Title: Postcards of Another Life
Crossover: Star Trek: Enterprise
Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and ST:Ent to Paramount (I think).
Summary: #05 – Cards. A sequel to ‘The Key Incident’, Dawn learns her fate.
Author’s Notes: yes, I know I told some people that if I ever did consider a follow on it wasn’t likely to be soon… but this challenge grabbed me… enough that the first section was written at some weird hour of the morning because I couldn’t sleep without writing it down!
Postcards. When she was younger she’d hated them. The only contact with an absent father; once or twice a year he’d suddenly remember their existence and send her and her sister some garbled crap scribbled on the back of one. Later on, after the fall of Sunnydale, long after the meaningless postcards had ended, they came to mean something else.
They scattered, the Scoobies, finding new slayers, travelling, setting up the NWC, trying to be normal or in her case, going back to school. This was when the new postcards started; every few weeks a new one would arrive. The picture, something fascinating, a building, some people, something to show the most recent place he’d visited. Always new, with a comforting familiarity.
These postcards, that meant the world to her, more than his lengthy reports to the NWC, continued for years. They always had the same five words,
in that typical, still a teenage boy, scrawl. In an ever-changing world, with constant fights for life, they were the one thing that never changed.
She’d been onboard for three days now; gotten settled in, well, enough so that when the inevitable came she wouldn’t feel so bad, or that, at least, had been the plan. But, as everyone knows, Summers’ and plans, well, there have been some brilliant ones and some spectacular failures.
And now, her time was here. Jon had called her to his office; the decision had come back from the Admiralty.
“Dawn, I hate to say this, but, Starfleet have decided that it is in everyone’s best interests for you to return to Earth.”
Her face falls, this ship, hanging in space, is the closest thing she has to home; these people, the closest thing to friends. Her plan had failed.
“I – where am I going to go?”
“I don’t know, Dawn. Starfleet will arrange something for you.”
His face is full of anger, she’s wormed her way into his heart and those of his crew and his superiors have ruled that she must leave them.
“You have a week until we meet the ship that will take you to Earth.”
He very carefully doesn’t call it ‘home’ he knows its not that to her; not anymore, to her it’s as alien as some of the worlds they have visited.
“I’m sorry, Dawn.”
It’s been three days since the news came and now she’s back in Jon’s office again. There’s a big grin on his face, the first real smile she’s seen since the news broke. It brings hope, a hope she tries to quash to avoid the pain of losing it.
She watches Jon, trying to work out what’s going on, there’s a sense of confusion in his eyes, a sense almost shrouded by the hope she wants to avoid.
“Dawn, you have a call from Earth.”
“I – what?”
“A transmission from Earth. Do you want me to stay while you take it?”
She wonders who it could be. Not wanting to deal with one of those Admirals forcing her to return to Earth alone, she nods. Archer hits a button on his desk and the screen in front of her changes. There’s a gasp behind her.
Connor? She stares at the screen confused, the figure smiling at her. Jon senses the confusion, not knowing the real reason he attempts to explain.
“Dawn, this is Admiral Connor, head of the division of Starfleet known as Operation Dawn Light.”
Operation Dawn Light?
“Hey Dawnie, how are you?”
It’s been both lifetimes and a week since someone called her that.
“I, I’m ok, I guess.”
“But you don’t want to come back here?”
She looks guilty and immediately tries to hide it.
“Don’t do that Dawnie, it may have been a long time ago for me, but I still know you. You don’t need to feel guilty. After you… left… we, we couldn’t look for you for a long time.”
She nods, remembering what that time was like, only a week ago for her.
“Eventually I tried looking for you, or for some evidence of where you’d been sent. When I couldn’t find you I went back to the spell, trying to understand it. I read through the diaries, hoping to understand. I finally came across a story from 2005, one that led me to believe I’d see you again.”
“Operation Dawn Light?”
“It’s the latest incarnation of the Watchers Council and the oldest part of Starfleet. The name is what we fight for; well, not me personally, it’s not something I can totally experience; but seeing the dawn light reminds us the world’s still here. And, of course, it’s a tribute to one of the founding members of the new way of doing things.”
“There aren’t demons anymore, are there still slayers?”
“Yes. The demons are gone but there is still dark and evil to be fought, especially now, the Xindi weren’t the only bad guys out there.”
The idea of no more demons is foreign to her; she doesn’t remember a time when demons were not a part of her life.
“Dawn, do you want to stay on Enterprise?”
“Good, because the spell put you there, if it had only been a lack of demons, or this time, you would have been brought here, to me. Obviously you weren’t, for some reason Enterprise is where you are supposed to be.”
“I am? I can stay?”
“Yes, but promise me something?”
“Next time Enterprise is back on Earth, you’ll come visit?”
He turns to look at Archer.
“The new orders are currently being transmitted. You will still meet with the Lehane in four days, there are some of Dawn’s personal effects on board.”
“It’s great to see you again Dawnie, we’ll talk soon.”
“You too, Deadboy.”
He grimaces then returns her grin.
Four days later finds Dawn Summers in her quarters staring at three large crates. The note from Angel says most of it is just some stuff to help her catch up, if she needs to know anything else he’s sure someone will help. In fact, he offers up a name, Malcolm Reed. She grins at his reasoning, ‘I know you Summers women, and you gravitate to the English guys with the weapons for the knowledge.’
The note ends pointing out the box he knows she’s really after.
This box holds many things, letters, diaries and gifts from her family. Buffy, ever the big sister reminds her to behave. Faith sends her a new leather jacket. Giles and Wesley send her the records of the years of her lives she missed. There’s video footage of them all saying hi, of them all getting older. She glances at them all as she unpacks the box, she’ll go through it all later.
At the bottom of the box is a post card. A picture with a building and people, her family outside the London base of the Council. On the back are five words,
This will take pride of place on her new desk as she starts her new life, never forgetting the old.