It's been a while since I posted anything, and I found this floating around on my computer two nights ago. Enjoy!
Her namesake spilling over her face, Dawn woke to another quiet morning. It felt strange to hear the silence after a year of living with a slayer and two witches. Then memories tugged at Dawn as she rolled out bed and went to brush her teeth. Tara had died. Willow had tried to end the world and had gone to England to learn to control her power. Buffy was still learning how to live.
Pushing the memories from her mind, a still pajama clad Dawn walked to the end of the hall. Sometimes the silence gnawed at her in moments like this, moments when the world was silent and there existed no big bad to worry about. Big bad . . . Spike. . . . She tensed at the thought of Spike. Unwilling to think of him or his betrayal at all, Dawn's nose caught the faint scent of coffee. Mmm, she thought. Though she had never really liked the bitter liquid, she had grown accustomed to it in the past year she had spent countless nights awake with only the caffeine to keep her moving. Dawn laid her hand on the smooth wood of the rail and softly made her way down the stairs. She turned to walk into the kitchen, but the faint sound of glass clinking and voices reached her ears. Falling into the old eavesdropping habit, Dawn took a step back out of sight and listened.
Xander filled Buffy's mug as well as his own before putting the pot back in the machine. Working his way around the island, he sat down next to Buffy. He loved Saturday mornings in the summer. He could wake up at dawn without having spent the night awake and researching demons. This particular morning he had come to do a basic check up of the Summers house, to repair those tiny things that most people who had the Slayer gig would ignore: the leaky faucet, the peeling paint, the rust stains. Xander may not have been able to do well at slaying demons, but doing what little he could to keep Buffy from worrying about those everyday nuisances helped her save the world. That counted for something, didn't it? This morning however, he had found Buffy wide awake and sitting on the front porch to greet him.
"Hello there, Buff. What are you doing up?"Xander asked as he strolled up to the front porch, his red toolbox at his side.
Buffy looked up at him from her spot on the stair and shrugged.
Buffy moving over for him, Xander sat down next to her on the stair, laying his toolbox at his feet.
"What's on your mind?"
Buffy pulled her knees to her chest, wrapped her arms around them, and set her chin on top of her knees.
"It's been a year,"she whispered.
She gave him the "you should know this" face.
"Oh. Right. Since the tower."
"Since I died, Xander. We shouldn't be afraid to say it. I died."
"Yes, you did."
Xander fell silent recalling how they had brought her back, his horror at having left her to dig her own way out of her grave, at having ripped her from heaven.
"Don't look so pale,"Buffy told him.
"I don't know if I ever got the chance to say it before, but I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?"
"For pulling you back from Heaven."
"Don't worry about it."
Xander stared at her blankly. Buffy stretched as she yawned and patted his knee.
"I'm not angry anymore. Life happens. And right now, I need coffee."
Xander felt that Buffy had needed a little more than coffee, but followed her into the house anyway to find she already had a pot of fresh brewed coffee waiting.
"I'll get the mugs,"Buffy told him.
Buffy pulled two mugs from the cabinet as Xander set his tool box down on the counter and went to the coffee pot and pulled it away from the machine. Buffy noticed how Xander flawlessly filled in the parts she couldn't do herself. She set the mugs down on the counter as Xander stood ready to pour the hot liquid. Mugs filled, he returned the pot to its home. Rounding the island, he sat down next to her. Last night had been hard for her, knowing that it had been a year since she had died. It made her think about everything. About how Willow, one of her two best friends, had nearly ended the world, and nearly killed Dawn and herself before that. It made her question the reason why she was even here. Why was she alive? Then she remembered how she and her sister had clawed their way out of the earth. It reminded her of the first time, but it had been so very different. She had to guide her sister. They emerged into sunlight and a beautiful world instead of the night and the fight of her first emergence only months ago.
"So what made you decide to live again, Buffy?"Xander asked pulling her from her thoughts, knowing that this was what she needed to be asked. "I mean, when we brought you back, all you wanted to do was die again."
Buffy leaned back in her seat and set the mug on the counter.
"After a while, I realized, heaven's always going to be there. It didn't matter when or where or how I died, I was headed to the city of the pearly gates. I figured out that heaven and death would always be waiting for me. It made me see that life wouldn't. Life is a one-shot deal. Well, at least it's suppose to be."
Buffy laughed lightly at her ability to be resurrected, and Xander realized he had played a hand in both of them. Turning her mug with one hand, the other sat on the counter as Buffy continued her explanation.
"We've only got this one chance at life. I realized it when Dawn was fighting those demons Will sent after us. Dawn wanted to live, to try, so she could do all of those things you can only do if you're alive like marry and have a family and grow old. You can't experience all those things if you're dead. Just because I was alive didn't mean I was living. Seeing Dawn fight to live made me want to fight too. So I decided I would try to continue my journey, try to live again."
Xander set down his mug and looked over at his friend of six years, set his hand on hers and smiled at her.
"I'm glad you did."
"I told Dawn to live for me once. I never told her that I lived for her."
Buffy picked up her mug in her free hand and took a long swig. Xander sighed, took his hand off Buffy's, and returned to his coffee, plotting out the day's repairs. Dawn, sitting on the bottom step, blinked in shock. Buffy had lived for her? Recalling the morning a year ago when Spike had carried her home along side Giles who carried Buffy's body, Dawn thought of the three days after, the pain and sorrow, the regret and grief. A tear slid down Dawn's face as she remembered that she hadn't just lived for Buffy as Buffy had asked her too. Silently, Dawn wondered if Buffy lived for Spike as well.
A/N: Buffy doesn't blong to me. This is a strange format of story telling, even for me, starting the scene, going back in time and then bringing to the present again. Let me know how it works for you. Thank you.