"Mommy!" called five year old Buffy Summers from downstairs in the Summers living room. The television was on playing cartoons that she wasn't really paying attention to. Instead, her attention was focussed on five Barbie dolls laid out in front of her, all in a perfectly straight line, a pile of clothes in a heap next to them. Buffy had a sixth doll in her hand and was combing its long golden blonde hair as best she could, although the brush kept getting stuck in its masses of knots.
Giving up and discarding the doll on the floor, she jumped up and walked towards the bottom of the staircase.
"Mommy!" she called again, hoping to get some response this time. Her mother always played with her, it was their special mother/daughter time. But right now Mrs Summers was having mother/daughter time with another member of the family. Buffy's newly arrived younger sister, Dawn Summers. For the past few weeks since Dawn was born, Buffy had felt extremely lonely. Her father had been working and all her mothers time was spent looking after the baby, the new favourite.
Upon receiving no response from her mother, Buffy made her way up the large flight of stairs. Finally, when she had reached the top, she pushed open the door to her mothers' room where Dawn's crib was kept and peered inside.
She saw her mother, looking exhausted with rings under her eyes, lying on her bed fast asleep. Buffy walked towards her, standing beside the bed and watching her mothers face, strained yet peaceful at the same time. Her mother needed rest and so Buffy walked over to Dawn's crib, jumping to try and see over the top of it. In the end she relented and settled for standing on a chair.
The little girl was on her back, staring up at Buffy with her wide blue eyes. She looked confused and Buffy wondered why she wasn't crying. Isn't that what babies do? Cry all the time or something. And besides, Dawn had been doing a lot of crying of the last few days. But for the moment she lay there, innocent, adorable and silent. Buffy smiled down at her, unable to hold the resentment that had been forming downstairs. Her mother had to take care of Dawn, and Buffy could take care of herself—she was a big girl now.
Buffy slowly, so as not to fall, stepped down from her chair pushing it back against the wall where she had found it. Then she walked across to the window, shutting the pink, lacy curtains so as to let her mother and baby sister rest. Feeling very grown up indeed, she turned away from the window so that she was watching her mother lying on her bed. She leaned forward to give her a kiss on the cheek when…BAM!
She had knocked her mothers' glass vase that she kept on her bedside table off onto the floor. Buffy held her breath for a moment, certain it was going to crack into a million pieces. It didn't. The noise hadn't been loud enough to wake her mother but it had been enough to startle Dawn, who began to cry immediately.
Looking back at her sleeping mother, Buffy panicked, not quite sure what to do. She reminded herself that she was a big girl, she was grown up and she could fix this. Quickly she picked up the vase, put it back on the table and rushed to Dawn's crib before remembering that she wasn't tall enough to reach it.
She pushed the chair back towards the crib in a rush, stood up on it and reached inside, only just managing to keep a tight hold of Dawn as she lifted her out. It was shocking that she was even able to.
Once Dawn was safely in Buffy's arms, well relatively safe depending on how much faith you put in a five year old girl carrying her newly born sister down a flight of stairs, she sat down on the couch in the living room—rocking her backwards and forwards.
"Hi, Dawn" she said, listening as Dawn's wails subsided and she became innocent and bright eyed again. "It's your big sister, Buffy". Buffy nodded importantly, smiling down at the little girl. She felt grown-up, special. She was taking care of her little sister for her mom—she could help, just like her mother had said when they had brought Dawn home from the hospital. Buffy had asked if she could take care of Dawn sometimes and here she was, doing just that.
It seemed like hours went by as Buffy looked after Dawn. She played games with her, cuddled her and even attempted to feed her a bottle of milk from the fridge. When that didn't work out, she went back to the fun stuff. In reality though, it was only really half an hour before Joyce came walking down the stairs looking rested and ready to wear herself out once again.
"Buffy?" she asked, seeing her eldest daughter on the floor showing her baby daughter her dolls. "What are you doing?".
Buffy grinned up at her mother, a huge grin.
"I'm taking care of her, like you said I could" she said, bouncing Dawn up and down a little too fiercely. Dawn looked a little green. Joyce moved quickly forward, smiling at Buffy as she took Dawn from her arms.
Well, nothing was broken and Dawn seemed perfectly fine, despite the off colouring.
"So you are"