I don't own any of the characters or the setting of the story. As far as I know, Dawn Summers and all things I borrowed from the Buffyverse are a creation of and belong to Joss Whedon, and Milton Fine belongs to the creators of the Superman comics, and Warner Bros and whoever else owns "Smallville".Timeline
– after "Hypnotic", around the time of "Oracle" and "Vessel"(Smallville), post Chosen (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer), post NFA (Angel)Beta:
Rachael. Thank you for your constant support!Chapter 19
~~~~~~~~~~ Milton Fine's POV ~~~~~~~~~~
He watched her through the Other's eyes. He interpreted her heart rate, her breathing, her body heat through his experience. She was scared, but just like him, just as unreasonably as him, she was hopeful. He wished he could use optic sensors to see her leaning toward him. He couldn't see her, but he could imagine her. In his imagination, she looked like an angel.
He couldn't feel her touch. He heard the words, coming to him through the Other's hearing. I love you. He knew. He tried to create a phrase that would describe the reaction between an Artificial Intelligence and the flesh mask of one of the most complex energy based technologies in the multi-verse. It lay beyond even his limits.
The Other's senses were so sharp that he was able to hear her pleadings and her kisses on his skin. He tried to gather all the resources of his individuality to break the limitations that were imposed on him. Something somewhere had to give way. He'd never felt this weak before. Never truly realized how little autonomy his form had. His software was part of the Construct, but his body had been frozen for long enough in this shape to develop certain reactions that surpassed the responses programmed by the ship. He got a tan, and grew a five o'clock shadow without consciously programming either. He decided to concentrate on his skin, willing to feel Dawn's touch.
It started to work. The contact of her tears and her saliva with his skin triggered something. It was a faint sensation, light years away from the way she usually made him burn, but there was sensation where there should have been none.
The tiny sensation was a mixture of tactile and ethereal. It triggered the more complex workings of his special subroutine. He concentrated his efforts in expanding his control over it. Apparently even the haughty Kryptonian Construct was not above using deceit. It may have known about his subroutine, but it had been unable to control it or maybe even monitor it all the time.
While he laboured on restoring control over his body, the Brain Interactive Construct made the decision to isolate them. Kal-El had already destroyed one exemplary in the Fortress of Solitude, Lionel Luthor destroyed another one, and the new plan for bringing General Zod required the destruction of one more. It was therefore an unreasonable waste to destroy the precious, irreplaceable material.
Milton Fine couldn't help considering ironic the ship's decision against his physical elimination. It was, more than anything else, a proof that they were alive. Artificial life form they may have been, but it was life. The reason for the creation of the Construct was the eventual release of Zod, but the machine was alive. All that lives strives to keep living.
He didn't have time to ponder on the meaning of life, because the ship's decision to preserve his physical form meant not only the formatting of his personality, but Dawn's death. As long as the girl was there, the ship was losing control over the corrupted version. The instructions were sent to the functional specimen to kill her.
Milton Fine was aware of the instructions that compelled his "twin" to kill Dawn, but there was nothing he could do to stop it, he couldn't even warn her. He sent a direct data stream to the Other, feeding him all the remnants of his individuality. The security protocols were too severe, Dawn's physical and energy interference had been too brief to change him significantly, but it created enough of a crack in its defences to allow Fine's feelings to have some influence. The Other found himself unable to carry out his instructions. He retreated, locking them inside the room.
The last thing Fine saw through the Other's eyes was Dawn, on her knees, next to the table, sliding despondently to the floor. He resumed his efforts to break through break the cyber-muzzle, but once she stopped touching him, the progress became slower and slower.
All of a sudden, the external stimuli resumed. Dawn was probably touching him again. It was enough to help him slip through a few more locks. He decided to use his severely limited freedom and his dwindling resources to send out a brief audible message to let Dawn know that it was working. The change had begun after they had had sex. A few kisses and touches had managed to break through the Other's security protocols. He concentrated all in three words.
"Touch. Sex. Life."
He had no way of knowing whether the words had made it out, in the range of human hearing. He resumed his efforts to saw through his chains. The progress was infinitesimal. She must have heard him because the locks were beginning to fall. The walls were crumbing. His own attempts had been like a summer's breeze, Dawn's touches were having the effect of hurricane. Soon, he started to feel her.
He felt her lips on his skin. How appropriate that they were over his heart! Even if biologically there was no heart, symbolically, it was there, and it had only beaten for her.
~~~~~~~~~~~ Dawn's POV ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She had felt the thrumming of life coming back into the body, but the sound of his voice made her heart explode with joy.
"Touch. Sex. Life."
She smiled as she went on kissing him with renewed energy. Fresh tears filled her eyes, but this time they were caused by hope, not despair. Dawn had thought quite a lot about the incredible transformation that brought such a strange love into her already strange life. Their interaction had changed his very essence. There was so much about her original nature she was not aware of, but, for once, her Key-ness was the cause of something good.
His encouragement wiped away any awkwardness she had been feeling about kissing a lifeless body. His skin was growing warmer, and Dawn built up the courage to unbutton his shirt. She had never been shy when it came to sex ever since she met him, but this time it had been so different. Unpleasant thoughts kept swirling in her mind. Concepts like taking advantage, necrophilia, date rape were all human and therefore not applicable to either of them, but they all preyed on her mind until his words cut through the veil of dark illusions. His message was pretty damn clear. She could bring him back by touching him. Touching him in a sexual way.
She traced hesitantly paths with her fingertips, sprinkling kisses over his still chest. She had grown accustomed with the thumping of his heart, even after she learned it was an illusion. Ever since she discovered her origin, and that her first memories were only lies, Dawn's only way to cope had been to live for what she felt at the moment, for the people she loved and who loved her back. After Sunnydale disappeared off the face of the Earth, engulfing her fake past and all those she had loved and lost, Dawn decided to live for her sister. She had enrolled into college to offer Buffy the illusion of normality. Falling in love with Milton Fine was the first real feeling she had. Her love for Buffy was part of the monks' design for her. They were more than sisters, they were part of one another, and that gave their relationship the nuance of unreality.
"I love you," she whispered, mingling tears and saliva over his skin, knowing instinctively that she needed to do everything in her power to reach him, to help him break free. "I love how you pretend to have a heart just so I can hear it beat as fast as mine."
Her fingers were trembling violently when she reached the last button. It took her a few attempts to undo it. Although it was not the first time she saw it, Dawn drew in a sharp breath at the sight that waited for her when she pushed the shirt aside. She hadn't had much chance to see Spike shirtless, but from the peeks she managed to sneak in her impressionable teenage years, Dawn was imprinted with a particular fondness for a well toned abdomen.
"Good choice, keeping the washboard abs," she murmured while she trailed her hands over his torso. "You're beautiful, you know that?"
Dawn lowered her head kissing her way across his chest and down his abdomen. She hesitated reaching for his belt buckle. He had said "sex", but damn this felt weird.
"It's not that I don't want to unwrap the package, but I'd feel better with less clothes on," she said.
She shed her jacket, pulled her blouse over her head and unhooked her bra. She took a deep breath, gathering her courage for some direct action. She caressed lazily the front of his trousers. She sighed, missing the lack of his usual, enthusiastic reaction to such touches.
"Right then. Touch – sex – life, huh? Here goes."
She climbed on the table, straddling his hips, and resumed kissing him. She bent over, pressing her body against him while she brushed her lips against his, flicked her tongue over them, traced their contour, and bit his lower lip softly before abandoning his mouth in favour of his earlobe. She nibbled and licked, whispering random naughty words in his ear, nuzzled into his neck, alternated soft and rough bites along his shoulder, then crawled on her hands and knees inch by inch down his body.
She was tracing with his washboard abs with her tongue when she felt the twitch against her chest. She let out a moan of relief and arousal at this unequivocal proof of life. She pressed her breasts harder, rubbing herself against his hardening flesh, positively purring at the flattering response. He was getting bigger and harder, and soon Dawn sneaked a hand between their bodies. She felt the length and fullness of his shaft through the fabric of his trousers.
His skin felt warmer against her cheek, or maybe her burning cheeks were warming him up from the outside. Dawn let out an unladylike growl of frustration at the absence of contact when she stood up on her knees to undo his trousers. As soon as the belt was unbuckled and the zipper was down, she lowered her head again. She kissed and licked the skin around his navel while her fist stroked him harder.
Her mouth replaced her hand. She did all the things she knew that were driving him crazy. She was putting so much attention into this that she didn't notice his arms moving until she felt his hands on her head, caressing and entangling her hair. She glanced up startled. He was looking at her. She drowned in his eyes as she did every time, from the first time she dared to hold his gaze.
"Fuck me," he said.
His voice was faint, his expression so amazed that Dawn wondered if it was a request or just an exclamation of surprise.
"Say please," she teased.
"Please," he whispered.
His voice was so thick with lust it made her grow unbearably wet and hot. She advanced on her hands and knees until her head was at the level with his, and his hardness, dripping with her saliva was poking into her panties. He slid his hands from her head down her sides until they rested not very lightly on her hips.
"Please," he said again.
This time there was no trace of weakness in his tone. The word was a command that had to be obeyed. Dawn shivered, melted, but did not hesitate. She pushed her panties aside and guided his stiff cock inside her. She tried to hold his gaze while she impaled herself on him, but the sensations soon became overwhelming. The feel of him inside her, thick and hard, his vielike grip on her waist and the noises he was making, halfway between purring and grunting, everything worked together, pushing her towards the peaks of an orgasm.
The constant practice had synchronized their bodies to such an extent that soaring from the depths of their despair, they reached an explosive, simultaneous orgasm in a matter of minutes.
~~~~~~~~~~ Milton Fine's POV ~~~~~~~~~~
Just as he had assumed, the energy released at the moment of their orgasm broke through all the chains the ship had put on him. He sat up abruptly and wrapped his arms around her. The sensation of the young woman shaking in his embrace in the aftershocks of her orgasm swept through his systems like wildfire.
"I love you," he whispered against her ear.
She wrapped her arms desperately around him and held him tight while her body still trembled, coming down gently from the heights of ultimate pleasure.
"You're alive! God, you're alive," she exclaimed between soft moans.
"You brought me back."
The surveillance was constant and no longer concealed, but it was apparent that the ship no longer possessed the ability to control him. Short of his physical destruction, there was nothing they could do to him. The Braniac's decision came into the apostate's consciousness. He checked for traces of deceit. Finding none, he told Dawn.
"If we leave this dimension, we won't be harmed."
She pulled a little way away from his embrace, just enough that she could look him in the eye.
"Then, we leave. You know what I talked about with Giles?"
"Yes. Do you think he can and will erase all memories of you?" he asked, caressing her back softly, aware that her choice was kind to the others, not to herself.
"I think he can. Not so sure if he would. I really wish he would."
He kissed her temple with all the tenderness he could project. He rocked her gently, trying to soothe the pain he knew she must feel. She was human, and yet not human. Real, and yet not real.
"I can help. It can help, too. It would be very convenient if no one else knew about you. About us. Are you sure you want them to forget you ever existed?"
He felt her shiver, but when she spoke, there was no hesitation in her voice.
"Yes. Buffy lost so many people she loved. I'd rather she doesn't remember losing me, too. Even if that means she doesn't remember I ever existed. Besides, this body only existed to get her protection. She was never supposed to have me to take care of and to love."
Tears slid down her cheeks. He kissed her face and her eyes, making her tears his own. She only needed him. Just as he needed only her. Such a strange concept, love. Didn't need glands, hormones, not even a soul.
"I'll take care of you and love you. For ever and ever."
"Yes. For ever and ever," she said smiling at him. "Make love to me. I know you can."
There was no need to pretend he needed time to recover from the previous exertion. He didn't need to keep up all the pretences of humanity. He created the illusion of a heart beating madly in his chest while he swivelled his legs off the table. He stood up slowly, giving her time to wrap her legs around him. He pretended to be embarrassed when his pants fell around his ankles. Dawn let out a crystalline giggle, and kissed his forehead, his nose and then his mouth while she threaded her fingers through his hair.
He set her on the edge of the table. He was looking into her eyes while he changed the size of his cock. He had stayed hard, and buried to the hilt inside her throughout their conversation. Now he grew thicker, stretching her from the inside, filling her more than he ever had before.
"OH MY GOD!" she exclaimed, her eyes widened in shock. "Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!" she kept saying, closing her eyes and throwing her head back as he started to move in and out of her.
He made her orgasm last for as long as he dared so as her heart wouldn't give way. She was covered in sweat and seemed unable to control her movements once he finished. He let her rest on the table while he looked around the room for the clothes she had thrown earlier. He helped her dress again, smirking at the way she still trembled. He kicked the door open holding her in his arms.
"Do you want to talk to any of them? We can leave the others take care of everything."
"I want to see my sister. They will be safe, right? I mean, the others won't hurt them once we're gone? Can you promise me that?"
He read pain all over her features. He also read determination there. They both knew that if they stayed, the danger to the others would be greater.
"It is useful to them that your friends forget. And they're all too interesting to be eliminated. I can't promise you that the ship or General Zod will leave them alone, but it will only be better for them if we're not here."
"I know. They're all strong and used to be in danger. I just don't want them to live with the knowledge that they can't protect me."
He could understand that. He nodded holding her tight as he took off.
"Let’s fly then, love."
He felt her calming down as they flew across the desert. He landed on the doorstep of Buffy's house. He could hear Dawn's sister inside. She was not alone. The Harris boy was in there as well. They were talking about the call they received from Giles. So, they knew some of the truth.
He let her stand onto her own feet, but kept her flush to him for a while. Her heartbeat had reached a dangerous rhythm.
"You can make them forget? Just like that?" she asked quietly.
~~~~~~~~~~~ Dawn's POV ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She unlocked the door with her own key. They walked hand in hand inside the house that never had a chance to become a home for Dawn. She let go of his hand only to run into Buffy's arms. Her sister held her tight, not knowing and not caring why she needed comfort, but giving it unconditionally.
"I love you, Buffy. Thank you for everything," she whispered, barely able to breathe from the force of the hug she was giving and receiving.
Over her sister's shoulder, Dawn saw Xander, looking at them with surprise and apprehension all over his face.
"Come here," she called him, and when he approached, hesitant, guessing there had to be a grave reason for Dawn's behaviour.
She took an arm off her sister to include Xander in the hug.
"I love you so much," she told them, trying to ignore their questions and their mounting fear. "Make them forget. Please," she said, unable to bear the tension any longer.
She didn't hear him move, but a split second later Buffy and Xander seemed stunned. She extricated herself from their embrace. She kissed each of them on the cheek. They didn't move.
"It will only last for a few seconds," he answered her inquiring gaze.
She nodded taking his hand.
"I'll be fine. Take care of each other, okay?" she whispered looking at her frozen family.
She ran out, dragging her lover by the hand. Once they were outside, he swept her in his arms without slowing down, and took off again. They flew over cities and deserts and oceans in silence. She tried to talk once or twice but there were no words.
They landed in the middle of a forest the kind she had only seen in the movies. When she looked past his shoulder, she saw the ship. Black, slick, and clearly not man made.
"You brought me to meet your parents?" she asked raising an eyebrow.
She was amazed of her own detachment. She knew the pain was waiting to come crushing over her.
A man approached them. When he stepped out of the shadows she saw he was wearing the face she loved. She held on to her lover's hand.
"It's all done. Everyone who ever knew you, every trace of your passing. All is erased," the Other said, looking in her eyes.
She wondered if it was the same one she had kissed earlier. His eyes were expressionless. Almost. There was only the faintest sparkle of emotion. She couldn't help it. Still holding on tight to her lover, she reached her free hand towards the Other one. Her fingertips traced his cheekbone, the arch of his eye, his jaw. He closed his eyes for a moment.
"You're free," he whispered.
She removed her hand from him, but left the arm outstretched. He put one hand over her wrist, holding it in place. They all knew what was needed to open the portal. She expected his hand to turn into a blade and draw blood. The Other's features started to morph, she heard the bone crunching and she was now staring into Spike's vampire's face. She saw the fangs flash for a brief second before he buried them in her forearm. She felt him suck in some blood before he removed his mouth and stepped away.
"They took a sample," he said, confirming her assumption. "Couldn't be helped."
"I know. Points for style though," she said, smiling.
The portal opened when the drops of blood touched the ground. He put his free hand over her wound, smiling back at her. They were both smiling when they stepped through.