All Roads Lead To Rome – Chapter 14 - And The World Tilts
In shock, Dawn lets the receiver drop from numb fingers. Silent tears flow from eyes that stare sightlessly unaware as her legs give way and she crumples to the floor. Her shoulders shake from the force of the violent sobs she can no longer contain.
She’s alone in the room she uses when she’s doing research for the new Council. It’s Spartan in appearance, containing a bed, a dresser, mirror, night stand and lamp and a bookcase; nothing that marks it as hers. Well, except for a few pictures. One of Buffy and one of the three Summers women, a copy made from a photo Giles had kept in his home in Bath. From before. Before everything went to hell.
Before the Hellmouth closed and Spike died.
Except - it’s all changed now. In just one moment – one phone call – Dawn’s world has shifted. She isn’t really shocked by Spike’s return. After all, Buffy had died and come back. True, her sister had been miserable about it; she’d been pulled out of heaven and all, but she’d adjusted. Eventually.
It’s just that with Spike – well, there are just so many things to think about, now. After what happened between him and Buffy – the whole rape/not rape issue that Xander had made sure to tell her under the very worst of circumstances – she’d been so livid. So unwilling to even hear what he had to say when he reappeared in her life. Really, she’d thought there were no excuses, so she refused to listen.
Oh, and there were his insanity issues and the First, the Turok-han, his kidnapping by the Bringers and his rescue, at Buffy’s insistence. Dawn puts her head in her hands, as if to try and stop her brain from exploding with all the events that marked the last few weeks of Sunnydale. Open the memory closet, and it all comes pouring out – unstoppable.
All those Potentials crammed into their little house on Revello Drive. Spike shoved into the basement, usually manacled to the wall, Xander and Willow and Anya and Andrew; it had been like a freaking zoo! Giles’ return, Principal Woods’ involvement, and Faith, who had tried to kill Buffy several times. One house, very divisible.
She sighs as she remembers that the only time she spent in Spike’s company, was the de-triggering attempt with the Prokaryote stone. Got her head almost caved in for her troubles when the agitated vampire sent his cot flying in her direction. An accident, yeah, but she never sought him out to talk; to try and clear the air between them.
And who could forget the lovely collaboration by Murder, Inc.? Principal Wood, son of Nikki Wood, the Slayer Spike had killed in New York – so he had personal issues. Giles thinking the vampire couldn’t be trusted not to murder them all in their beds for more reasons than the trigger and newly de-chipped state. Gods, Buffy had been infuriated when she found out about it.
Dawn gets up from the floor and throws herself on her bed. One good stretch to unkink her long legs from the time spent sprawled on the floor. She tries to fall asleep, but the thoughts keep coming – one after the other.
She remembers the newly found closeness between her sister and the vampire and their estrangement from everybody else. It was always like that, as if Spike and everyone else repelled each other like magnetic poles. This time, everyone could see it. The potentials were divided between thinking it was awesome or freakish, Giles and the principal were just disgusted by it all, and Andrew? Heh, in Andrew’s eyes, Spike could do no wrong.
On that last day, in the high school – everybody’s nerves had been on edge. Dawn remembers the last time she’d seen Spike. He had been wearing that god-awful amulet from Angel and gone with Buffy and the potentials to the seal in the basement. She hadn’t been able to even wish him luck. Wouldn’t even say it to her own sister; she’d been too afraid. Final words and all.
In the end, she’d been silent. Too silent. The words stuck in her throat when Buffy told them all of Spike’s final death. How he’d insisted she leave and save herself and make sure the rest of them were safe before he’d dusted. How he’d saved the world. That left Dawn with no way to tell him she still cared, no way to even try to make things right with him.
She notices the tears have started again. Remembers the hopeful, loving glances when he thought she wasn’t looking. One good stare made him turn his head in shame. Wishes things had been different.
Dawn sits up abruptly, realizing that she has that chance after all. The phone call. She’d spoken to Buffy, who was with Spike. They were together. He was back, he missed her, he loved her and wanted to see her.
She wipes her eyes, draws a deep breath and forms a plan. She’ll clear it with either Giles or Andrew, and catch the first flight out to Los Angeles. No, wait… Spike asked her to wait for another phone call, until they had a place for her. Which meant she was still wanted, and she could live with that.
Dawn smiles. Soon she’ll have her little family back again.
Beta'd by willa_writes with love.