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Fic: Untitled (post- The Gift; the "Goodbye to This (and Hello to Oblivion)" & "Lilies" Remix)

Sunnydale Memorial Fanfic Awards, Round 27 Nominee: Best Angst, Best Characterization, Best Gen Fic, Best Quickie
Runner-Up, Best Angst (Gen)

Absence of Light Awards, Round 4 Nominee: Best Drabble, Best Author; Runner-Up, Best Drabble.  Judge's Comments: "I really like how this is AU, but doesn't feel like one. It easily seems to fit in with the rest of Buffyverse. The characterization was spot on, and it was well written."


A remix / mash-up of brutti_ma_buoni's   "Goodbye to All of This (And Hello to Oblivion)"  and snowpuppies "Lilies";  both AU-post The Gift.

Warnings: Off-Screen Character Death (Duh), and A Whole Lotta Angst
Rating: General Audience
Gen: Buffy, Willow, Giles
Word Count: 644

[But you're here for the fic. Are you seated comfortably?]

"Dawn...Dawnie? Is she..."  Her throat is constricted, lips so dry she barely pushes the words out. The doctor frowns slightly.

Buffy knows it's a stupid question, but she has to ask.  Maybe, maybe she was wrong.  She'd convince herself it was all a bad dream, if she weren't lying in a hospital bed, every inch of her body in pain despite the meds and slayer healing. Not screaming pain anymore, not now, it's a dull ache...

The doctor merely stares down at her uncomprehendingly, absent-mindedly tapping a pen against the charts in her hand.

"Dawn," she repeats.  "My sister."

A ruffle of papers; the doctor peruses the chart.  "Joyce Summers, deceased...Hank Summers...No mention of any siblings."

The machines rasp around her, or maybe it's her own voice? "Dawn...She's my sister.  Dawn." She sounds like some sort of robot, she knows, like that stupid obscene sex toy Spike ordered.  The thoughts in her head are trying to make themselves heard but her tongue won't obey, didn't get the memo.

"It says here you're an only child, Buffy." The woman inclines her head, and there's a slight touch of - pity? - in her expression. "When you've had a chance to heal a bit, we can send down Dr Dyer to see you.  He's a psychiatrist on staff - would you like that? Buffy?"  Buffy turns her head toward the window as the doctor scribbles something in the chart, and murmurs something about "psych eval..."

She asks the same question later, slowly, clearly, so they'll understand; asks it of Willow, of Giles; gets the same uncomprehending expressions, more meaningless words in hushed tones that are meant to be soothing.

"Buffy, you never had a sister..."  Willow glances up at Giles, mouthing Should we call the doctor? as if Buffy can't see her.

Giles shakes his head and brushes his hand down her hair, gently. Her head throbs again, she doesn't complain. Can't.  Won't.

"Buffy, what you did today - you saved us all. Again."  He smiles at her fondly, proudly, even, the way he did in the car that night.  Before Jenny... "Try to get some rest now, my dear girl."

She turns her head away from his features, suddenly gone soft, away from Willow's concerned frown. Her neck aches, feels the impact with the concrete all over again, feels her body shatter.  Daylight pours in through the dust-coated window. She winces, remembers that portal, that ball of energy crackling white and blue, blinding, swallowing Dawnie, remembers diving in after her and then...nothing.  Everything. Searing pain. This. Hospital. Concerned faces, worried looks. Endless pain.

For nothing. Didn't save Dawn, didn't keep her promise to Mom ("She's precious...as precious to me as you are"). Buffy wishes her mom was here, is relieved she isn't. It's better that way, maybe. Mom would be disappointed in her. So disappointed.  But then she wouldn't remember either, would she?  Remember the promise Buffy made...

Oh Mommy, it hurts so much, so much...

That's it, she's done. She's given everything she had to give. Nothing left to her but a pile of dry bones.  She doesn't have a sister.  Never did.

The sun still shines in her eyes, shines on a world that gets to see another day, and doesn't give a damn. The world can go to Hell.

Buffy wishes she had let it.
Oh no! So much angst! Buffy's reaction is very IC, she wouldn't live without her sister. You actually make me feel happy about the jump in The Gift! :)
So am I a muse now? I like that idea... *ego swells*

I also love this idea - it flickered across my mind when I was writing, what if Buffy could remember Dawn but no one else could, but I didn't know where to go with it. And now you did, and it's amazing and devastating to Buffy. Great stuff.
Oh you like it? Well, you inspired it, so I don't feel like I did it, just received it, if that makes sense. (And I have no idea why, but it just made sense.)

On the other hand - you liked it! I'm grinning like a little kid on Christmas here- talk about ego swell! Thank you thank you!

I'd say you were a goddess, but Muse works too.
Poor Buffy! That really packed a punch. Nicely done :)
Thank you! You are all just making my day. Did you read BMB's original?

I don't know that I'll write another one, as this is the first time I'd been inspired to do so. (Well, there is a Buffy & Giles post-Chosen ficlet roaming in my head, so, maybe....)


Incredible, I'm so glad you've stepped into BtVS Fanfic with this gem. Lovely is lovely is angst. *rushes off to read rec*

ps: " fanficcing other fanfics. Which says absolutely nothing about my creativity - or rather, it does, and none of it good" is everything that is good about the Universe. I HAVE FEELINGS about this.
Thank you for reading it! I'm really tickled by the lovely reception this is getting, although - again I say - BMB's story inspired it, and this is meant as a drop-in or addition to her's.

I HAVE FEELINGS about this. Yes I see you crossed it out but I would love to hear your feelings on this. Feelings are of the good! I imagine you have interesting thoughts to bear?

Ouch. Buffy was very close indeed to severe clinical depression even before she died, so this makes total sense. Depressing as hell, though - but very powerful.

BMB's original story was an AU version I had never consider but made SO much sense to me and was so incredibly moving. And the late seasons are my favorites (5-7), because I identify with Buffy's depression a great deal, so I'm very glad that came across to you. She really had been depressed on some level since Prophecy Girl, hadn't she? Seven seasons of PTSD and does she get any real therapy? No, just "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going." Then again, who would a Slayer go to?
Oh, sweetie! That's terrific. Really heartbreaking, but not in a way that's absolutely final, you know? Very, very well done.

He smiles at her fondly, proudly, even, the way he did in the car that night. Before Jenny...

Nice callback. Also heartbreaking.

I love the closing line. I'm sort of never satisfied with my own fic unless I've got a decent punchline, so you get my vote for "satisfying"!

Now to other things: being inspired by other fanfic is not a bash on a person's creativity, I think. It's what happens in any creative community. Community members inspire each other to greater heights and to answer questions raised within the community. It's all part of the dialogue/discussion/thingie. I've had the same experience in communities of musicians, journalists and designers, comic creators, and now in the fic community. Certainly, it's important to have historical knowledge of the source material, and earlier attempts to deal with it, but the community is a HUGE part of most creative endeavors, from what I've seen. Occasionally, you'll get a solitary writer who didn't hang with other writers, but that's rare. So go ahead and own your part in the community! Bam! You're an artist! *throws confetti*

As for formatting: IDK. It's generally not necessary to have a paragraph indent these days, but you're spacing seems fine. It's a crapshoot, what comes out of a post. So helpful, I know. ;-)
Oh thank you! (I honestly didn't think anyone would actually read this.) This turned out twice as long as it was in my head, so I was worried. (It was originally just Buffy and the doctor, barely four lines or so. Giles and Willow popped in at the last minute.)

I'm so glad it worked for you. And getting compliments like from writers I admire? that's just priceless.

Really heartbreaking, but not in a way that's absolutely final, you know?

You know, that's exactly what I intended, because brutti_ma_buoni's story is very sad in that "final" way, and this was meant as a sliver of time before her story. I'm so happy that came across.

Nice callback. Also heartbreaking.

I loved Jenny so much.A mature woman, smart, sexy, a computer/tech teacher, not afraid to make the first move on a guy and express her desires - so of course, she HAD to die, right? And thus another chapter in the "Joss is not as much of a feminist as he thinks he really is" saga.

I love the closing line. I'm sort of never satisfied with my own fic unless I've got a decent punchline, so you get my vote for "satisfying"!

YAY! I'm over the moon here. That was another thing that wrote itself last minute, literally, and I waffled back and forth on it. I'm the same way with my fic writing, or I was when I wrote Moulin Rouge fic http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1465034/1/Fairy-Tale-No-Longer
in that last lines were very important to me. Particularly when writing something that was sad or dramatic; and more so with short fiction because you don't have "plot" to carry the story. that may be a carry-over from my days writing poetry in high school; every word in a poem has to carry weight.

being inspired by other fanfic is not a bash on a person's creativity, I think. It's what happens in any creative community. Community members inspire each other to greater heights and to answer questions raised within the community. It's all part of the dialogue/discussion/thingie.

Thank you for reminding me of that. the funny thing is, my sweetie is an artist (in addition to her day job), and I have constantly encouraged her to seek out other artists to paint with, get feedback from, and I'll remind her that artists have ALWAYS needed other artists to reach greater heights and inspiration - but then I forget it when it comes to myself. (William Blake said that his friend artist Henry Fuseli was "damned good to steal from". Obviously things were less complicated before copyright laws.) And fanficcing a fanfic is really no different, is it, than fanficcing a tv show, movie etc to begin with, is it? Except that in this instance I can say to the original author, hey, you've inspired me, ok if I post this?

I suspect it may be a shame/inferiority complex thing on my part. Claiming the words "artist" and "writer"? Still so HARD for me.

Bam! You're an artist! *throws confetti* *hugs* I love parties.

It's generally not necessary to have a paragraph indent these days, but you're spacing seems fine.

Yeah, the indent wasn't needed, that was a desperation move on my part. I actually had to redo the spacing three or more times to get it right, by making sure every section had twice as much space as I would have thought necessary. I'll figure this out at some point. I sometimes wonder if the template I chose makes a difference.

Hah! Thank you! I've been corrupted, there's no turning back now. (Literally. I woke up this morning with ficlet ideas pouring out of my ears. The earth is definitely doomed.)
Oh Wow, this is just gorgeous and angsty in all the best ways! I have a huge weakness for "what if" stories, and this one hits hard!
Thanks! I had never thought of it until I read BMB's story, and then it just popped in my head as perfectly logical - or at least as logical as anything that actually happens on that show, which is to say, not very much. :)

I love your icon btw - that's our girl. *hugs Buffy*
Oh, ouch, poor Buffy!

I never thought through what it would do to the monks' spell if Glory did succeed in using Dawn to open her portal. But yeah, that could be one outcome -- with the Key out of the world, and the reason for the spell gone, no more edited memories. For everyone except Buffy, who was so close when it happened, anyway.

So now Buffy's in a similar situation to Angel when he was the only one to remember Connor. Except that Dawn's not better off with a happy, normal family. Poor Buffy!
Oh I hadn't even thought of the parallel to Connor - but then again I've not watched AtS, only read about it. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

But then I actually feel a little guilty saying that; I felt guilty writing this, on some level. Am I torturing Buffy? (I rant about JW/ME/DH doing that. Any dif here?) Am I enjoying her pain just a little too much?

Lovely. Buffy's reaction is so wonderfully painful and I adore how you brought Joyce and her promise into things. :)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it, and that the painfulness is realistic too you (and hopefully not just angst for angst's sake?)

And I'm glad you noticed the promise to Joyce. I really love that about S5 (Joyce never got enough love on the show IMO). I don't know if you read my previous meta on the importance of Buffy's promise to Joyce to protect Dawn? It's rarely mentioned in fandom but for me it's a very important part of Buffy's motivation. And god knows Buffy's super-responsible - of course she would try to keep Joyce's dying wish. it just got mixed up with the other things going on in her head and heart at the time.

mcjulie wrote a very nice meta on the Gift and why Buffy's decision to save Dawn stems from the instinct she's displayed over and over in stopping apocalyses, knowing what the right decision is on a subconscious level, but not knowing exactly how to get there.
Oh thank you sweetie!

You know I'm hopeful for updates to Working My Way Back to You - but I had no idea until today how long you'd been working at it (which doesn't show in the fic, btw, in terms of characterization or anything like that.)

BTW - if I told you that I feel like I shouldn't like your fic "Black Widow" but it feels right in all the wrong ways, would you understand what I meant by that? (Like, oh this is sick - give me more!)
This is terrific! Frankly, it makes more sense than canon in many ways. Very poignant and tragic and believable.

Thank you muchly! I'm glad you like it - and of course I assume you've read the stories that inspired it.

S5 is a great one in a lot of ways if you don't think about it too hard. Now I'm going to have to find the link to a fic (I'm horrible with names) that's a rewrite of S5 in which the monks send Dawn to Buffy as a daughter rather than a sister.
Woah, did I forget to comment on this? Really excellent - Buffy carrying the weight of her own decisions as always, sacrificing her real (invented) world to save the abstract (real) one everyone else gets to live in... Heartbreaking. Congrats on the award!
I still feel like the credit goes to BMB and snowpuppies, (yes, accepting compliments is hard for me - but I'm warm and mushy inside right now, so thank you very very much. The compliments mean a lot from other fans and writers I admire.)

I just left a comment at your AO3 posting "Good Girls Go to Heaven" - I somehow managed to miss it, thinking I'd read all your stories already. Congratulations on your own award!
This packed a truly emotional punch. Well done.