Takes place five years post Chosen. Buffy is having trouble knowing she isn't needed now that the Watcher's Council is basically back up and running with thousands of slayers at their disposal. She struggles with the fact that her baby sister is getting more of a shot at a normal life than she is. But does Buffy even want to be normal?
Buffy sat on the roof looking out into the night sky, deep in thought as to how her life got to this point. For the first time in years she'd been able to not think about vampires, demons, and all the other creatures she'd been scared of as a child. She'd faced them, she'd slayed them, and she'd saved the world from them... more than once. And she'd died doing it... again, more than once. Now it was time for Buffy to just be herself. She'd been doing a lot of soul searching the past few months, trying to figure out exactly who she was and where her demon-free life was headed. She'd never really had a chance before to think ahead to her future, but now she was looking at the possibility of being a 'normal girl' and that scared her more than any demon she'd ever faced.
The sound of somebody joining her on the roof broke her train of thought. "Hey, Buff, whatcha doing?" asked Xander.
"Oh hey, uh, just thinking, looking at the stars..." she replied, still sort of a million miles away, okay, maybe a thousand miles away.
"Hmmm, you seem to be doing a lot of that lately," he replied, scanning her features for any sort of sign that she was listening.
"Huh? Oh... yeah, kinda." Xander gently put a loving arm around his friend's shoulder and she laid her head on his chest and snuggled into him. "I can do anything now, Xan, and it scares me." She snuggled closer to him.
Xander paused a moment at the honesty he was getting from his usually closed off friend. "So let me get this straight... vampires, demons, and apocalypses don't faze you, but the prospect of being normal does?"
She lifted her head and looked up at Xander. He seemed to have aged dramatically since he got the eye patch. Maybe it was the loss of his eye or the loss of the love of his life that made him seem older. After a moment she replied, "I've never been a normal girl, Xander, not since I was called... well almost once, but what if I can't be normal? What if I just can't break out of the slayage? What if this is all I'm meant to be? A demon killer?"
"That's a whole pile of 'what ifs,' Buffy."
"Welcome to my brain," she giggled.
"You've got graduation syndrome," smiled Xander.
"You know, when you're just about to finish high school and you're all what am I going to do with my life, what do I wanna be, where do I see myself in ten years? You kinda went through that, but now you're completely free of the burden that was dumped on you all those years ago, and now you feel kind of lost, but it does get easier."
"Xander Harris, when did you get so insightful?" she asked, hugging him.
"Maybe when I lost the eye..."
Buffy squeezed Xander tightly, but their embrace was cut short by the sound of Dawn shrieking. Instantly on full alert, Buffy and Xander scrambled through the window and ran downstairs.
Once in the living room, they found Dawn still shrieking on the couch with Willow and Giles staring at her and looking puzzled. "What's wrong?" asked Buffy immediately as she scanned the room for threats.
"We don't know, she's been like this ever since she walked through the door. I think she's broken," said Willow, frowning.
"Could something have done this, Giles? A demon? Or something?" asked Xander with his voice full of worry.
"Uh... I shall have to consult my books," said Giles, taking off his glasses and cleaning them.
"Whatever you have to do, do it fast, who knows what evil we're facing? And who knows how long my eardrums will hold up before that noise shatters them," said Buffy with a huge resolve face, just as Dawn finally stopped her shrieking.
Buffy sat next to her sister and gently pushed her hair back as she looked her over closely. "Dawnie, what happened? Are you hurt?"
After a long pause Dawn smiled brightly. "It's Jordan," she said simply.
"What, is he a demon? Cuz you know, sweetie, we've all been there," smiled Xander.
"Hey! It was a phase! That I'm totally over!" said Buffy with a guarded tone.
"No, he's not a demon, he... Well, I don't know how to say this but, he asked me to marry him and I said yes!" squealed Dawn as she waved her left hand, showing off the diamond that sat on her finger.
"What?" gasped Buffy, not quite believing her little sister had a rock on her finger.
"That's uh... great?" Xander said, not entirely convinced of the words that came out of his mouth.
"I know you guys are wigged out, but this is good news," smiled Dawn.
Out of nowhere Buffy burst out laughing hysterically. "Okay... maybe Buffy's broken," said Willow, looking curiously at her best friend.
"It's a spell! Remember when Spike and I got engaged?" asked Buffy.
"I've tried very hard to repress that memory, Buffy. I can still hear the smacking," said Giles, taking off his glasses to clean them once more.
"God, Buffy! Not everything leads back to you and what you went through! And in case you haven't noticed, I'm nothing like you!" bellowed Dawn as she leapt up off the couch and barrelled up the stairs.
"Wow. Dawnie hasn't stormed up those stairs in like forever," said Willow, taking a seat next to Buffy.
"I kinda miss the stomping klutzy klepto teen. So much easier to deal with than an adult stomping bride to be," huffed Buffy.
"So we're going with no spell?" asked Xander.
"Nah, I think this is the real deal, Xan, and you know what that means... ugly bridesmaid's dresses and tuxedos at the ready," sighed Buffy.
Between a hellhound prom, a change-into-your-costume Halloween, and Xander and Anya's not-a-wedding, Buffy was tired of formalwear, but this was her sister, and it was a part of normal life. In fact, it was about as normal as normal got. 'Why does that word always have to pop up in everyday conversation?' Buffy asked herself.
"I'd better go talk to her," said Buffy, leaving the living room and making her way upstairs.
Dawn sat on the edge of her bed admiring the ring that sat on the third finger of her left hand. It captivated her. She never in her wildest dreams thought that she'd be getting married. Of course, as a child she'd spent hours planning her wedding. 'Another neat little memory the monks made,' she thought.
Buffy tapped lightly on the door then entered. "I'm sorry, Dawnie, it was just a shock, y'know? It's not every day your little sister gets engaged," she said, quietly making her way to sit next to Dawn.
"I knew you'd freak," said Dawn coldly.
"But you're not sorry, Buffy, and you're not truly happy for me," huffed Dawn.
"No..." Dawn turned toward her, startled. "I'm not happy for you, Dawnie, I'm ecstatic for you. And maybe I even envy you a little, but hey, that's sibling rivalry," smiled Buffy, running her fingers through Dawn's long brown locks.
"You're okay with this? Really?" asked Dawn cautiously.
"Yeah, I am, just kinda sad Mom isn't here to see this, but I'm happy for you. Really. Jordan's a good guy, he's smart, he's handsome, and he'll protect you," smiled Buffy.
Dawn had been dating Jordan for the last year; they'd met at college during orientation and had been inseparable ever since. He hadn't even freaked out too much when brought face to face with his first vampire, which Dawn had had the misfortune of having to stake right in front of him. And thus began a life of supernatural happenings for Jordan. After the first initial shock of finding out that everything he'd always thought of as a myth or horror story was actually real, he'd decided he wanted to be a part of the team and he and Dawn had begun training to be Watchers together.
"I know, I wish she were here too. Do you think she would've liked him?" Dawn asked with her eyes full of unshed tears.
"Yeah, she would've, and hey... she didn't like Angel, and she liked Spike, so we know her judgement was good," Buffy giggled.
"Any word from him yet?" asked Dawn.
Buffy knew who she was talking about... Spike. He'd given his life for her mission, probably the most selfless thing he'd ever done... unless he'd done it to get in Buffy's good books again, in which case it was totally selfish. Either way, he was a hero. Buffy often thought about the last time she'd seen him. Their hands engulfed in flames, the pain so close to pleasure. Her eyes had been tearful. She knew he was dying... burning from the inside out... and she knew that this was her last chance to make things right between them. So she'd told him what was in her heart.
"I love you."
"No you don't, but thanks for saying it," he replied with a soft tone, one she'd never heard before.
She had meant it, with her very heart and soul. And at that last moment, she'd wondered why he hadn't believed her. That pained her probably more than losing him, the fact that he hadn't believed her confession of love.
She'd spent days, weeks, and even months replaying it over in her head. Becoming more and more upset that she hadn't been able to convince him of her love, and that she couldn't get his stubborn ass out of the hell mouth so he could be with her. Then six months later, the news had come. He was alive... well, as alive as he got... and living with Angel in LA. At first, she'd wanted to go to him, but she'd had a change of heart. Maybe this was how things were supposed to be. And the one thing that still sent stabbing pains through her heart... maybe he didn't love her as much as he thought.
"Uh no. I gave up on that little fairy tale ending a long time ago, Dawnie. He's not coming back," Buffy said with a pained smile on her face.
"Stranger things have happened, Buffy. And we're usually right in the middle of it when they do."