Title: Cenotaph Traditions
Crossover: Anita Blake
Pairing: Willow/Asher, Dawn/Jason
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me and I am not making any profit from this piece, it is just for entertainment purposes only.
Summary: Response to the TwistedShorts challenge #06 (Memorial Weekend). Willow, Dawn and Spike share their grief.
Author’s Note: A Cenotaph is a monument erected in honor of a dead person whose remains lie elsewhere. This is a future fic in the Barag universe.
Word Count: 991~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It was early evening. The Barag had been opened for an hour already. One of the local bands was on stage playing. There were only a handful of guests there presently but Dawn knew that soon the place would be quite active. She tapped a scaled demon on the shoulder.
“Hey Ken, do you think you can keep an eye on the club tonight?” She asked.
“Sure…where will you and Willow be?” The young demon asked.
“We’ll be in the backroom. Send Asher and Jason back when they come. If they brought some friends along, they are allowed back there as well.” Dawn said. “And thanks, you’re the greatest.”
“No problem Boss.” The demon said. “I’ll make sure the backroom’s stocked for you all, shall I?”
“No need, Willow and Spike are back there working on it already.” Dawn said. “I need to go help them though.”
“Alright give a shout if you need anything.” He said.
“Thanks.” She said as she walked away. She slipped through a door near the bar and walked down the hall, opening a door at the very end. The room was decorated in several shades of blue giving the room a soothing atmosphere. Since it was an internal room, there was only one window, a sunlight which had metal shutters covering it.
Spike was on a ladder unlatching and moving metal shutters from the skylight to allow for some natural moon light and air into the room. “You know we need to mechanize these sodden things.” Spike said as he pushed the shutter to the side.
Willow laughed. “I know… if you recall when we installed them to vamp proof this room for you until we could renovate an additional room for you. I already ordered the stuff we need to mechanize that window. It’s not in yet.” She said as she polished the wood of the display case.
“Yeah… yeah.” Spike said as he jumped down from the top of the ladder. He collapsed the ladder and picked it up to return it to the storage room.
“Need any help?” Dawn asked.
Willow nodded. “I’m ready to put the stones of the Cenotaph into the case.” She said throwing the rag on the table. She walked over to the fridge and picked up a box and brought it over to the case.
Dawn picked up the other box and carried it over to the case. She removed a pocket knife from her pocket and slit the tape on both boxes.
Willow pulled out a framed picture from the first box and respectively placed it in the center of the display case. The picture was of a large stone monument with the words In memory of those who died, either as victims or warriors, in the fight against the dark.
Spike returned to the room and headed to the fridge and pulled out the drinks and put them on the table. He also put the snack food and a knife on the table.
Willow and Dawn then started removing smaller stones engraved with names of their friends and loved ones from the boxes. There were many names. Tara McClay, Jenny Calendar, Cordelia Chase, Buffy Summers, Joyce Summers, Xander Harris, Anya Jenkins, Charles Gunn, Rupert Giles, Jesse Jesse McNally, Wesley Wyndam-Price, Fred Burkle, Illyria, Allen Doyle
and so many others. After each of the stones were placed in the case, the two women put in pictures, sketches and several knick-knacks that represented the fallen.
While they were working on the case, Asher, Jason and Nathanial knocked on the door. Spike answered it knowing Platelet and Red would be too involved to notice.
When Willow and Dawn finished with the display case, they joined Asher, Jason, Spike and Nathaniel at the table.
“So what were you doing?” Jason asked giving Dawn a hug.
“Setting up a Cenotaph in honor of our fallen friends.” Dawn said.
Nathaniel looked at the shrine and then back to his friends. “Then why’d you ask us to join you?” He asked.
“Because Nate, you’re friends and you’ve been curious about our pasts…” Dawn said.
Willow nodded. “We started doing this every year on the anniversary of Sunnydale’s collapse. It was a way to remember our friends and families and to recall why we fight.” She explained softly.
“You guys have become like family to us.” Dawn said. “We would have invited everyone, but since this is the first anniversary since we moved here, we figured a small group would be best.”
Spike didn’t say anything; he had grabbed a beer and opened it while they explained.
Asher gave Willow’s hand a slight squeeze.
Willow smiled at her boyfriend before turning her head to look at everyone. “Every anniversary we’d gather at the Cenotaph and tell stories about our friends and eat and drink as we remember them. Since this is our first anniversary here we set up a small Cenotaph.” She got up and brought the picture of the monument from the case to the table. “This was set up in LA at Angel’s hotel the year we joined him.” She said. “If you have anyone you want to remember, feel free to bring them up.” She said.
Spike passed a beer to everyone except Asher. Willow picked up the knife and pulled two cups towards her. She run the knife over her palm and allowed her blood to fill one of the cups, and she let some blood drop into the other. She passed the full cup to Asher and gave the partially filled one to Spike.
The six friends spent the evening talking about fallen friends, family and lovers. They ate junk food (for every one except Asher), drank and told stories. In the early hours of the morning, they finished their reminiscence and headed home feeling better with lighter hearts, the sharing about the ones they lost helped eased the pain of the heart that never completely fades.