Copyright- the poem is mine. Btvs is property of FOX, J.W., M.E.

setting/summary- Buffy wrote this before leaving to save dawn from Glory. spoilers for season 5 up to the gift. A poem for Dawn.

__________________

THE DUST

Buffy turned from Spike, a sad smile on his face and a promise still lingering on his lips. She glided up the stairs slowly, another plan already forming in her mind. She ended up in her room at her desk, pen in hand and sliding smoothly over a slip of paper labeled "Dearest Dawnie,". Finished, and content with her work, she signed her named and folded the paper in half, laying it carefully on the pillow of her bed. She knew what was going to happen tonight , what she had to do. And if she was right, then Dawn would find the paper soon enough. If she was wrong, well she'd be home soon enough to throw it away.

With a tired sigh, she shrugged on her jacket and , taking one last glance at her room, slowly shut the door and went to face the world. Or, the end of it.

_________________

Dawn limped up the stairs, holding on the banister to steady her steps.

*She had held this banister, just a little while ago.* She thought numbly.

Her bare feet were sticky with blood and gravel, and she slipped a few times on the way up, latching onto the railing to save herself from plumetting to the base of the steps. The way the backwards motion swept her hair off her shoulders and made her head spin reminded her of the recent tower incident, and she struggled to continue up the steps.

When she got to the top, she swung open the nearest door and was faced with an all too familar scent. Her. Tears stung her eyes and poured down her cheeks as she walked slowly into the room. Every trinket, poster, and picture set off technicolor memories in her mind. The beach, the house they had grown up in, the life they shared together for as long as Dawn could remember. The emotions were overwhelming as it finally hit her. Buffy was dead. Hand poised over her mouth to capture a sob, she sat into the bed.

Buffy's bed.

She had been there, watching helplessly as her sister did her final hero's act. She had stared, from the base of the tower, at Buffy's broken body, dust still in the air from the impact. She thought she knew, in that moment, that in a minute, Buffy would sit up and look over at her friend's with a witty grin and equally witty quip. But when the dust settled, she was still gone.

Shock fading and being replaced by grief, another sea of tears erupted from behind her eyes and she fell sideways onto the pillow at the head of the bed. And onto a piece of carefully folded paper with her name on it. Whimpering , she read the carefully penned words, and grief was replaced by pain as a huge hole was gouged into her chest, and the room around her seemed to crumble.

_________________

Dearest Dawnie,

I'll hold you,

I love you so.

I'll kiss you,

but I have to go.

Little sister,

Somethings you can't fight.

I wish,

I could tuck you in tonight.

Buffy

_________________

-End

A/N- Ok, this all started out as just the poem (originally title 'Little Sister') that I had put on an image I had created as a, sort of tribute to Buffy and Dawn post 'The Gift'. But then I thought I would share it with you guys, and figured I'd put two paragraphs with the poem in between. But then my brain started using compound sentences and big words, and lo and behold, a ficlet erupts. I guess this could go after the prologue of my story "When The Dust Settled" but before chapter one. It also explains the title to previously stated story in a way I didn't get to in the story itself.

So, in conclusion, this story is already very close to my heart, and I would love to know what you guys think :)

~Dawn