Title: Truth & Possibilities 6/?
Rating: FRT violence and some strong language
Pairings: It will be Giles/Anya with Spike and Dawn friendships.
Summary: Very AU Post the episode “The Gift” The summer after Buffy dies, Giles and Anya find out more about Dawn and the Key.
A/N: This story is dedicated to LJS and Zanthinegirl. It’s beta by the wonderful JaneDavitt and Agilebrit is as usual an invaluable sounding board.
“Remember, you’re the Key; not a brick through a window. Find where you fit,” Giles said softly.
The first time he'd said this to her she had laughed, because it sounded so Karate Kid. Now, after a year of training, Dawn just concentrated on the sunlight reflecting off the coin. She saw the small gaps between worlds and the unseen doorways she was made to open. Not in the way Glory wanted to use her, but just one door at a time. Just the door home. She knew where to go, but this was one last test run. Just a peek through the keyhole.
“Call the others and get the crystal. It’s time we did this for real,” Dawn said when Giles woke her from her trance. She was surprised that her voice sounded so confident; inside she was shaking. Dawn knew she could do this, she just didn’t know if she should. There was no way to know what they were coming home to. Anya had said that her friend had warned her it could get bad in Sunnydale without Giles there.
Dawn must not have looked as calm as she thought because when Anya came in she gave Dawn the concerned look she’d been perfecting, “You know, Dawnie, now that you know how to open and shut portals safely, if Sunnydale is uninhabitable for whatever reason we can always head for the world without shrimp or somewhere.”
“Thanks, Anya.” Dawn gave her a one-armed hug and asked, “So, everyone ready to head home?”
"Yeah, said our goodbyes. Got a letter here to take home to Clem if he’s still around, too,” Spike said patting the pocket of the duster that looked odd on him now.
Dawn wondered if Clem or Xander and Willow would even believe he was the same Spike that they knew. Vampires didn’t age, but he had changed just as much as the rest of them in the past year.
Dawn asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to stay here? I mean; you go home and you won’t be able to be outside in the sun anymore. You’ll have to go back to the night shift.”
“Turns out I don’t tan well anyway. Besides, where you go I go. Long as you’re sure you can aim for nighttime or indoors I’m ready for the off,” Spike said. His voice was casual, but his eyes met Dawn’s and she knew that Spike was dead serious.
“I’m going too, right?” Stephen asked.
Spike sighed in exasperation. “I told you a dozen times already that you’re going with us.”
Dawn knelt down in front of Stephen and said, “How about you sit on my lap when I open the portal?”
“I’m not a baby. I’ll hold your hand and Spike’s.”
Giles hung the crystal from the ceiling of the tent. At first, Giles sat next to Dawn and took the hand Stephen left free but she had him switch to sit between Spike and Anya so that Dawn could look at Giles. To get home she didn’t focus on the crystal; the rock was from here. It couldn’t take her elsewhere. Her real focus was the light of the crystal reflected in Giles’ eyes. Her dad was from home -- her dad was
home. Anya had been the one to help her figure that out, but they had somehow never got around to telling Giles.
She did good; there was no whirlwind or gaping hole this time. There was a flash of light and she wasn’t in the tent anymore. They were all sitting exactly as they had been, but now it was nighttime and they were in a rubble filled lot. Dawn saw Spike take one of those vamp breaths to smell the air. He made a growling sound and took off. When Dawn saw what he was after she tried to follow, but Anya and Giles held her and Stephen back. The tower built by Glory’s victims looked ready to collapse, all Dawn could do was stand there looking up, and wait for the impossible, wait for Spike bring Buffy down before she jumped again.
Just before the madman’s tinker toy collapsed, Spike and Buffy were back on the ground and Dawn ran to them. She couldn’t mange to say anything, she just ran to Buffy and hugged her. When she realized that Buffy wasn’t returning her hug she stepped back and Giles asked the question that stuck in Dawn’s throat like a rock. “Buffy, is that really you?”
“It's her, Rupert. Look at her hands.” Spike’s voice didn’t match the words he was saying. He should have sounded happy, but he didn’t. Instead his voice was gravelly and raw. Dawn looked at Buffy’s hands. They were all torn up and full of dirt and splinters. Giles gasped like he’d been hit in the stomach. Dawn got really scared. Anya had her arm around him like she thought she needed to hold Giles up, and by the look on his face that could’ve been true.
Dawn asked, “What’s wrong, Buffy? What happened to you?”
“I don’t know. I’m back. It hurts.” The empty look in her eyes ripped a hole in Dawn's heart.
“Then I’ll fix it. I’ll make it better,” Dawn said, trying to sound like the in control girl who could open portals and gather spider silk without freaking.
“We should go. We should go home. It’s not safe out here,” Buffy said slowly like she wasn’t sure she remembered how to speak.
Dawn should’ve been happy to be back in the land of indoor plumbing and pizza delivery. She should’ve been freaking thrilled to have her sister back, but she walked beside her in the dark and missed the sunshine and the silk tents.next chapt.