TITLE: Alarms

AUTHOR: Aviatrix

PAIRING: Dawn/Buffy

SUMMARY: Dawn wants Buffy, and it doesn't feel as wrong as it should.

DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Joss Whedon. Etc.

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x

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She's so thin now, smaller than you. Your hands brush against the sharp angles of her hips (accidentally, or maybe not), and she ducks away, always moving and twisting from you.

You touch her, and she turns away.

x

Buffy says your name like it's an afterthought, a back-burner responsibility that begs attention at awkward times.

Dawn.

You know it means the rising of the sun, newness and beginnings and alarm clocks, awakenings and neon-brightness swaying in the sky. Beautiful. And when some people say your name, it is, whether you're just imagining it or not.

But Buffy stays out all night and falls asleep after 6 am, and your name on her lips just sounds like dead-dry afternoon.

x

Some memories are not real. Some things are not yours.

She's not your sister, not really, and so the way her hand on your shoulder makes your pulse beat faster, or the way you always want to lick away her tears when she cries - these things don't seem as wrong as they maybe should.

x

You could hear her sometimes, outside, with Spike. You could almost see his stiff platinum hair, in the red behind your eyelids. You could almost see her hands touching him. You could almost imagine the sounds she made when he fucked her.

Their voices rose and fell, and there were always a silence that you knew meant a kiss, and it sent a shuddering awfulness deep into the pit of your stomach.

The feeling spread through you and up into your throat, almost choking you, and you made no sound as you came, your fingers clawing angrily at the ache between your thighs, thinking of her and listening to the bitter silence outside your bedroom window.

x

Later, much later, in a two-bedroom apartment that Giles paid for, life is almost normal. Buffy fights all night, collecting scars like souvinirs. You do your homework and go on dates with boys, and you watch her when you think she isn't looking.

She comes home one night, around 9 pm, way earlier than usual. You know there's something wrong the second you hear her come in; she never returns without reason, and you're not a reason anymore, if you ever were. So she comes home and falls up the stairs, wobbling into her room and landing uncertainly on her bed.

You're standing in the doorway, looking at her: she's dirty and her clothes are ripped and the blood on her hands may or may not be hers.

You hear her whisper to herself, and it sounds a little like "Help," and you think that she's never looked more beautiful.

You stumble awkwardly over and hug her, your arms holding on to her a little tighter than necessary. She melts into you, muttering incoherently, her hair dangling in front of her eyes. It's greasy underneath your hands.

You kiss away the tears that roll down her face, and she moans, and without thinking you move your mouth over to hers, in that split-second vulnerability when her lips were parted, so softly (so different from the rest of her). You kiss her, deeply.

Very deeply.

And you're sinking: sinking down into her and into her hot soft mouth that tastes nothing at all like you expected it to, your hands are falling down to her hips. Falling in love. If you weren't before, you are now. You are now.

And suddenly she pulls back, an awful expression on her face, and you realize what you've just done, and your heart breaks into a thousand pieces as she gets up and wipes her eyes and walks/runs away from you.

The taste of her is burning a hole in your thoughts, and your hands are shaking.

She's left without looking back, and she won't come home 'til morning.

The sound of the door slamming shut as she enters the house wakes you up, and you spend the day with your ear pressed to the door to her room, listening to her toss in her sleep.

xxxx fin xxxx