Angel slowly drove down the street nearing her old house. Her house. Oh god, Dawn winced and felt her eyes stinging. She could still remember when they'd all been so happy, her mom, Buffy and her.
God so much had changed since then.
As they pulled into the driveway, Dawn couldn't help but gasp. Everything was the same, it was well kept and the grass cut. Some had obviously been living there.
"We kept the house, for when we come to stay. Faith and Angel live here now," Willow said quietly, trying not to upset Dawn. Dawn took a shaky breath, "Oh."
"Um…is it okay that we stay here?" Willow asked nervously. Dawn struggled to compose herself, "Yeah. Um, I'll get the bags."
She opened the car door and stood on shaky legs. With a deep breath, Dawn opened the trunk and pulled out a few bags, slinging them over her shoulders.
"It's open so you can just drop the stuff off on the floor. Then we'll figure out sleeping arrangements," Angel told her and Dawn nodded. She slowly made her way to the front door and opened it gently. She set the bags down and cautiously stepped into the living room. It was the same. A few minor details, like the extra lamp in the comer of the room and more books on the bookshelves, but it was exactly the way she remembered it.
It was home.
"Uh…Bit?" Spike called from the porch, "Little help,"
Dawn raced to the door and took the bags and dropped them off by the others.
"Why didn't you just put them here?" she asked.
"Not invited," Spike mumbled and Dawn frowned, "of course you-" she stopped when she realized why he couldn't come in. It wasn't her house any more.
"Oh," she said quietly. They stood there awkwardly for a moment before Dawn bent down and rifled through her weapons bag. Armed with a few stakes and a knife, she stepped out on to the porch.
"I'm gonna go patrol, wanna come?" It was late but she really didn't care, she just needed to pummel something.
"Yeah," Spike agreed, trying not to sound too eager. He'd been cooped up way too long. He wanted a nice kill before bedtime.
"We're gonna go do a sweep," Dawn announced to Angel and Willow.
Angel looked hesitant, but nodded, "Okay. I'm not sure when Faith'll be back anyway."
Dawn nodded and she and Spike headed towards the nearest cemetery.
As soon as they were out of earshot Willow turned to Angel, "Was that a good idea?"
Angel shrugged, "Probably not, but they can take care of themselves."
Willow just watched them disappear around a corner, "I'm worried about Dawn-er Silver. She's been through a lot lately."
"Don't worry," Connor told her as he deposited the last of the bags, "From what I hear she's been through a lot worse."
"Yeah, but you can only take so much before," Willow paused and bit her lip, "Before you…you know, snap."
Connor looked worried for a second but then relaxed, "I'm sure she'll be fine."
"Doing alright Bit?" Spike asked, trying to sound casual.
Dawn let out a mumbled, "Fine" before progressing to the next few graves. They'd already gotten at least three vamps and Dawn didn't look like she was stopping anytime soon.
"Pet, uh maybe we should head back," Spike suggested and Dawn just glared at him.
"No objections here, Bit, you know I love a nice spot of violence, but don't fancy listening to Peaches whining about coming home late."
Dawn shrugged, "He'll deal." And proceeded to cut across the street for the cemetery down the street.
"Right then, off we go," Spike muttered under his breath.
As they entered the graveyard, they instantly noticed the commotion through the trees. Cautiously, Dawn ducked behind a tree and Spike followed. They peered around the edge and watched as a brunette pummel a pair of vamps. Spike quickly noted her strength and smell. Slayer. So that's the other one, he studied her. She was a contrast of Buffy, dark where she'd been light. More muscled where Buffy had been petite. She smelled of sex and sweat.
Dawn watched as Faith easily staked the pair and wiped her stake off on her leather pants. Suddenly Faith froze, then called out, "Come on out, I'm just itching for a good fight."
Dawn hesitated, before standing up, "Hey Faith,"
Faith stared at her, slightly startled before cracking a small smile, "Hey Dawn," then she looked passed her shoulder, "And you,"
Spike stared at her; wary of what Dawn had told him earlier.
"So you're the other Slayer,"
"Only Slayer," Faith corrected, "Until Wills finds the other one,"
Spike cocked his head at her, "Found,"
"Really?" Faith said with interest, "Where is she?"
"Uh…here," Dawn spoke up. She still didn't really like the whole idea of a Slayer and in her opinion; the land of denial was a great place to be.
"Damn, D" Faith said, slightly awed.
"Yeah," Dawn said, shifting uncomfortably.
Spike was watching Faith, eyes narrowed. There was something familiar about her. He'd never met her, but something about the way she moved and talked. Reminded him of someone.
"Have we met?" he blurted out.
Faith gave him a wicked smile, "Once,"
He tilted his head, trying to place her. He would've remembered meeting the other Slayer.
"Wasn't exactly wearing this body," Faith told him, motioning to herself.
Spike tilted his head even more with a raised brow.
Dawn watched the exchange between them and then it clicked.
"When you took over Buffy's body," Dawn said slowly.
Faith looked a little sheepish, "Yeah."
Spike then remembered when he'd been talking to Buffy and she'd been telling him some very interesting things.
"Pop me like warm champagne?" Spike smirked and Faith returned the smirk.
"Recognize me now?" she teased.
He let out a low chuckle, "Not really something a man forgets,"
Dawn raised an eyebrow at Spike who shrugged, "She said a few things that made me wonder if Buffy had been very drunk."
Faith laughed, "B? Not really her style."
Then suddenly they sobered and all stood there awkwardly.
Dawn sighed and briefly closed her eyes. Everything was changing so fast. She'd barely been able to register the fact that they were in The Cemetery. Her eyes snapped open.
"Um…I'm gonna go do a quick sweep here and you guys can get the next cemetery," she suggested.
"I was thinking about heading back. Already got a few in before," Faith said.
"Okay, I'll just finish up here, you head back," Dawn said quickly and noticed Spike looking at her so she avoided his eyes.
"Are you sure? Cause I can stay," Faith asked.
"I'm fine, it's no big," Dawn told her, "I'll be back in a half an hour,"
Faith nodded slowly, "Okay," and turned to Spike, "Come on Blondie. I'm dying to hear stories about your evil vamp days."
Spike gave Dawn once last look, "Right, see you later Bit," and Dawn nodded then he walked away.
Dawn waited until they were out of sight before making her way to the two graves.
"Hi mom. It's me, Dawnie," Dawn stopped and took in a shaky breath, "God. Last time I came here I told you good-bye and that I was leaving and not coming back." She laughed, her eyes blurring a little.
"Pretty sucky huh? Well I'm back. You wouldn't believe how much has happened in the last week. I found out who made me, you know the Key. It was weird. And Spike's back, can you believe it? He's got a soul now," she paused, "I miss you so much. Sometimes I think I'm gonna rip into two cause the pain hurts so much," Dawn was crying now, tears that had threatened to spill since she'd passed the 'Welcome to Sunnydale' sign now poured freely.
She then moved over to Buffy's grave. To the words she knew by heart, 'she saved the world a lot.' Xander had found the perfect words for her.
"Buffy, I miss you too," she whispered, running her hand down the headstone, "I'm a Slayer now. I'm can't believe it, I'm not sure I even do. But I'm gonna fight Buffy, I'm gonna make you proud," she wiped away a tear that had snaked down to her chin, and then froze as she realized someone was behind her.
She turned around and Spike stepped forward, holding his hand out to her. She gratefully accepted it. He pulled her up and they stood there, neither talking.
She gripped his hand tightly, reveling at his cool hand soothing her. She didn't let go and he made no move to pull away.
They just looked down at Buffy's grave.