Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Dawn, Spike, Buffy
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Day 19:
Warning(s): Cannon Character Death
Word Count: 1,301
Date Written: 22 August 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
He knew the moment he turned onto their street after dark what was happening, but now that he’s staring straight down at her, Spike finds himself almost frozen. He doesn’t want to move. He doesn’t want this to be happening especially not her, to the girl he’s supposed to be protecting, to the girl he promised Buffy he would care for her when she told him her dying wish, and not here, in a room that holds so many memories of two women he’s loved before and lost.
It’s only when a soft moan unconsciously escapes Dawn’s lips that Spike is able to move again. He lunges through the kitchen, drops to her side, and lifts her in his arms. “Nibblet,” he snarls, his Vampire face having come out with his intense emotions, “why the Hell did you do this?!”
She moans again as he lifts her. “Blood, Spike. Blood,” she says as though the words makes complete sense of why she’s cut deep gashes in both her arms.
He holds her over the sink and presses a wet cloth, left over from when somebody washed the dishes earlier today, onto her wound. Finding any one else like this might have tempted him to dine, but right now all he can think about is her pain and how desperately he wants to end it.
“The blood,” Dawn says again, lifting the arm Spike isn’t currently working on. “Buffy showed me once. I’m not just a key. We’re sisters, no matter what they say. Same blood and all. But I would have still opened that door if it had meant she could live.” Her words end in a whimper, and as she starts to cry again, tears also streak down the Vampire’s face.
“It’s not your fault, Nibblet,” he says. He’ll wonder later if part of him didn’t also mean those words for himself, but right now he’s focusing entirely upon her. He squeezes out some of her blood, wets the cloth again, and presses it back to her injury. Gently holding her other arm with his other hand, he runs that wound underneath the tap water.
She bites her lip to keep from screaming at the physical pain that’s only now beginning to make itself known to her mind. He steps closer, determinedly holding the rag to one of her arms and her other arm underneath the faucet. She leans up and buries her face into his leather jacket. He can feel her silent screams as her mouth opens against his dark leather.
“Let it out, Nibblet,” he coaxes. “Just not like this,” he adds, lifting her arm a little higher underneath the tap water. “Never like this again. Please. For me. For Buffy. You know she wouldn’t want you hurting like this.”
Damn it all! He’d promised her the girl wouldn’t hurt like this, and yet here she is, having already lost so much blood! She would have bled to death if he hadn’t been coming to check on her. He’s going to have to talk to Red about either staying with them or keeping Dawnie in his crypt with him. This should never have happened! Somebody has to keep a better watch on her, and he promised her sister that that person would be himself.
Slowly, he becomes aware of the words Dawnie’s murmuring in the folds of his jacket, “Not your fault.”
“‘Course it is,” he mumbles in return. “I should’ve been here with you.”
“You were asleep. I knew that. And Willow thinks I’m fine. She wouldn’t have left otherwise.”
Spike pulls back and looks down into Dawn’s sorrow-filled face, his blue eyes widening. “You planned this.”
“Yes.” She nods. “I wanted to see the blood again. I wanted to remember again. A cosmic key doesn’t hurt like I’m hurting. She was my sister, no matter what those stupid monks did or didn’t do.” Her tears speed up. “SHE WAS MY SISTER!” she screams.
Spike wraps his arms around her and holds her tight, rocking them both. “Yes,” he mumbles soothingly into Dawn’s long, brown hair, “you two were sisters. You were closer than a lot of the siblings I’ve known who were born into the same family.” Of all the brothers and sisters he’s known throughout his long, jaded past, he can think of no other who would so readily sacrifice himself, or herself, for the other. “You are sisters. You’ll see her again one day, Dawnie.” And if he ever gets there, Spike knows, if he ever gets to see her again, Buffy will stake him for what he’s let her baby sister do.
“I know that’s what people say, but what truth is there in it?” Dawn demands. “They say Vampires aren’t real, monsters aren’t real, Gods aren’t real, cosmic keys opening stupid doorways aren’t real -- “
Spike holds her shoulders and looks directly down into her eyes. “You’re real, Dawn, and your love for her is real. You wouldn’t hurt the way you are otherwise.” He sighs, looking away for a moment. For just a moment, he thinks he can see Joyce’s image in the glass window above Dawn’s head, and maybe he does, but he knows he can’t reach her. Nonetheless, he knows why he’s seeing that particular spirit in this moment of need.
He looks back down into Dawn’s eyes. “As for the other, how many times has your sister fought ghosts? Death isn’t final.”
“Buffy’s not coming back as a ghost.” Dawn pouts.
Spike almost smirks. “No,” he agrees, “but that doesn’t mean her existence is over, just her life. Our stories don’t end just because we stop being alive, or undead, here.”
“What?” Dawn asks, looking at him skeptically. “You’re going to tell me there really is a Heaven and a Hell?”
“Oh, there’s a Hell alright, Nibblet. I’ve been there and known too many others who have been there to doubt its existence. As for Heaven . . . “ After all these centuries of being a Vampire, he still feels the urge to take a deep breath. He clamps it down, though, refusing to adhere to that basic urge, and shrugs instead. “I don’t know.”
“But what I do know is that our stories don’t finish just because we die. Some of us continue on as Vampires or ghosts or some other . . . thing, but all of us continue. There’s a place after this life. Rather it’s Heaven or the Elysian Fields or just some giant waiting room, I don’t know. But I do know it’s not over. It’s not over for Buffy or for those of us who want to see her again.”
Spike tenderly wipes Dawn’s hair away from her face. The smile he tries to give her doesn’t quite come out as reassuring; there’s far too much sadness, grief, and self-condemnation in his expression for it to be consoling or even partially happy. “As for me, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see her again. It’s not like I deserve it. I couldn’t deserve her before she died, and I know I’ll never deserve her.”
“But you, Nibblet,” he says, still stroking her hair, “you’re a different story. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be able to see her again, and I fully believe you will one day when the time is right.”
“I want to see her again now,” Dawn murmurs, dropping her face back into his jacket.
He holds her as she cries and hugs her to him. “I know, Nibblet,” he says, stroking her shaking back. “I know. So do I. But you’ll see her again one day.” He kisses the top of her head. “I promise.” And that is one promise, like the promise he made to her big sister to keep her safe, he will keep or end his existence trying.