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?]
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.
(posted to DreamWidth http://red-satin-doll.dreamwidth.org/2