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This is Me, Being Brave

Author Anviloverheaven
Title This Is Me, Being Brave
Rating PG
Prompt First Dance
Setting Post Series. A dozen years after Chosen
Warning Character Death
A/N Dawn’s getting married, and nobody is terribly happy about it.

 

 This is Me, Being Brave

“We finally picked out the number for our first dance. Pete’s making me practise these weird and wacky moves. He’s still hung up about us going all viral.”

Buffy nodded silently. For split second Dawn allowed herself the luxury of hope, until she noticed the way her sister was clutching her coffee cup. She braced herself for the impending shattering.

“Just say it,” she sighed wearily. “And don’t try and dress it all up.”

Buffy blinked incredulously. “There’s no possible way of dressing this up.”

“Sure there is. You could tell me that I’m too young, like Giles did, or that it’s too soon. That one came from Willow.”

“Well, it is pretty sudden.”

“I’ve known him for five years. There’s nothing sudden about it!”

Well there wasn’t, Dawn reasoned. Two people shared a strong friendship, that over time had developed into something more. It happened all the time. Only now that it had happened to her, there was a giant rush to board the “Are You Sure?” express. Giles, Xander, Willow, even Andrew.

It was easy to shrug off disguised concern with the steadfast knowledge that your sister was in your corner. Dawn had been tied to the tracks before, and Buffy had saved her. Only this time, Buffy was driving the train.

“He’s a demon, Dawnie! My little sister is marrying a demon. Exactly what part of this am I supposed to be okay with?”

And there it was. What it all came down to.

It didn’t matter that Pete was only half demon, or that he’d worked alongside Slayers for a decade, and helped out during at least a dozen apocalypses. It didn’t even matter that he was GQ hot and then some.

All that mattered was the part-demon inside him. The part he’d never attempted to hide, or disguise. The part that Dawn loved because he was a good man in spite of it, or maybe even because of it.

“How about you be okay with the fact that your little sister is almost thirty.”

“You don’t know what you’re doing Dawn.”

“I think I know my own mind. It’s made up, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” So there. She fought the urge to poke her tongue out.

“What kind of life would you have? For a start, you couldn’t have children.”

Dawn hadn’t heard that one before, but kids weren’t even on the cards anyway. She’d decided that long before Pete, and Buffy knew it. Which was probably why her sister chose that moment to bring out the big guns.

“Look Dawnie, Pete’s a great guy. I know that. But you both deserve so much more. If you really loved him, you’d let him go.”

“Well that makes a whole bunch of no sense.”

“Think about it. You’re both out there, almost getting killed every other week. How is that fair to either of you?” Buffy stood, and started pacing the kitchen. “And you don’t even know how much of his father he has in him. He could outlive you by decades, Dawn, centuries even. He gets to watch you waste away, and die. He’ll put you in the ground, and live the rest of his life without you. Could you really ask that much from someone you love?”

“We’ve actually had this talk, Buffy. We’ll deal.”

As she watched her sister’s frustrated pacing, Dawn experienced a moment of perfect clarity.

“Oh my god,” she breathed almost silently, meeting Buffy’s eyes. “This isn’t even about me, is it?”

“What?”

“This is about you. It’s always about you. I just wonder whose notes you borrowed. Who it was that gave you the very same speech you’re giving me. Was it Giles, maybe Angel?”

“This isn’t about Spike!”

“I didn’t say it was.”

They both knew better.

“Dawn, I just want you to be happy.”

“Sure you do. Cause giving up on Pete would make me super happy. I could date normal men, maybe even marry an accountant someday. I mean, I can see how happy you are, what with all those normal guys you’re not dating.”

“Don’t,” Buffy slammed her fist down on the table. “Even start!”

There was the sound of wood splintering, then silence. Then Buffy staring blankly at the broken table between them. Dawn felt for her then, so much.

She remembered them running off together when he’d first come back. All giddy and glowing. Then coming home again, poles apart, stilted and raw. Okay, so someone had whispered their doubts in her ear, but Buffy had listened, and wasn’t that just her sister all over. Always a coward when it came to her heart.

“Wow. Way to make the table hurt.”

And then he’d left. With a shrug that lied when it said ‘sometimes things just don’t work out’ and a telling promise to keep in touch with her, and not Buffy. Then weekly emails from across the globe, full of undoubtedly exaggerated recounts of fights, intermixed with travel hints ‘for when you’re done with all that schooling’.

She remembered the last hurried email from him four years ago, on the eve of big battle insert horrifically large number here. She’d never again be able to tease him about not taking his own advice to heart.

It still hurt.

“If you think it’s right, Dawn, and you believe in it, you fight.” 

Buffy would always be Buffy, and in her heart, Spike would stay Spike. Though shaped by both, Dawn was neither. There was one thing she was willing to do, that neither of them had.

She stood up slowly, with determination.

“I’m not you Buffy.” Silence still, from across the ruins. “Happiness is precious, especially in our world. None of us ever seem to get enough. That’s why when it comes, we have to grab it and fight for it. Even if that means we end up fighting the people we love. You once told me to be brave, Buffy. So this is me, being brave.”

 


Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
hello_spikey
Jun. 16th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
Girl, you got me crying on my keyboard.
(I knew that spill protector was a good investment.)

*bawls*

*sniffle*

Love Dawn in this so much. She's so strong. What bittersweetness!
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
Aww... don't cry. Dawn's gets to be very happy in this world.

Thanks for reading and commenting :)
lilachigh
Jun. 16th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
I like this in so many ways!
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading :) Glad you liked it!
treadingthedark
Jun. 16th, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
This was beautiful. Sad. Loved the last line especially.
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
quinara
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, so sad!!! Good on Dawn, though; very nice piece.
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
rahirah
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
I love grown-up Dawn.
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked her.

I've always thought that Dawn was stronger than Buffy in many ways, and this could concievably be one of them.
revdorothyl
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Wow! Powerful stuff. Well done.
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
dorians_kitten
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. Really, very well done. I've never been prouder of Dawnie. :)
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it.
xc_runner50
Jun. 16th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
This makes me happy like you wouldn't believe!
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so happy it makes you happy. It makes me happy too, mostly because I killed Spike, and didn't give him a happy ending. That's kind of a big deal for me...
louise39
Jun. 16th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
Dawn learned the lesson. She'll fight for her chance at happiness!

:picks up tissue:

Too late. For Buffy. For Spike.

:blots eyes:

Well done.
anviloverheaven
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
Dawn's smart like that :)

Thank you for reading.

PS: I love your icon! Do you know which episode it came from?
louise39
Jun. 18th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC)
The icon has to be from season 5 [Dawn is so young] but I don't know which episode. Sorry. The icon was made by mystd
relurker
Jun. 16th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
Hurtful!
anviloverheaven
Jun. 17th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
In a good way, or a bad way? :)
relurker
Jun. 17th, 2011 08:18 am (UTC)
In a sad, sad way!
But good for Dawn... : )
(Deleted comment)
gillo
Jun. 16th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
Meep. SPIKE!!!!!!!

Poor Buffy, poor Dawn. But nice to see her stand up for what matters.

::sob::
anviloverheaven
Jun. 17th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
Poor Spike... If it's any consolation, he died saving the world again :)

fangfaceandrea
Jun. 17th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
Well this is sad. and so plausible it makes it even sadder.

but yay for Dawn and Pete!
anviloverheaven
Jun. 17th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
You gotta focus on the positive :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!
zanthinegirl
Jun. 17th, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC)
It's 6am; much too early to be all sniffly. But now I'm all sniffly!

::sniff::

Poor Buffy. But Go, Dawn!
anviloverheaven
Jun. 18th, 2011 09:51 am (UTC)
I'm really happy I could make you sniffly.

Is it okay to be happy about making people sniffly??
slaymesoftly
Jun. 17th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, how very painfully real. Made me sniffle for everyone (except Dawn, cause - yay! for standing up for herself).
anviloverheaven
Jun. 18th, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading :) And yes, yay Dawn!!
rebcake
Jun. 17th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
So many kinds of brave, and Buffy's got lots of them, but Dawn's tragically right here:

Always a coward when it came to her heart.

Spike + soul is little better. Good thing for Dawn that she does what they said and not what they did.

*cries*
gingerwall
Jun. 19th, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)
Oh my god. That was so heart-wrenching..... <3
waddiwasiwitch
Jun. 20th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
Dawn is just so wonderful here. This is a hertrending piece, but there's so much hope for Dawn's future.
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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