Disclaimer: I own neither BTVS or Stargate
A/N – This events of this chapter are occurring at roughly the same time as chapter eight.
CHAPTER NINE – Sunnydale Interlude
To the untrained eye Sunnydale was a typical small Southern California town but after dark it was anything but typical.
Most residents knew their town was different. That if you went out after dark it was best not to do so alone. The people of Sunnydale seemed to be happy and carefree but as the sun went down each night they became wary.
Most believed the stories they read in the newspaper. Gangs on PCP. Barbeque fork accidents. Gas main explosions. It was easier to accept because if you admitted what really might be out there you might not ever be able to leave the house.
For a small number of residents what went on in Sunnydale after dark was their business. They’d been fighting the things that went bump in the dark since they were teenagers, since they met Buffy Summers. Even though Buffy had disappeared five years ago they hadn’t stopped fighting.
Since Buffy’s disappearance into Glory’s portal the Summer’s home had become Scooby central. They still met at the Magic Box as well but since the majority of the remaining scoobies lived in the house it had become the logical meeting place.
Willow, Tara and Giles had all moved into the house to take care of Buffy’s teenage sister Dawn. Xander and Anya had an apartment near the Magic Box but were frequent visitors. As for Spike, he still had his crypt, but he was just as likely to sleep in the Summer’s basement as return to it each night.
1630 Revello Drive – Early Afternoon
Willow Rosenberg sat at the dining room table typing on her laptop and occasionally glanced at one of the many books that surrounded her. Since Buffy’s leap into Glory’s portal she had spent a part of each day searching for a way to find her across dimensions. In the first weeks after Glory’s defeat she’d worked around the clock along with the rest of the scoobies but over time she’d been forced to reduce her efforts. As much as she wanted Buffy to return life had a way of interrupting not to mention vampires and demons.
Tara came out of the kitchen wiping her hands with a dishtowel. “Sweety, don’t you think it’s time you stopped for the day. We need to cook dinner. Don’t forget Dawn’s coming home for the weekend.”
Willow sighed. “You're right. I just really hoped this new information on dimensional portals was finally the answer we’d been looking for. I really, really wanted good news to give Dawn this weekend.”
“I know baby,” Tara said coming over and giving Willow a kiss on the cheek. “We all want to find something to bring her home.”
Sadly, Willow nodded her head in acknowledgement of Tara’s words. “Is Dawn’s room ready. I’ve really missed her. I know she’s been at UCLA for the past two years but it seems like she comes home less and less.”
Tara smiled sadly, “I know. I think it’s hard for her coming here without Buffy and Joyce. She lost so much in such a short time. Sometimes I think things are easier in L.A. because there are no reminders.”
“You’re right. I feel the same way sometimes but leaving Sunnydale really wasn’t an option for us. I’m glad Dawn’s gotten the chance. It’s what Buffy would have wanted for her.”
Tears started to fall down Willow’s cheeks. “It’s just so damn hard. I’d give anything to have Buffy back. I have so many things to tell her. But most of all I just want to tell her how sorry I am. We never realized how hard her choices were – hell that she had no choices.”
Tara took Willow in her arms and let her cry. Five years hadn’t made things easier for any of them. They hadn’t realized until she was gone how hard and lonely Buffy’s life had been. Tara knew that guilt was one thing that fueled Willow’s continued search to find a way to bring Buffy home.
Rupert Giles looked up as the bell above the door jingled. He smiled at the tall young woman who entered the shop. “Dawn, dear I thought you’d go straight to the house,” he said walking over to envelope the young woman in a hug.
“Oh, Giles I’m early so I wasn’t sure if anyone would be home so I thought I’d come by hear first. That’s okay, right.” She knew it was but she liked to fluster Giles.
“My dear girl of course it’s okay. We’ve been very slow today so I could do with the company.”
Dawn smiled at the man she thought of as a father. After Buffy’s disappearance they’d tried to find Hank but just like with Joyce’s death it seemed he hadn’t cared about the fact his eldest daughter was missing.
“Oh, she had some thing at the children’s school today. I’m not sure what. But, to tell the truth I’m glad she wasn’t here. She’s rather trying when customers aren’t around. Always insisting on tracking inventory – trying to determine ways to maximize our sales. Quite frankly it drives me mad.”
At this Dawn laughed out loud. “It’s good to see some things never change. What say we close this place early? Go for ice cream. I promise not to tell Anya.”
“That sounds wonderful. Just let me lock up the cash box and we can be on our way,” says Giles walking behind the counter and taking out his keys to perform the task. “There. I’m done – ice cream awaits.”
The two joined arms and walked out the door and down the block to the ice cream shop.
Revello Drive – Early Evening
The Scooby Gang were all in the living room of 1630 Revello Drive. The conversation like most nights had turned to their ongoing search for Buffy.
“I finished translating the relevant portions of Absolon’s ‘Mystical Doorways’ but from what I can tell he was never able to open a portal. Giles could you double check my translation?” Willow asked hoping that the Watcher would find something she missed.
Dawn listened to the conversation around her in silence. This was one of the reasons she’d stopped coming home. As much as she wanted Buffy back she hated even more constantly having her hopes raised and then dashed. It had been their blood that had opened the portals and their blood that closed it. Try as they might they had been unable to find anything relating to Glory and the ritual she’d used to open the portal that night five years ago.
Dawn looked under her lashes across the room at Spike. She knew that the only reason he was there was because he'd made a promise to Buffy on that night five years ago when she’d been forced to jump through the portal. Dawn often wondered why he stayed in Sunnydale after she’d gone to UCLA. Maybe it made him feel closer to Buffy to be in the last place she’d been alive. She didn’t know but she understood why he’d stayed just the same – Spike loved Buffy.
Finally, Dawn spoke, “I think we should stop looking.”
The room descended into silence everyone staring at the young brown haired woman.
It wasn’t Spike who spoke first but Willow. “Dawn, we can’t stop. She would never stop looking for one of us.”
Dawn looked into the eyes of her sister’s best friend. “I know you want to find her. But we’ve exhausted every mystical-magical resource there is on portals. We haven’t found anything.” Dawn begins to sob. “This is killing me. Every time you think you find something and then nothing…it’s killing me.”
Spike crouched down in front of the little girl now woman he’d sworn to protect. “Niblet, please…”
“No Spike! I just can’t. If you, the rest of you need to keep looking fine – but I don’t want to know about it. I need to put my sister to rest.” With that said she stood and walked up the stairs to her room and slammed the door. Her sobs at first loud and then slowing subsiding could be heard coming down the stairs until finally there was silence.
Spike angrily turned to the group. “Does anyone else want to quit?” he growled out.
No one spoke.
“Fine, ’m going out to patrol. I’ll drop by and make a report later watcher.”
The remainder of the group sat and looked at each other in silence. Each thinking about whether they should give up the search. Each knowing they’d never be able to. None knowing they were closer to finding Buffy than they ever had been.