Series: Is It Really So?
Buffy and Angel have given up on each other. What can Dawn do?
Part 3 of 3: Maybe Not
Rating: PG (for off-color words)
Pairings: A/C mentioned, possible B/A ending
Feedback: Please. Constructive criticism is always welcome.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with BtVS and AtS. (Characters, plots, and dialogue from the shows are borrowed with no infringement intent whatsoever.)
Distribution: Please ask and let me know where it's going.
Summary: Sometimes it takes a sister to set things straight. (Sequel to 'What A Fool I Am' and 'I've Lost Everything')
A/N: Happens sometime after NFA; Angel, Cordelia, Gunn and Fred are still alive. Thoughts are in single quotes (' ').
Buffy stood in front of the mirror in her bedroom with her face buried in a towel. She could not let the others hear her crying. She clutched the silver cross that Angel had given her years before on the night that she knocked him on his back in an alley as she approached the Bronz. She was not aware that her bedroom door was ajar and that her sister, Dawn, was watching her.
'Enough is enough,' Dawn thought as she headed down the hall toward the stairs that led to the street level of the Summers' house. 'I need to talk to Willow. Now.' She hurriedly scrawled a note to Buffy, left it on the kitchen table, and headed out the front door to her new car, an engagement present from her fiancé.
Willow hurried to the front door to answer what seemed to be rather urgent knocking. "Dawn, what …?"
"We have to do something to help Buffy, Willow," Dawn said as she brushed past Willow. "We have to do something now. I can't stand to see my sister like this. You should have never told her that Angel was human. She has been going downhill ever since you told her. I just found her with her face buried in a towel and crying her eyes out."
"I thought she was over him long ago, when he married Cordelia. I don't know what we can do. Angel has been divorced for three years and he has been human for almost a year. If he wanted Buffy to know, he would have told her by now."
"Well if you won't do anything, I will just have to take care of things myself. There is no way I am getting married and leaving for my honeymoon with my sister in the shape that she is in." Dawn turned and headed for the door.
"Dawn, I'm willing to help; I just don't know what to do."
"Don't worry; I'll take care of it."
With that Dawn ran out of the house, hopped into her car and took off for the highway heading for Los Angeles. She knew exactly what she would say to Angel once she saw him. He had hurt her sister enough and he was going to give Buffy some closure, in person, or Dawn was determined to beat the crap out of him until he did.
It was early afternoon when Dawn arrived at the Hyperion Hotel. Cordelia had not returned from lunch, Fred was on the computer, Gunn was engaged in one of his favorite pastimes - organizing the weapons cabinet, and Angel was still sleeping (old habits die hard).
"He's here but he won't be available until later in the evening," Fred told Dawn when she asked if Angel was around. "Would you like to leave a message for him, Miss…?"
"I'm Dawn." Dawn answered as if Fred should already know her.
Gunn looked up and asked, "Dawn from Sunnydale?"
"The slayer's sister?"
"Yeah, and I need to see Angel now, not later in the evening."
"Is there a problem? Has something happened to the slayer?"
"No; but something's going to happen to Angel when I see him."
"What?" Gunn asked with a chuckle.
"I'm going to kick his ass," Dawn answered in a tone that left no questions about the seriousness of her intentions.
"'Bout time somebody did," Gunn said sincerely.
"What's his room number?"
"2-203," Fred said hesitantly. She didn't know this young woman, but she looked like someone that Fred didn't want to tangle with.
Dawn rapped three times loudly on the door of room 203 and yelled for Angel to "get your sorry ass out of the bed."
She opened the door without waiting for Angel to reply and flipped the switch on the wall for the overhead light. The sitting room was typical Angel, expensive comfortable furniture in leather and dark woods, art originals, and books galore. She stood in the doorway of his darkened bedroom with her hands on her hips and demanded, "Well, Angel, are you getting up or will I have to come in and get you?"
"What the hell…? Dawn? What are you doing here?"
"I'm obviously here to see you. Are you coming out of that bedroom or not?"
"Give me a minute to put on some clothes."
"One minute. Then I'm coming in."
'She's Buffy's sister all right, but what in blazes is she doing here?'
Forty-six seconds later a fully dressed Angel walked into the sitting room to find Dawn with her right hand on her hip, tapping one foot on the floor and looking at her watch with an annoyed expression on her face.
"All right, Dawn, you have my attention. You want to tell me what the hell is so important that you couldn't wait until later when I got up."
Panic struck Angel and his tone changed instantly. "W-What's happened to Buffy?"
Dawn just looked at him. 'Is he actually concerned about Buffy?'
"Well don't just stand there; tell me what has happened to her?" His voice rose in urgency.
Dawn stared at him a few moments longer before asking, "So you do give a damn what happens to her? I didn't think you did."
"Of course I care what happens to her. I know that she's getting married, but that doesn't stop me from caring about her, from loving her."
"What did you say? You asshole. You self righteous hypocrite. You liar. How could you?" Dawn slapped him so hard his head snapped to the side.
Angel rubbed his cheek trying to get feeling back into it and took a deep calming breath before speaking, irritation clearly in his voice. "Look. You still haven't told me what's happened to Buffy and I would appreciate it if you didn't hit me again. I don't like it."
"And I don't like the way you've treated my sister," Dawn said quickly and forcefully. "She has never stopped loving you, even when you were married to someone else, and you have the gall to stand there and tell me that you care about her, that you love her. Buffy needs closure from the hell that you've put her through so that she can get on with her life and I'm here to see to it that she gets that closure – from you, in person."
"I have never lied to you, Dawn. I still love Buffy with all my heart; even when I was married to someone else, I still loved her."
"If you love her so much, why did you get married in the first place and why didn't you tell her that when you got divorced or, for gods' sake, when you became human and why in the name of common sense are you still with Cordelia?"
"I was stupid, lonely and stupid, that's why I got married. I wanted to go to her, both times; especially after I became human, but I was afraid of what she would say, afraid that she would reject me. I know that I deserve it, but I just couldn't take her rejection; I couldn't stand knowing for certain that Buffy didn't love me anymore. As for why I'm still with Cordelia – I'm not. We barely speak to each other. Half of the business belongs to her now. She demanded that and got it as part of the divorce settlement."
"You're an idiot, you know that? I don't see what my sister sees in you. If you need the money from this business so badly, why don't you let Cordelia have the whole thing and go out on your own? I'm sure you can get by without her contribution anyway. I'm also sure that she couldn't run this business without you."
Angel looked at Dawn for long moments without saying anything. Then his face changed from being dejected and miserable to what seemed to Dawn to be hopeful.
"You're right. That plan is already in the works. I've already spoken with the others and they're coming with me when I leave. I can do better than this. I can be a better man than I've been these past few years. I can be the person that Buffy saw in me. I know that it is too late for us now; she is marrying someone else, but I can still make her proud of me."
"Angel, be a better man because you want to be a better man, not because you think that is what Buffy wants you to be and anyway, where did you get the idea that Buffy was getting married?"
"From Willow. I specifically heard her tell Cordelia that Buffy said that if she didn't get her dress fitted the day she was here, she was giving her job of maid of honor to someone else."
"Yeah, I know; I was there when Buffy told her that, but Buffy's not getting married, I am." She stuck out her left hand so Angel could see her engagement ring.
Angel stared at the ring. "So Buffy's not getting married?" He started laughing. He grabbed Dawn and hugged her fiercely, spinning around with her, still laughing. "Thank you, Dawn; thank you so much." He let her go with a huge sigh of relief. He thought for a moment and then said, "Wait a minute; I don't understand. Why is Willow your maid of honor?"
"Because, Buffy planned my wedding, she planned my honeymoon, she is walking me down the aisle and she and mom are giving me away. She couldn't do everything." Dawn paused for a couple of beats and then said, "I'm still not done here. Now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it?"
Angel gave her his little trademark smirk and said, "I'm going to Sunnydale to reclaim my wife." He grabbed her by the hand. "Come on."
"Wait a minute, what? Wife? Never mind, I don't even want to know." She ran to keep up with Angel. "What makes you think Buffy will take you back after everything that you've done?"
Angel stopped and turned to look at Dawn. "I don't know that she will; I just know that I have to try. I have to let her know how much I love her. I am not above groveling, or whatever it takes, for the rest of my life." Angel spoke, unaware of the fact that he was now in the AI waiting room and he had an audience.
Dawn was aware of the audience.
"If I was in her shoes and you came to me after all you've done, I'd spit in your eye." Dawn looked at him with a wicked sneer and a wink at Gunn. "But that's just me; I'm not my sister."
"Man with what you've put her through, the slayer's going to kick your butt," Gunn said with a big smile of approval for Angel's plans, making Angel aware of himself and the others.
"I know, but I'm willing to take the chance." Angel smiled at Gunn, a smile the others hadn't seen on Angel's face in years.
"'Bout time, man."
Cordelia spoke up, "And knowing Buffy as I do, I know that she will not make it easy for you. She will make you pay and pay dearly for hurting her."
"We're talking about Buffy, Cordelia, not you," Angel said with contempt. "Money has never been Buffy's motivation."
Cordelia ignored the dig. "I'm not talking about money, Angel; I'm talking about Buffy's stubborn streak. She should make you pay for the way you've treated her and then, if you're lucky, she'll marry you, the two of you will have a house full of kids and live happily ever after."
"And that is exactly the plan," Angel said as he once again grabbed Dawn's hand and headed out the door.
Dawn smiled to herself. 'Maybe my sister will get her happy ending after all.'