Too Late

Author: Pumpkin Belly

Summary: When Dawn explained what had happened with Connor, Buffy didn't say anything. She just let Dawn talk.

Background Information: Dawn is in college in L.A. Where she met Connor, who is Angel's son, but that's not really important. They've been together for about a year or so.

A/N: the song is by Sarah McLaughlan and it's called Push.

When Dawn showed up on Buffy's doorstep in the middle of the night looking very disheveled, eye- makeup running and clothes wrinkled, she didn't ask questions. Just pulled Dawn into a hug and dragged her to the living room couch, allowing Dawn to sob into her shoulder.

When Dawn explained what had happened with Connor, Buffy didn't say anything. She just let Dawn talk.

-Flashback-

"Connor," Dawn called into the apartment, "Are you here?" She was answered by the sound of scrambling coming from the bedroom.

"Connor?" She asked, moving closer to the bedroom.

"Hey, Dawn." He said nervously, trying to control the erg to look behind him, "What are you doing here?"

"I got off early than I expected to so I thought I'd come see you." She answered cautiously, "Is this a bad time?" Anger was about to bubble out of her.

"What's going on?" A female voice called from the bedroom.

"Yeah, what is going on?" Dawn demanded.

"Nothing, baby, really." Connor said reaching out to touch Dawn.

"Don't lie to me." Dawn answered moving out of his reach, "You're here with someone else and you still are trying to cover it up. I thought you loved me." She said tears running down her face.

"Dawn," Connor started.

"No, I can't hear this now. I can't." She said turning back out of the apartment gathering her things as she went.

"Dawn, stop." She heard Connor shout but keep walking.

-End Flashback-

"Oh, baby it'll be ok." Buffy said when Dawn had finished talking before pulling her little sister into a hug.

"It hurts so bad, Buffy." Dawn sobbed out, "I thought he loved me. Why did he do this to me?"

"I don't know, sweetie, I don't know." Buffy sighed as she rocked Dawn.

"Can I stay here for the weekend?" Dawn asked when her sobs had subsided.

"Of course you can. Stay as long as you need to." Buffy said. "Why don't you go up to your room and try to get some sleep?" she suggested.

"Ok. Yeah sleep, that sounds good." Dawn said as she moved in a daze to her room.

"Hey." Buffy said when Dawn came downstairs later the next day.

"Hi." Dawn said, sleep heavy in her voice.

"I've been thinking," Buffy began, "The gang was planning on going to the Bronze tonight. Why don't you come with us?"

"I don't know, Buffy. I'm not really up to partying." Dawn began to protest.

"Please, Dawn. I know you're upset but this could help." Buffy insisted, "Do it for me."

"Fine," Dawn relented, "But only for you."

"Thank you. You won't regret it." Buffy said pulling Dawn into a hug.

"When are we going?" Dawn asked.

"I thought we'd leave in about 2 hours. Is that ok?" Buffy asked

"Yeah that's fine. I'll just go get ready." Dawn said before walking out of the kitchen.

After many wardrobe changes and a few minor hair adjustments, Dawn was ready to go which was more than you could say for Buffy who was just getting out of the shower.

Ring, ring

"Dawn will you get that?" Buffy called from the bathroom, "it's probably Willow."

"Yeah sure." Dawn said before moving to the phone. She picked it up on its 3rd ring, "Hello?"

"Dawn?" The voice on the other end of the phone asked. Dawn froze.

"Dawn is that you, it's me Connor."

Dawn stayed silent.

"You don't have to say anything just please listen." Connor paused, taking a breath. "What you saw yesterday wasn't what it looked like. She,"

Connor continued speaking as Dawn listened. When he finally stopped speaking she put the phone back in the cradle without saying anything else.

"Who was that Dawnie?" Buffy called coming out of her room fully dressed and ready to go.

"It was," Dawn started to say but the rest of the sentence was muffled by the sobs that escaped her.

"It was him, wasn't it?" Buffy said, starting to get angry. Dawn just nodded into Buffy's shoulder, "Shh, it's ok. We don't have to go out tonight."

"No," Dawn said pushing away from Buffy and wiping at her eyes, "I spent all this time getting ready. We're going."

When they got to the Bronze the group was waiting for them.

"Hey Dawnie I didn't know you were in town this weekend." Xander said giving her a hug.

"Yeah, well I wasn't planning on it but things changed and here I am." Dawn said.

"Well it's good to have you here." Willow said hugging her next, followed by Tara and Anya.

"Who wants drinks?" Buffy asked once everyone had said their hellos. Once everyone had given their drink orders the gang moved to find a table.

"Here you go." Buffy said coming back with drinks and a disgruntled Spike in tow carrying the rest of the drinks. "And look who I found at the bar." Buffy said sitting down next to Spike who rested his arm around her shoulders.

"Hey Spike." Dawn said giving him a little wave from across the table.

"'Ello Nibblet." Spike said. Just than a slow song started playing.

"Xander lets go dance." Anya said before pulling him on the dance floor. Willow and Tara followed there lead and moved to the dance floor.

"Wanta dance, pet?" Spike asked Buffy.

"Uh, Dawn are you gonna be ok by yourself?" Buffy said turning to Dawn.

"Yeah, you go dance and have a good time." Dawn commanded putting on a smile for Buffy.

"Ok, if you need me." Buffy said letting the rest of her sentence fall as Spike pulled her to the dance floor.

Every time I look at you the world just melts away

All my troubled all my fears dissolve in your affections

'Oh great,' Dawn thought bitterly, 'just the song I wanted.'

You've seen me at my weakest but you take me as I am

And when I fall you offer me a softer to place to land

'Yeah well you blow that didn't you, Connor.' She mumbled into her drink.

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together

'You use to,' Dawn thought.

You're the one true thing I know I can believe in

Your all the things that I desire you save me and complete me

You're the one true thing I know I can believe in

"Dawn, nothing happened. We were working on a project, I wouldn't lie to you." Connor had told her that one the phone. 'But how can I believe him?' Dawn asked herself.

I get mad so easy but you give me room to breathe

No matter what I say or do 'cause you're too good to fight about it

Even when I push just to see how far you'll go

You won't stoop down to battle but you never turn to go

Dawn smiled to herself thinking of all the good times she'd had with Connor. They never did fight. 'Well I guess we won't ever fight again.' She thought taking another sip of her drink.

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together

You're the one true thing I know I can believe in

Your all the things that I desire you save me and complete me

You're the one true thing I know I can believe in

'I wish I could believe you.' Dawn thought, 'But why didn't you just tell me.' Tears were flowing down her face.

Love is just the antidote nothing else can cure me

There are times I can't decide when I can't tell up from down

You make me feel less crazy when otherwise I'd drown

But you pick me up and brush me off and tell me I'm ok

Sometimes that's just what we need to get us through the day.

'I can't stay here anymore.' Dawn thought pushing back her chair.

"Buffy I need to go." Dawn said to her sister who was dancing close to the table.

"Do you want me to," Buffy started to ask but Dawn cut her off.

"No I'll be fine. Stay. Have a good time." Dawn said before rushing out of the club.

When Dawn got back to her house, tears running down her face, Connor was waiting for her.

"What do you want?" Dawn asked bitterly. She pushed past him to open the door.

"I came to see you." He said coming behind Dawn.

"Why?" Dawn demanded trying to open the door, 'Damn it! Why won't you open' She was getting impatient.

"We need to talk." He said as she finally got the door open.

"There's nothing to talk about, Connor." Dawn said standing in the doorway, "You knew all about my past. All about the guys that had hurt me. I trusted you with everything I am. I loved you and you let me down. I don't want to go through that again. I don't know how to believe you when you say nothing happened." Dawn finished.

"I love you." Connor said.

"Yeah, I thought that too." Dawn said.

"It's too late isn't it?" Connor said to her, a smile of understanding on his face.

"Yeah, Connor. It is." Dawn said.

"Yeah," Connor said nodding, "I'm sorry, Dawn, I'm really sorry." He said before heading back to his car.

"They all are." Dawn whispered into the wind before shutting the door and sitting down to cry.

And that's how Buffy found her, knees tucked under her chin, tears running down her face, rocking herself back and forth.

"Dawn, are you ok?" Buffy asked rushing to her sister.

"He was here, early," Dawn, said, "but it was too late. It was too late." She whispered.

THE END

A/N: Like it, hate it, confused? Let me know.