A Buffy the Vampire Slayer YAHF
by P.H. Wise
Epilogue: Destination Unknown
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Joss Whedon's baby, and belongs to Mutant Enemy. I am not Joss Whedon. No copyright infringement is intended; please don't sue me. I'm not making any money off of this.
There was no formal funeral for Dawn Summers. Her body was still ambulatory, and that made a coroner's report a tricky matter. Even so, Giles had volunteered to hold a private ceremony. It was done in the Summers's back yard: nothing extravagant, just a short ritual that had been passed down from generation to generation of Watchers.
On the day of the ceremony, Cordelia Chase was hunched over the bathroom sink, trying her very hardest not to cry. Every time she looked in the mirror, she was reminded of the... changes she had undergone. Of the price she had paid for pushing Willow out of the way. If she hadn't... if only she hadn't... but then Willow would be going through this right now. She wiped her eyes furiously. She shouldn't have saved Willow. She didn't even like Willow. She didn't even... she was crying again.
There came a knock at the door.
She ignored it, wishing desperately that it would just go away. That she would wake up safe in her bed and that yesterday would have been a bad dream. Buffy's little sister wouldn't be dead, her body wouldn't be walking around calling itself Illyria, and she wouldn't be so. damn. blue.
The knock came again, and she glared at the door.
"Cordy, it's me."
Xander. Xander Harris. Probably the worst mistake she had ever made. Xander fucking Harris. "Go away," she said, but her heart wasn't in it.
He opened the door – it hadn't been locked, and came in, his expression a gentle one. "You ok?" he asked. What kind of question was that? Of course she wasn't OK!
"Of course I'm not OK," she hissed at him, trying very hard to ignore the blue tinged black hair that she could see even now at the edge of her peripheral vision. "Look at me! I'm a Smurf! My social life is over!"
He smiled faintly. "Yeah, but at least you're a pretty Smurf."
"Don't you try to make light of this, Xander Harris. How am I supposed to become an actress now?"
"Lots and lots of creatively applied makeup?"
"Funny. What do you think I've been applying all morning? It isn't doing any good. It just goes right in and vanishes like it's not even there."
"Isn't that what makeup is supposed to do?"
"Not like this, you idiot!" Her bloodshot frozen blue eyes met his. When she spoke again, the fire had gone out of her voice. "What are we going to do now?" she asked. She felt lost and alone.
He embraced her, and she smiled ever so faintly through her tears. "I don't know about you," he said, "but I was thinking we'd go outside and do Dawn's memorial. Everyone's waiting."
Ok, not alone.
With his arm around her shoulder, and hers around his waist, Xander and Cordelia left the house.
But even as they walked out, and she saw the Scoobies assembled there – Buffy and Joyce all in black, their faces masks of sorrow, Willow looking positively haunted, Giles's face totally unreadable, and Jenny Calendar, the one who shared Cordelia's condition, looking ... hollow. She felt hollow, too. Jenny's thoughts were always there, now, like muted whispering at the edge of her awareness – Cordelia suddenly felt a presence in the back of her mind, both ancient and terrible. And then she could swear she heard Dawn's voice, cold and pitiless as the Arctic winter, but Dawn's voice nonetheless, saying, "You will do." A phrase rose unbidden in her mind, then, though she knew not what it meant: Qwa'ha Xahn.
Cordelia shivered. No, whatever else she was, she wasn't alone any longer.
And far away, in his cave at the entrance to the Deeper Well, Drogyn the Battlebrand frowned deeply as he studied Illyria's sarcophagus. He had just confirmed it; Illyria was still within. So why was he sensing her presence to the west...? A determined look settled onto his face, and he rose to his feet, took up his sword, and left the Deeper Well in the care of his assistants.
He would do what he had to.
And at last, at long last, in a lavish mansion on the eastern coast of the United States, Glory stiffened suddenly and looked westward. Was that... but it couldn't possibly be... it was! Her Key was there, somewhere to the west.
She smiled widely. "Jinx! Murk!" she called, "Start packing. We're going on a little trip!"
Author's notes: And that is that. There's more to tell here, obviously, but that's going to have to wait for the sequel.