[1]: This is an experiment. If the first 3 in the series work/(make sense) there will be 6 more. These are not happy ficlets
AN[2]: All ficlets in this series will follow the same basic format. LC 'buries' character, LC thinks about how they met, LC thinks about how they died.
AN[3]: Feedback appreciated as always.

[Mourning]

On a windy autumn day in October Lara gingerly stooped down to gently brush the leaves off of a low stone marker with her good right hand. She knew the words carved into the stone really weren't adequate but she'd kept silent out of respect for her memory. They weren't a lot to honor someone who'd managed to live so much in such a short amount of time but in Lara's mind there wasn't much that was.

The decades she'd spent crawling around stone monuments and forgotten tombs had never really prepared her for a moment like this. She'd been so much younger when her father had died that her memories of his funeral provided no avenue for solace. And the others she'd known who'd died along the way hadn't been such a close part of her life. The single white iris she'd placed across the name was only a remote reflection of how she truly felt.

In some ways she was glad she'd still been in hospital when they'd buried her. She wasn't ready to deal with her friend's grieving family just yet. It had been less than a month since Dawn had died in her arms. Her emotions still felt too raw to deal with the pain of others. Or the silent accusations in their eyes because she'd been unable to keep her truly safe as she'd promised.

She slowly stood as erect as she could without straining the bandages pinning her mangled left arm to her side. She sadly murmured her friend's name into the wind one last time in a quiet goodbye before turning away and heading slowly to the gate. Hillary was waiting for her back at the car, giving her a chance to say farewell in private. He would know in his inimitable way that she was ready to leave.

[The Meeting]

Numbed by the dull physical pain of her healing wounds, Lara gazed silently out of the window of the Bentley as he drove her home, back to Croft Manor. With her gone the old manor was just that bit emptier. Without her cheerful singing as they researched an upcoming trip; without her teasing of Hillary; and without the practical jokes she would occasionally inflict on Bryce the manor felt more museum-like than a home and Lara felt her age creeping up on her.

Her thoughts filled with the images and sounds of the past, Lara leaned back into her seat and thought back to the beginning, back to when they'd first met.

They'd known each other for less than a decade but they'd been inseparable traveling companions almost from the beginning. They'd rarely spent more than a month apart. It was one of those unexplainable friendships that occasionally happened, leaving friends and family completely baffled. What started out as a friendship based on mutual interests became an enduring partnership of two similar souls.

They'd met in London on a warm spring day. Lara had been looking for help translating a small stone tablet she'd found deep in a burial complex in Ethiopia. An old family friend had recommended she take it to an acquaintance of his, a young woman with a flair for translating obscure languages.

The sight of the tall, slim brunette, twenty years younger but with ageless eyes had briefly rendered her speechless. Lara had felt an immediate sense of friendship and trust. Just being in Dawn's presence gave her a sense of family that Hillary and Bryce, no matter how close they'd become over the years, couldn't provide. She hadn't felt anything like that since her father had died.

The ancient stone tablet had been almost peripheral to their growing relationship during the months Dawn worked on it. There hadn't seemed to be anything they couldn't talk to each other about as Dawn carefully translated the writing on the tablet. They traded stories of their encounters with the supernatural and the mundane. Regaled each other with the foibles of lovers and friends.

Their eventual partnership had benefited them both. Working with the Council of Watchers provided Lara with a new reason for her travels, a sense of purpose she hadn't had in years. She regained her joy in the thrill of adventure as she watched Dawn become an experienced and confident explorer in her own right, no longer in the shadow of her long dead sister, the blonde with a heart of gold and fists of steel.

[Dying]

It had seemed like an ordinary artifact retrieval for the experienced team of tomb raiders. Rumor and assorted ancient manuscripts had claimed that the Eye of Odin was last seen in a hidden chamber in a temple buried deep in the Caucasus mountains. They had no prophecies to guide them or hurry them along. All they had to do was find the temple, find the hidden room, and bring the Eye back to London for storage in the Council vaults.

They'd made similar trips in the past, sometimes to avert an apocalypse and sometimes not. It wasn't anything new. They would do what they always did before a trip. Dawn would exhaustively research the temple and the Eye. Hillary would deal with the logistics of their trip down to the minutest detail in his usual thorough fashion. Bryce would put together their equipment, geared towards their destination. And Lara would do her best to plan for every possible contingency.

If it all went as planned Dawn and Lara could get in and out of the area in forty-eight hours. If Murphy joined them somewhere along the way they still expected to spend less than seventy-two hours in the field.

Insertion into the area had been flawless. They'd caught a ride on a rusty freighter that had taken them into the Black Sea where it had docked at the Georgian port of Poti. Once ashore they'd rented a car to take them into the mountains. With all of their preparations it had proven to be a simple matter to find the temple. Even the traps lying in wait for the unwary had been easily defeated.

The trouble had begun as soon as the Eye was in their possession. Their smoothly running plan had quickly diverged into a disaster scenario under an onslaught of unexpected demon attacks. It wasn't the large number of vampires that caused them the most problems. With the Council's assistance, Bryce had developed fool-proof defenses against them. Silver coated bullets of wood with a holy water core might not have much range but they were very effective against vampires and a number of other supernatural creatures.

It was the pack of large red demons who seemed immune to both the magic wielded by Dawn and the modern weapons carried by Lara that eventually caused their downfall.

Closing her eyes, Lara could still feel the hot air expelled by the blast as they blew up the temple entrance in a last desperate attempt to escape. A large stone had crashed into her, mangling her left arm and throwing her, just barely conscious, into a crumbling wall, breaking several ribs. This had left a bruised and battered Dawn alone to face the single demon who'd survived the explosion.

Lara didn't remember much of their fight. She'd had just enough awareness of her surroundings to trigger the emergency beacon they both carried that would bring Hillary to their aid. If she concentrated very hard she was able to retrieve vague images of Dawn's desperate fight against the demon from her cloudy memories.

But that was all. She had no memories of the scene Hillary and Bryce had reported to her later. When they'd finally arrived at the temple they'd had to pry her pistol from her hand. And Dawn from her one good arm. Both of them had been unconscious by then.

She had no idea how Dawn had managed to kill the demon, leaving its' tattered remains in a pool of yellow blood. Or how an unconscious Dawn had ended up in her arms in the shade of the temple in the late afternoon sun. Dawn had never awoken. She'd slipped away before they could get her to a hospital.

The Council's doctors claimed there was nothing anyone could have done against the poison the demon had carried and which had killed her. But that did nothing for Lara's feelings of guilt. She should have called for help sooner. She should have known about the demons. They should have been better prepared. The Eye, now sitting in the Council vault hadn't been worth the price they'd paid. She would never be convinced otherwise.

-The End-
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