Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: I don't know anything about the Oriental Institute other than it is one of the most prestigious places to study the Near East. I also think Daniel Jackson attended.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN – GOING HOME
Buffy had been a little worried that Bronwyn would be afraid of flying. She shouldn’t have – her daughter loved it. Her little eyes had been so wide as they’d sailed away from the ground that Buffy thought they might pop out.
Laughing the little girl had cried out, “Do it again! Do it again!” Luckily for both of them Jack had chartered a plane to fly them to Sunnydale so only SG-1 and Buffy’s ears had been damaged by her child’s piercing cries.
She had been surprised when they’d boarded the small private plane and told Jack it was too much. He’d only answered that the owner of the charter company owed him a favor and since there were no direct flights into Sunnydale from Colorado Springs he’d decided to call it in.
Buffy was still extremely nervous at the upcoming meeting with Dawn and her friends. During the entire two-hour flight Sam and Daniel had been engaged in keeping her distracted while Jack took Bronwyn to the cockpit for her first flying lesson.
“Jack she’s only three. She’s more likely to cause us to crash.” Buffy laughingly said as he led her little girl to the front of the plane.
“Pfft! She’ll be a natural,” he responded.
Finally the seatbelt light was turned on and Jack brought Bronwyn back to the cabin and secured her in her seat.
Excitedly the little girl began to describe to her mother her lesson, “Momma, din I got to hold de ‘trols – and I flew de plane.”
Buffy smiled, “Oh sweety that sounds like so much fun. Did you thank Jack for the lesson?”
Bronwyn thought carefully about whether she had and turned to Jack gesturing for him to lean toward her. When he did she gave him a smacking kiss on the cheek and said, “Tank yous.”
Jack smiled widely in response, “You're most welcome.”
“I did it momma!”
Then Buffy turned to Jack, “Is anyone meeting us at the airport or are we going straight to the house.”
Jack knew how nervous she was and realized that seeing everyone at once might be overwhelming so he'd made arrangements for Dawn to meet them at the airport so that she and Buffy could have a private reunion. “Dawn’s meeting us. I thought you might like some time alone with her first.”
Buffy’s eyes filled with gratitude for Jack’s thoughtfulness, “Thank you. I really appreciate that more than I can say.”
Sunnydale Airport – Charter Lounge
Dawn stood watching out the window for the arrival of Buffy’s plane. From the itinerary Jack emailed her she knew she only had moments to wait and then the plane would land and she would see Buffy for the first time in five years.
She almost couldn’t contain her emotions. This moment was something she’d waited for but never really thought would happen.
After a few minutes she noticed a plane had landed and was taxing toward the building where she waited. Dawn’s breath caught in her throat. This was it. This plane had Buffy in it.
As the plane stopped the ground crew moved a set of stairs to the door just as it opened. The first person out the door was Jack and behind him followed Buffy carrying a small child.
Before Dawn even realized what was happening she was running out the door toward the plane and her sister. She reached the plane just as her sister finished descending the stairs and caught her up in a huge hug.
“Dawn, we need air,” Buffy said with tears streaming down her face at the sight of her beautiful baby sister all grown up.
“Momma, whys you cryin? Whos dis lady?” Bronwyn asked matter of factly.
“Oh, Baby! This is your Aunty Dawn. Do you remember I told you about her and that we were going to see her today.”
At this Bronwyn got a huge grin on her face. “I member. Hi, Aunty Dawn!” the little girl exclaimed while holding out her hand.
Dawn hesitated and then seemed to realize her little niece wanted her to shake her hand, which she quickly did.
Bronwyn looked at her aunt thoughtfully and said, “You pretty like Momma and ‘Mantha.”
Dawn grinned, “Why thank you. You’re very pretty to. I like your dress.”
Bronwyn then held her arms out to Dawn calling out, “Hug! Hug!”
Dawn took her niece in her arms and they hugged each other fiercely. “Wow, kiddo you have a supper strong hug. You definitely take after me and your mom.”
Buffy noticed that the rest of SG-1 had come up behind them with their luggage. “Dawn I’d like you to meet the people responsible for bringing me home. You’ve already met Jack and Daniel.”
Dawn turned to the two men and after moving Bronwyn to her hip she hugged them both. “Thanks again you guys.”
“But you haven’t met Sam Carter and Murray.”
Dawn then turned and much to Sam’s surprise pulled her into a hug as well, whispering her thanks. Then she turned to Teal’c and hugged him, to which he responded with a raised eyebrow and a small smile.
Jack then took charge of the situation. “Okay, campers let’s go inside so you two can visit for a while and I’ll check on the rental car.”
At this the group followed Jack into the lounge. The two sisters’ took a seat with Bronwyn in the corner to have a private reunion.
Dawn could not stop touching Buffy. It was as if she stopped touching her then she wouldn’t really be there.
“Dawn, I’m really here.”
At this tears started streaming down Dawn’s face. “Oh, Buffy! I just can’t believe it. I’m so sorry I gave up. I just thought I’d never see you again.”
At this Buffy pulled Dawn into her arms and gently rocked her whispering soothing words in her ear. “Shh! Dawnie, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’m not mad at you. I didn’t think I’d ever make it home and then when Jack and his team found me. I’d given up on believing in miracles but I guess now I’ll have to revise that thinking.”
At this Dawn laughed, “You betcha you will missy! This is the best miracle ever. Well, you coming home and your beautiful daughter. Oh, Buffy when I saw her I was so happy for you and then in your letter when you told about Gareth. I’m sorry I never got to meet him.”
“Me too Dawnie. He was so much more than my husband. He was my best friend. I’m so lucky to have had him. I miss him so much but I know he would be so happy that Bronwyn was finally able to meet her Aunty Dawn. He knew everything about me and you. There were days I didn’t think I’d make it because I missed you so much but making a family with him saved me.”
Dawn grabbed her sister in another fierce hug. “I’m so glad.”
Buffy wiped the tears from Dawn’s face. “Now tell me something about you. Daniel said you were studying at UCLA. Something about Archeology and Classics.”
“I am. I graduate this semester and the best news is I got accepted to the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago to study archeology. Buffy, it’s the best program in the country and I got accepted.”
“Dawnie, I’m so proud of you and I know Mom would have been proud of you too.”
At this both Dawn and Buffy’s eyes took on a deep sadness. Buffy took Dawn’s hand in her’s, “I’m so sorry I had to leave you so soon after mom. I just couldn’t bear the thought of a world without you in it.”
“Buffy, I understand. At first I was so angry at you for leaving but then Spike and I had a long talk. He told me how the two of you had talked and how important it was to you for me to be okay. I wanted so much to be able to thank you. You gave me my life in more than one way. When the monks made me out of you and then again when you jumped for me. I’ll never be able to explain how much what you did meant to me.”
As Jack reentered the room he saw the two sisters embrace once more as they cried. He walked over and knelt by the two women offering his handkerchief. “I’m sorry I only have the one so you’ll have to share.”
Through their tears the two Summers’ women laughed and thanked him.
Buffy then looked at the wall clock noticing that it is close to sundown. “Do we need to go?”
“Not quite yet. I’ve got the car arranged and the luggage loaded. You two take your time.”
Buffy then turned to Dawn with a serious look on her face. “There’s something I need to tell you before we go to the house. I want you to be the first to know. I’m not planning on staying in Sunnydale. I’m not the girl that left here. I’m certainly not the slayer anymore. I have more to think of than myself and while it’s fine for me to visit here with Bronwyn I’m not planning on raising her here.”
Dawn looked at her sister with a sad smile on her face. “Buffy I more than understand. It would have surprised me if you’d decided to come back here. I may have only been a teenager but I knew how unhappy you were. I just got you back. I’m not taking any chances on losing you.”
From the dumbfounded look on her face Dawn knew she’d surprised her sister. “I do think you should know that everyone else just assumes you’re planning on staying and their not going to be too happy to hear that you’re not.”
Buffy sighed, “That’s what I thought. Well, they can say whatever they want it won’t change my mind.”
Jack took her hand. “Don’t worry beautiful. You’ve got plenty of support – me, Sam, Danny, Murray and Dawn. We won’t let them get to you.”
Dawn observed the way Jack looked at her sister and thought to herself, ‘Oh Boy! He’s in love with her. This should just about drive Angel and Spike over the edge.’ She knew both vampires still loved her sister. She thought that Spike would be the more understanding of the two but Angel well he hadn’t said anything but Dawn knew he still thought of her sister as his.
Dawn stood. “We should probably get this show on the road. There are a lot of people at the house waiting to see you and I think we should put them out of their misery.”