lynzie914: (btvs - dawn)
[personal profile] lynzie914
fic: I rose from my own ashes
fandom: btvs (with a hint of ats)
characters: dawn centric; but also buffy, faith, spike, giles, angel and gunn (possibly some mentions of others
rating: pg (for mentions/experiences of death, but nothing graphic, just mentions of blood really and scars.)
summary: dawn does not remember falling. but she must have. (set after btvs/ats finales but there was no intentional following of comics/their canon. this is what my brain came up with on its own.)
a/n: for my sept meme and the awesome [livejournal.com profile] tenshinrtaiga
and her prompt (seen below). I hope this is even something like what you wanted. Or you like it anyways even if its not. :D




we have a new destiny
and I made them listen
with small fingers and sharp knives
I have been dipped in kerosene and shot
onto a funeral pyre
I have burned and set out to sea
I rose from my own ashes again
and again
and again



Dawn remembers fire, smoke seeping into her lungs as she fought. She remembers the feelings of the sword in her hand as she cut and swung and stabbed until green heads were rolling on the ground. She remembers the smell of burnt flesh and the slight realization that it was her own and ow, that would hurt later, and she remembers blood.

Hazily she remembers a fist through her stomach from behind. The taste of blood in her mouth and the sound of it drip, drip, dripping to the ground beneath her.

Dawn does not remember falling.

But she must of.

Buffy sits beside her, Dawn sprawled out on a bed, her body broken and cold, no longer breathing.

She repeats the words ‘no, no, no, no’ and people have given up on trying to comfort her, trying to pull her away, trying anything at all. They stay in the room and watch the broken hearted scene anyways.

Dawn does not hear her sister’s words.

Instead she replays the last moments of her life over and over again. As if someone was trying to show her what she did wrong. How to change things the next time. How to become better. Stronger. Faster.

Though that wasn’t really supposed to be her thing.

But then, she was a Summers’ woman, following in the footsteps of those before her, dying too young. Dying. Blood dripping and a lifeless body on a bed she could not see as she left her family to cry alone.

Summers’ women were all alone in the end.


--


Tears kept falling onto Dawn’s body, but none of them seemed to clean up the mess that Buffy had made. None of them brought back the baby sister she had been given. And she had been given her, promised her, made to protect her.

And she hadn’t.

Buffy had failed.

She was no longer the only Slayer, no longer the only one with the weight of that on her shoulders. So yes, she had one job, one job. To protect her baby sister, to protect the key, to protect Dawn; and she had failed.

She had failed miserably.

Another tear fell and she couldn’t see anything in the blur of those left to fall.

“Buff,” Faith says from behind her, her voice slightly urgent and confused. Not at all like Giles or anyone else when they tried to pull her away from the broken body in front of her.

“Buffy, I think you should let go of her hand.” Faith says, her voice cautious.

She turns around and glares at the other Slayer.

“Buffy—” Giles says and she hates him, she hates him, she hates him.

And suddenly Faith is behind her pulling her away and out of her chair, and Buffy tries to break free, but Faith it determined and Buffy is still on the battlefield watching her sister fall.

“Stop, I need—”

“Look!” Faith shakes Buffy’s whole body as she forces her to look at Dawn’s body.

Only it was getting harder and harder to see.

A green energy was surrounding it. Something crackling and darker in different places, circling Dawn’s body. There was a raw power about it. Buffy could feel it. Faith too, she could feel how dark it was, how it was in control now, damn the rest of them.

“No,” Buffy whispers realizing all the same things. “No, you can’t have her back.”

She pushes forward, like she can fight it, it only crackles more intensely as if it feels Buffy’s presence and Faith pulls her back further until her own back is hitting the wall.

“No, B,” Faith says, her voice soft (her voice is never supposed to be soft), “You can’t.”


--


Dawn falls out of the images of her demise.

Still the observer, but she can feel the heat around her, feel something different in the air, different in her.

She rises in the air, higher and higher, and she can see everything. She can see galaxies, she can see suns, planets, stars, comets that whip past her. And she can hear life, she can hear people, can hear demons, can hear gods whispering to one another. She can hear the birds and tiny little butterflies fluttering their wings and how on another planet a sandstorm begins.

Dawn rises higher, her body arching.

She watches as one of the suns goes out.

No flash, no bang, just silence as it disappears, crumbling in on itself. For a few moments it still pushes out the light, just dimmer, but then even that is gone.

One by one the planets, the stars, the comets in orbit around something that is no longer there, they crumble. Into pieces that break, becoming smaller and smaller as the fall.

Dawn reaches out her hand and she feels them passing through her hands. It’s like sand. So much she can almost feel the cuts that each little piece leaves behind. She tries to hold onto it, to hold onto something.

It ends up slipping through her fingers anyways.


--


Dawn wakes up with a gasp, inhaling air and filling up empty lungs, and jerks forward in the bed she vaguely remembers someone laying her upon in the back of her mind.

She glances to her left and sees Buffy in a chair, asleep, close enough to reach out and touch her but not right next to her. Faith is on the floor asleep too, her head resting on one of Dawn’s to go bags which can’t at all be comfortable considering the weapons in there.

Dawn hears a shift on the wooden floor and she whips her head forward, sees Giles and Spike there, standing now. She has only seen Spike looked so relieved before and he didn’t have a soul then.

She understands though.

She had the same look on her face when she saw Buffy again. When she saw him years later.

Dawn takes another deep breath, and places a finger over her lips. (She can feel it crackle with energy but pretends she doesn’t.) She nods to the sleeping Slayers before nodding towards the door.

The two men seem to understand and shuffle out of the room making as little noise as possible. Dawn follows, gliding almost, and she pushes down on the healed hole in her chest only to feel a clawing of pain (not a ghost pain) just to make sure she really is still somehow alive.

(Not somehow though, not really.

They all know how she’s here. Why she’s still there.)


--


Spike hugs her, decorum be damned, and well, the world be damned because, well, it’s Spike. But there’s another crackle of energy that sends him yelping away.

“Sorry,” Dawn shrugs with an apologetic little smile.

“You should probably stay away too,” She tells Giles, “I think I’m still…mystically charged.”

“You remember that?” Giles asks.

“I—Kind of.” She shrugs again, “I wasn’t here but I don’t think I went anywhere either. I think…I think I was lost in memories.”

“Of your life? Like it flashing you by or something? That actually happens to people?” Spike asks. “When I died I didn’t see my life, either time. I just thought ‘well that hurts’.”

“No, I mean not like you think,” Dawn says.

Green flashes behind her eyes and she looks at them both determinedly.

“I didn’t remember Dawn Summers’ life, I remembered what she was before,” She says, “What I was before. Before the monks and Glory and all that. I remembered being something entirely different.”

“Green energy surrounded you, strong mystical energy,” Giles says, “It’s what brought you back to life.”

“I know…”

“So, what does that mean?” Spike’s asks.

Dawn shares a look with Giles, one that is usually reserved for him and Buffy, and he lets out a deep breath.

“That’s something that we’ll have to find out.” Giles says instead of the truth.


--


Buffy bans her from going out on missions after that.

After the hugging and spending all her time with Dawn and how she keeps finding different ways to touch her sister, to just remind herself that she’s still there.

But going out again, fighting again. Buffy isn’t willing to risk it. She’s worried that there won’t be a second miracle or a third or a fifth. Buffy wasn’t lucky enough for that. When she lost things it was permanent.

And she would not lose Dawn.

So Dawn decides to give her a year. She chops off half her hair leaving it just at her shoulders instead of down to her waist. And she buries herself in books and studying demon languages and dead languages that the books they need sometimes use. She’s fluent in all of the ones she’s studied by the end of the year.

She learns a little magic too. But she doesn’t tell anyone that.

Dawn draws from the crackling energy around her and bends the world around to her will.

(Even Willow can’t tell what she’s done when she sees her, just knows that she’s different now.

But everyone seems to know that now.)


--


Dawn had given her sister a year, happy to bury herself into what would have been a normal college life if it wasn’t for all the demon information she had in her head. But a year was more than enough.

And she wasn’t taking no for an answer with her sister, when she told her she was going back out into the field.

(It wasn’t like she hadn’t been patrolling for vampires practically every night since the ban had become. Buffy had just had too much responsibility going on to notice Dawn wasn’t in her room or buried in a book somewhere.)

Buffy had pushed but Dawn had pushed back harder and she had other people on her side. People that Buffy had thought would side with her. (Spike, Giles.)

Her first jobs were small and close to home and always with another Slayer there, if not Buffy there herself. But they got bigger as Buffy got busier and things continued not to slow down.

Evil was a part of life. A necessary one despite their fight against it. The world needed a balance. Maybe not a perfect evenness, but something close. The world needed the choice. No matter how much any of them hated it.

Dawn goes out on a mission with Angel and a member of his old team Gunn that she remembers meeting a few times before.

Angel knew all about her, about what had happened. And it seemed like Gunn knew enough and was kind enough not to ask for parlor tricks unlike others. Mostly they were just spare pieces that were available to wipe out a nest of bad ugly things.

And they could all agree on that. Key, human and vampire.


--


Dawn dies with a sword through her chest. Angel catches her from behind her and despite everything he knows, he still tries to stop the bleeding, tries to make it all okay (when its clearly not). He stays with her until Gunn’s cries for some help with the hell beasts is heard over all the other noise.

He lays Dawn gently down on the ground and she can feel it when her eyes glaze over and death (temporarily) takes over.

She watches the fight from the sideline, her vision blurring green at the edges, Angel and Gunn move agilely as they fight the demons. And it’s apparent to her that they have fought together for years, the trust they have in one another, the ways they move.

The two, all that remains of what used to be a team.

A demon gets too close to Gunn and Dawn yells out. His head jerks up looking in her direction but not seeing anything before his sword is turned and thrust backwards connecting with the demon she had seen.

It screams an unnatural scream and Dawn disappears again.

There is screaming around her, as planets, as universes, as phases and realities crumble around her. Crumble into each other. Humans, demons, and gods even, the core of each planet screaming out as it crumbles from within.

And it does crumble.

Down, down, down.

Until nothing is left but a blank slate.

Dawn wonders if this is the cost of her life. If the green energy only takes, and never gives for free. She wonders if she is doing this.

And then she is pulled backwards, forwards, and she sucks in a gasp of breath still on the dirty ground Angel had left her on. She doesn’t have time to wonder anymore, to contemplate or feel guilty.

All around her, the fighting is still happening, and when she looks down she can see dried blood and the rip in her shirt where the swords had gone through. But all was left was a scar. (That if it was anything like the last one, would disappear eventually too.)

Standing up, feeling the crackling energy at her finger tips, Dawn picked up the sword that had killed her and threw herself back into the fight.

Dawn killed more than Gunn and Angel combined that night.


--


“Buffy can’t know about this.” Dawn says pulling on a new shirt.

They were all sharing one hotel room, the mission not meant to be long, and Angel would be sleeping while she and Gunn were awake. And well modesty had gone out of the window for Dawn a long time ago.

(Normalcy had gone first.

Then hope for a semi-normal family.

Then hope that she really was human and not a key.

And then of course mortality.

Those were the big ones at least.)

“Your sister needs to know about this,” Angel says.

Gunn is across the room cleaning weapons and ignoring the conversation like Dawn hasn’t just come back from the dead. Apparently it wasn’t entirely a first for him. And he had heard about Buffy.

“Why?” Dawn asks seriously. “It didn’t last nearly as long as last time and all it will do is scare and distract her. She has enough to deal with without adding me to the list.”

“You came back this time, what says you get to come back again?” Angel asks but the words are flat.

“I think we both know the answer to that.”

“Dawn…”

“When did we last see each other?”

“Five years ago.”

“And I look exactly the same, don’t I?” Dawn asks. States.

“Well, your hair is different…”

Gunn does look up at them, starting to pay attention.

“This energy inside of me, what I am, what I’m made of, it’s finally started to show itself.” Dawn says, “It’s over two thousand years old and that makes me just as old. It makes some part of me just as powerful and permanent.”

“You mean immortal.” Gunn says from his corner of the room.

“Yes,” Dawn says glancing over at him and then back to Angel who looks pained at the thought.

“What? You thought you were the only one with eternity to contemplate your sins? Didn’t Spike kind of kill that idea for you?”

“She’s got you there.” Gunn adds, going back to cleaning an axe he seemed to favor. It hadn’t even been used in the fight.

“Spike is different. I’m different. Neither of us are actually immortal—”

“Well, I’m pretty sure I am.” Dawn says, drawing up her chin, “So I’m hoping Spike at least figures out how to not die, because I’d really not like to live through all of this alone.”

She pushes past him, energy hitting him and making him hiss, and heads towards the door and into the night. Dawn had just come back to life and had rid the world of some evil. She deserved some tequila at least.


--


Angel doesn’t tell Buffy, though he does tell Spike which Dawn thinks is cheating. But Spike keeps his mouth shut on the Buffy front. Though she catches him whispering with Giles sometimes. Or not so much whispering with Angel and its clear Dawn is the subject matter.

Mostly with her, he just sits her hand on her knee and tells her it all work itself out. Sometimes it’s more convincing than others. But Dawn likes when he talks about the places they’ll go in the future, the things he’ll show her, even if they are all ‘bloody different now’.

Those moments make her smile.

She dies three more times after that without Buffy finding out, coming back quicker and quicker each time. The people around her, fighting with her, don’t seem to notice. Or if they do, they don’t bring it up. At least not to her. And considering Buffy hasn’t locked her up in a tower somewhere, they haven’t brought up to Buffy either.

Sometimes she thinks Giles stares a little too long though. So as “Head Watcher”, he might have been the one to get told the news of freaky little Dawn Summers.

After her fifth death, she gives Buffy another year. Trying to spend as much time with her as possible as she buries herself in books like she did before. She tells her sister that she’s bored with fighting for now.

It’s a lie of course.

But it lets her follow Buffy across the globe, her books in her bags, and spend her time with her sister. Because the thing about realizing you’re immortal, is realizing that you’re going to lose everyone you love eventually.

Summers’ women always lose the people they love. It’s the real curse of the family, nothing supernatural or wonky about it.

Summers’ women always lose.

Dawn’s surprised it’s taken her all these years to really understand that.


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