AN (Sep 2010): I'm currently in the process of cleaning up and finishing this little monster that has dragged out...jeeze, over ten years 0_o. I'd like to thank all those readers that have stuck with me through my on-again, off-again updating - you guys are truly, truly awesome.
We kick off here from the end of The Gift in Buffy and the battle at Amon Hen (where Boromir dies) in LotR. I don't own any of the characters or settings I play with.
It was the only choice she had.
The sky was tearing open. Her blood was spilled, was still spilling in fact. It was happening. Everything Glory had hoped. Everything they had been trying to prevent for the past year. And yet Dawn couldn't bring herself to care. Not when her sister was looking at her with that horrible certainty in her eyes.
Buffy no - two little words with so many meanings.
Buffy no, don't sacrifice yourself for a world that still needs you.
No, don't take the easy way out.
No, don't do this to the others.
No, don't make me live with the guilt of your death…don't do this to me…
And that's really what it all came down to - Buffy no, don't do this to me. Dawn may have been the key but it was refreshing in a weird way to note that she was still a self-centered teen as well.
"Dawnie I have to."
Dawn barely heard her through her tears, her body numb even as her mind screamed for her to stop it…stop her…
"Live for me Dawnie…"
Live for her.
The words reverberated around her mind with a hollow sort of clanging that made Dawn want to shake her head.
Live for her.
Live for her?
The look she raised to her sister in that instant was a wholly familiar one. One she had spent years perfecting with every cat-fight and spit-session. Every time Buffy accused her of stealing her clothes and demanded them back; every time she used the rest of the milk and Buffy yelled at her to share her cereal. It was a look that said just one thing.
Why the hell should she?
Why should she do anything for her self-centered cow of a sister who wasn't even willing to do the same for her? An anger she knew well burned in her chest as her head snapped up.
Her push caught her sister off guard, the telling stumble putting more than a few feet between the girls as shock blazed in the slayer's eyes. Just for a moment, Dawn could imagine curled, ash-blonde hair framing those eyes; eyes that would look at her with such understanding. No one had quite understood her like her mother. She had to wonder if Joyce Summers would have understood what her youngest daughter now had to do.
Dawn took a step back and it was only then that her sister's eyes widened in realisation.
The molten rock landed between the girls on the platform, cutting off all hope of life for the Key and providing the slayer with perfect access to the staircase that would save hers.
Only as she was running did Dawn work out how she'd done it. Those damn monks. If she had been anyone else, anyone other than a pig-headed sixteen year old, she knew she wouldn't have been able to pull out of her sorrow and pain. Would never have been able to turn self pity into jealousy - would never have been able to rebel against her sister.
But she was a teenage girl – rebelling was what she did best. Her mother had always said it would get her into trouble. She had been right.
Dawn launched herself off the platform.
It was going to get her killed.
The first real sensation following the blackness was one of leaves. Yes leaves - her mind was being that obscure.
Dawn groaned, as one often did after dying - or at least when you died in Sunnydale. It seemed to be a real privilege to be one of the select few to stay dead on the Hellmouth. But then, in her case, there was something infinitely wrong with this scenario - Dawn's eyes snapped open - because she sure as hell wasn't in Sunnydale anymore.
It was the fairytale forest surroundings that gave her the first tip-off. The second was the blood-splattered body flipping through the air and landing beside her. Dawn couldn't help it, she yelped as she back-pedaled away from the body, kicking up a spray of leaves before her back hit a tree trunk.
Unseeing eyes stared out of a ferocious, inhuman visage, the black blood oozing from its slack mouth proving its occupational deadness. Breathing heavily she found herself hoping fervently that this particular creature was a rebel that went against the grain and stayed quite happily deceased because she really didn't want to see what it was like moving if it was this uber-wiggy still.
A thunk from the other side of the tree at her back made her jump and she looked up sharply, dread rising in the back of her throat. With a caution borne of living as the sister of a slayer, she peered around the bark.
The sight that met her was surprising at best.
Pile upon pile of bodies – all inhuman; dark skin mingling with dark blood. And in the center – the cause.
It was a man - that much was obvious. The sword in his hand swung a great lopping ark as his sandy, longish hair flew. Another of the demons fell at his feet and he staggered onto the next.
Staggered. He was hurt, even from the back Dawn could tell as his movements became more and more sluggish. Another of the monsters fell to be replaced by two and the man turned. Dawn let out an involuntary gasp. Yes the man was slowing, but who wouldn't with an arrow in their heart?
A clicking resounded, miraculously drowning out the sounds of the fray and Dawn looked up at the same time the man did…both too late.
The cry did little to stop the arrow and Dawn watched in horror as the man stumbled to his knees, his head drooping; hair curtaining around his face as the second arrow quivered in his chest.
Dawn felt her throat close up. This wasn't fair. She'd just left this. She'd jumped. Why was the horror following her?
Her voice was broken even to her own ears so how he heard it she would never know. But he did and he turned to her. Their eyes locked. Dawn almost thought she was looking into her sister's gaze again. So blue. So full of pain. His eyes showed no confusion at finding her there, the weight of his situation already falling – death already beginning to slip into his gaze.
The monsters attacked again and, amazingly, again, he met them. Dawn had never felt so helpless. This couldn't happen, it couldn't. She needed to do something. Anything-
Her fingertips brushed over a hard, cold surface, a jagged edge caressing her skin. Her eyes hardened and she looked up once more as another creature fell under the man's sheer determination.
The click resounded again.
Dawn heaved the rock with all her might, crying out hoarsely in exertion. It struck its target and the beast growled inhumanly as its head snapped around and the arrow thumped off target into the man's mid-section. He stumbled again and Dawn watched helplessly as he fell. No please…
She would never know how her grip found the man's sword or just how she had made it to his side to retrieve it. She did however remember the brush of her fingers against his as it was passed. She had a feeling she always would. Dawn turned.
Her first blow was clumsy, almost sliding off the attacking demon. Her second pierced its heart and it fell. It took its leader's patience with it.
"Take the Halfling!"
It was a growl but at the same time not. Obviously an order, but sounding as though it had been swallowed a few times before being regurgitated onto the sound waves. Dawn had little time to ponder it as the monsters swarmed towards her. Two fell before she did - something about watching her sister had obviously stuck. Then she was being lifted, her lungs screaming for air as her eyes again locked with the man's, for the last time.
Then everything was black…again.