Dawn stood at the very top of the Eiffel tower and looked down at the world. A soft sigh escaped her. It had been over a hundred years now, since the events of Sunnydale. A hundred years and she still looked exactly the same. Somehow that thought depressed her – especially today of all days when thoughts of Sunnydale and its past residents hit her with full force. Instead of pushing the thoughts aside as she usually did however, she allowed herself to remember: Remember them all at long last; remember their lives and their loss.
Giles, the oldest of them had been the first to die. Not by old age, unfortunately but by cancer. They had been battling the First (again) at the time. Rather than getting treatment, he kept it to himself and helped in the fight. By the time the group found out, it was too late to help him out. Dawn had hoped that her blood could help him but apparently outside of her body, her blood was just blood. The Key energy wasn't something that could be transferred to help another – not even temporarily. It had been a bitter moment when she realised that.
Anya had died next and it almost killed Xander right along with her. Had it been something demonic or unavoidable, he probably would have coped better but, she had picked up an infection or something after giving birth to their fourth child. To fix the infection, they gave the ex-demon penicillin... no one realised until it was too late that Anya was seriously allergic. Her last words to Xander were that she loved him and their children. When he told her that, Xander tried to make a weak joke about women dying and telling him they loved him but fresh tears came before he could get it out. Dawn had stayed with him for a year, helping him get back on his feet again before moving on. He never so much as looked at another woman after Anya, focusing entirely on his children.
Robin and Faith came next – Faith made it to forty five which was still a record for Slayers at that stage. Not so much now. Amanda had lived to the ripe old age of ninety two; Cara to the age of ninety five. Faith and Robin were actually on the way to the local Registry Office to get married. She had even roped Andrew in as her Witness... Their car had been motoring along happily when a drunk driver had careened into them, killing Faith instantly. Robin lasted long enough for the ambulance to get there but died before they could even open the car door. Andrew was in Intensive Care for eleven months after that but even after all his hard work, still needed a walking stick to move around. He gracefully retired to a vineyard in France – Dawn had received the occasional email from him until his passing two years ago.
Willow and Tara... well, who knew? They were possibly the next to die, possibly not: They had just finished a spell to bring Cordelia back to them – the Slayer with them had reported that one moment they were there, recovering from the effects of the spell, the next they weren't... Dawn had checked through the spell and the ingredients used but there was nothing in either that should have caused them to vanish like that. She liked to think that they were alive still, somewhere...
They lost Gunn and about a hundred Slayers during Angel's fight with Wolfram and Hart but as sad as that was, they all knew that the casualties could have been far worse – but the sheer number of Slayers against them was enough for the company to beat a retreat. She supposed they would be back in a few hundred years or so but for now, that threat was gone.
Fred and Wesley had quit after that – they still helped with research if necessary but they never went back into the field. They lived into their eighties – Fred died peacefully in her sleep and after she was gone, Wesley just seemed to fade away before their eyes. It seemed that he was happy enough just to be going to his love once more.
Miraculously Cordelia and Angel had a child together... This time, he actually got to raise her along with Cordelia – no one came along to whisk Rachel away to some hell dimension, which was nice. For a while Buffy seemed more than a little put out about that and Spike had been huffy but then she admitted it was because they had a child rather than the fact it put Angel out of reach and everything was okay once more. Connor and his half-sister Rachel never really hit it off. Probably because Rachel never really got past that bratty stage that Cordelia herself had gone through so many years ago. Cordelia too, had died peacefully in her sleep. As for Angel... who knew? Dawn still heard tales from different parts of the world of a dark-haired brooding type appearing out of nowhere to save someone or other when all other hope was gone. She liked to think it was him, doing what he could. Unlike Connor, Rachel was only flesh and blood. She had died of breast cancer at the age of sixty one.
The next week, she had had to attend Xander's funeral. Fortunately she had been with him in the last week. In the brief space of time when it was just her and him in the room, she he had been able to tell him that she loved him still, that she probably always would. He had opened his eyes and looked at her for a moment, a faint smile coming to his lips... and then he had slipped into a coma. It had been a further two days before the doctors recommended switching off the life support. Dawn had pushed her grief to the back of her mind for the next six months, doing what she could to help his children and their children cope with his loss. The moment that Spike finally made it back though, six months later, she had broken down. His presence had been comforting even if he couldn't stay long – he had to get back to Buffy who was sick also. It was nothing short of a miracle really, that Buffy had lived so long and so well, and was going to die of old age. Not that it felt that way at the time – not for Dawn and most definitely not for Spike. She supposed there might be some comfort in the fact that Buffy died two days after Xander – it meant that she wouldn't be on her own in Heaven.
Spike of course, had gone out in a blaze of glory just two days ago, fighting a demon horde in China. Single-handed naturally! He had almost survived it. Almost. If the Slayers dispatched there to help had arrived half an hour earlier, he probably would have. Then again, perhaps it was just Spike's time...
Dawn heard a noise behind her and straightened up, turned and smiled faintly at Connor as he appeared behind her. "Just you and me now, I guess."
Connor nodded. "Well, and an army of Slayers... but I get your point." He sighed. "You ready?"
Dawn nodded and moved towards him and the two headed down to the ground to make their way back to Sunnydale for the last time... it seemed only fitting to hold Spike's memorial service as close to the town as possible.
Dawn swallowed hard as she stood up. All eyes were on her – human, vampire and demon – and it made her uncomfortable but she pushed the unease aside and smiled at those gathered before her. "Thank you all for coming here tonight – I'm sure that Spike or William the Bloody as some of you knew him..." She smiled faintly over at Halfrek for a moment. "...Would have been pleased to see so many of you here... regardless of whether you're here to honour his life or simply to ensure that he is dead!" She couldn't help but grin at that.
"Spike was a force of nature, one of the most amazing men that I ever knew – brave almost, to the point of stupidity but brave. Anybody lucky enough to have him in their corner during a fight didn't have too much to worry about. One of the happiest days of my life was when I found out that he and my sister were an item: I knew that he would never leave her side and they made a great team, didn't they?"
"Many thought that he would give up the moment that my sister breathed her last on this world but he kept on fighting, doing what he could to make the world a better place for all of us..."
Off to the side unseen by the group, Spike stood rolling his eyes. "Little Bit, it's time you stopped now. You're turning me into a Saint and that's just embarrassing." He sighed and shook his head. "Fairly certain that Saints have to die for a good reason. Mine was just stupid – those damned demons just... pushed my buttons, threatening you and the Slayers. Shoulda waited for backup. Now who's going to look after you all?"
Buffy appeared beside him, a smile on her face. "You know you don't need to worry about them, Spike. They're doing just fine."
The blonde ghost jumped a little, surprised. He didn't turn around to look even though he badly wanted to. "Buffy?"
The ghostly female frowned. Why wasn't he turning around to look at her? It felt like years since she had saw him last – well, it was years since she had saw him in the 'flesh' rather than just watching him from some weird sort of portal thing in the Heavenly dimension that she now called home. "Spike..?" With a sigh she moved to stand in front of him and smiled brightly at him. "I missed you." Before the ex-vampire could utter a word, he was glomped. There was no other word for it. He almost felt like crying as he realised it truly was his Buffy. He wrapped his arms around her and clung for a moment before he was soundly kissed.
When the woman finally peeled back from her lover enough to look at him, it took a few moments for Spike to regain the powers of speech. "I didn't think I'd ever see you again."
Buffy could only roll her eyes for a moment. "Oh please – like you're going anywhere but to Heaven with me! You know I'd kick up a helluva fuss if they didn't grant you access. Now come on – it's time to go see everyone again. Well, almost everyone – Angel's still off fighting that good fight... but Mom has Cocoa waiting for you." She dragged him off and Spike had to laugh a little as he realised that she might now be a ghost or an Angel but she was still every bit as strong as she had been, all those years ago when she had actually been the age she looked now. "I'd hate to keep her waiting... what's with the smirk, love?"
Buffy's smirk turned into a very deeply amused grin. "Oh, she's not sitting just waiting for you – her and your Mum have been VERY busy."
She smiled up at him and it took Spike a moment or two to realise that he was no longer standing on the ground – he was in fact, soaring upwards and away from the world...
Dawn looked at Connor in the Dawn light. They both sat at the edge of Sunnydale, their legs dangling into the crater that remained. "Did you bring it?"
Connor nodded and reached behind him and after a moment, he held up the custom-made sign that said 'Welcome to Sunnydale'. He passed it over with a smile. Dawn grinned as she took it, looked at it for a moment, nodded and threw it into the crater. "See ya, Spike – take care of Buffy for me... and tell Mom I love her."
Spike heard that and smiled. "Will do, Little Bit."
Dawn shivered a little as she looked over at Connor. Just for a moment, she had thought she heard Spike... her automatic reaction was to dismiss the notion. Then again, this was Sunnydale so why not? She smiled and stood and looked at Connor. "So what now?"
Connor smiled and took her hand. "I figure we should go see how Cleveland's doing?"
Dawn groaned. "Not fair – don't you know the saying 'all work and no play makes Connor a dull boyfriend'?"
Connor laughed out loud at that. "Not one I'm familiar with but I can see your point... how about we go to Brazil again? You haven't been there in a while, have you?"
The woman's eyes sparkled at the thought. "I like your thinking. Much better." She leaned over and placed a kiss on his lips. "Let's go."
eieio eieio eieio eieio
A/N: I'd originally intended to put Dawn's scene into the final battle in Sunnydale but it just seemed like there was so much going on already. I had also considered making it a separate story in its own right but in the end, this seemed more sensible.
A/N1: Again, thank you to anyone who took the time to read, review, favourite and/or follow. And thank you for the kind words and helpful comments pointing out my very silly/obvious mistakes.
A/N2: It took me a while but I completed it! I feel so proud. :D Longest story I've actually managed to get down in black and white, rather than just in my head (written on my own, at any rate).