Disclaimer: This is a derivative work using characters and intellectual property belonging to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox Television, and Panzer/Davis and Co. (Highlander)
Summary: Response to TtH/Jinni Poetry Challenge #17
Pairing: None
Rating: T (For alcohol consumption by an old person and implied character death)
Spoilers: BtVS: All seasons. Highlander: none. Others as noted.
Distribution: Ask first please. I might just say yes.
A/N: See end.

Minor tweaking: 20-Oct-2005

A cold, bitter wind blew through the bare trees, scattering leaves and dust before it. The tall young woman stood in the little shelter offered by a large oak, her long hair flowing like a dark banner to her side. Her companion, an equally tall woman with blonde, almost white, hair cropped short, held her back with a hand placed, almost gently, on her shoulder. In the distance, just barely visible in the evening light, they could see a small group of people gathered around a small monument near the top of a small, grassy knoll.

They stayed there, unobtrusively watching as the group, two men and three women, slowly walked away, talking in voices too quiet to be heard from their position near the edge of the forest. The blonde looked at the other woman who now had tears pouring down her cheeks and spoke softly to her. "You know you can't talk to them. We shouldn't even be here."

"Amanda, it's just too hard!" She cried with a sob. "This isn't fair. It wasn't supposed to happen this way."

"Dawn, you know fairness has nothing to do with any of this." Amanda told her brusquely, squeezing her shoulder in a tight grip. "We need to get going. We have a flight to catch."

"I need to see it." Dawn protested, trying to pull herself free. "I have to know what it says."

"Okay." Amanda reluctantly agreed, letting her go. "But just for a minute."

The two women carefully made their way through the brush and high grass until they came to the top of the small knoll. A small, meter high monument, cut from polished, green tinted marble, stood in a circle of freshly cut grass, surrounded by daisies and violets.

Amanda watched silently as Dawn squatted down and ran a hand gently across the words carved in the marble.

Dawn Summers
Beloved Sister and Friend
Lost but not forgotten
In time we will once more walk together.

"I don't remember the crash." She said quietly, not turning around. "I do remember being terrified when the plane was hit by lightening. And the screams of the other passengers." She visibly shuddered. "I think one of them was mine. But there wasn't much pain. I must have woken up a couple hours later. There wasn't much left of the plane. It must have exploded right after it hit the ground."

"You were lucky." Amanda told her with a shrug, watching her stand. "You must have been thrown free of it before the explosion. An explosion like that would have taken your head off just as easily as a sword."

"There are times I wish it had." Dawn mumbled before turning and heading back the way they'd come, Amanda silently following.

"Remind me again. Why are we flying?" Dawn murmured, nervously picking at the arm of her seat in first class.

"Because the quickest way to cross the Atlantic from Dublin is by air." Amanda told her with a raised eyebrow, putting down the book she was attempting to read while they waited for the plane to leave the gate. "It's been a year. You can't avoid flying forever."

"I know, but my last trip in a plane wasn't the most enjoyable experience." she grumbled. "Couldn't we take a boat?" she asked, looking hopefully at her companion.

"No. We don't have the time. I have places to be this week and you're not ready to be out on your own yet." Amanda shook her head. "Once you can take care of yourself you can travel however you want to."

"And when will that be?" Dawn asked with a grimace.

"Soon. You're almost there." Amanda watched in surprise when Dawn slouched in her seat and ducked behind a magazine. "What's wrong?"

"Two seats up." She muttered. "It looks like someone I know."

"Really? Which one?" Amanda looked at the two young women now sitting several rows in front of them. They both seemed to exude an aura of innocence with a paradoxical hint of something dangerous. "From where?"

"Can we discuss it later?" Dawn whispered nervously. "She could probably hear us from there if she wanted to."

Amanda frowned at her but answered with a quiet "Okay." Refraining from asking more, she observed her companion trying to appear invisible for a few moments before going back to her book.

With several hours before their connecting flight to the West Coast, Amanda guided Dawn to a small coffee shop she'd spotted near their gate. While Dawn grabbed one of the few tables in a secluded corner, she purchased coffee for both of them.

"How can you drink that stuff?" Dawn asked, making a face at the airport espresso in front of Amanda. "It doesn't taste anything like the real thing."

"No it doesn't." Amanda admitted. "But with a little help it is at least drinkable." And smirking, she took a small silver flask out of a pocket and poured a dash of some golden liquid into her glass, ignoring Dawn's horrified look.

"There are places where they shoot you for doing things like that." Dawn told her, shaking her head in refusal of the same for her coffee.

Amanda just winked at her before taking a sip of her concoction. Looking around to make sure they wouldn't be interrupted or overheard, she reminded Dawn of what had happened on the plane. "So, who were those two women?"

"Well... the one I recognized works with my sister. She was with them this morning. I'm not really sure who the other one was."

"Why did you hide?" Amanda asked curiously. "You've been gone long enough that she probably wouldn't believe it was you anyway. People are really good at ignoring things that they don't understand."

"You know that story of my life that I promised you?" Dawn asked her, giving her a sad look.

"The one that will explain why you already knew how to use a sword before you died?" Amanda asked. "And why you think your family wouldn't have any problems with you being immortal?"

"Yes. That one. I will tell you, but I'm not ready yet." Dawn sighed. "She's a part of it. Not a big part but if I can't tell my sister I'm still alive I'm certainly not having her find out from someone else."

"No, you can't tell your sister. And you know why. It's not just about you." Amanda reminded her.

"Well, your reasons suck." Dawn sniffed. "And this trip isn't going to make me forget them."

Not wanting to spend the rest of their trip with a mopey traveling companion, Amanda tried to cheer her up. "But think of all the fun we'll have! We can spend a couple months in Seacover driving Duncan crazy and then we can work our way back to Paris. We can be there by spring."

"Work? You?" Dawn laughed. "Is this part of your post-death therapy for newbies?"

"Think of it as on the job training." Amanda smirked at her. "Or a working vacation. A chance to practice all those other things I've been teaching you."

"It's a good thing I'm already dead." Dawn muttered. "Buffy would kill me if she ever found out I'm being taught to steal by a professional thief. It was bad enough last time. And that was only shoplifting."

"It's a time honored profession." Amanda protested with a small pout.

Dawn stared at her for a moment before shaking her head in mock disbelief. "As long as you believe it." Amanda just laughed before taking another sip of coffee.

Author's notes:
1. Constructive feedback always welcome.
2. So... plot hole issues? Not gonna fix them any time soon. Grammar issues? I wave my "Grammar
for Dummies and Fanfic Writers" book in your general direction!
3. This part occurs after my ficlet "The Not So Charmed Witch" and before "Faith in Winter". Later parts occur as noted.