Back to the Beginning: Beginnings
by Amanda
Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer #1: None of the characters from BtVS belong to me. No copyright infringement intended to Joss W, ME, FOX, WB, UPN, etc. This is merely fan fiction, meant to be fun.
Disclaimer #2: There is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as a partial interpretation of the Jewish funeral prayer.
Date: 072702-072902
Spoilers: All of Season Six. This is the 11th in a series. (The conclusion. For now anyway.)
Note #1: If it is written in italics it is the character’s thoughts.

The voice danced over the blades of grass, reaching those not far away.

“There is a time for everything, for all things under the sun: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to dance and a time to mourn, a time to seek and a time to lose, a time to forget and a time to remember.

“The death of our beloved Dawn Summers, recalls our human condition and the brevity of our lives on earth. But for those who believe in love, death is not the end, nor does it destroy the bonds that are forged in our lives.

“Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; God doesn't fill it, but on the contrary, keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.”

*****

I had never been to one of these. Not for those I had lost, not for those I had taken. The sun warmed my back, blinded my eyes that normally could see the distance of this field, see the weakest vampire or demon lurking in the midnight shadows. But not today. Not in the harsh daylight.

B was holding my arm so tightly I could feel the blood vessels popping and bruises forming in the pattern of her delicate hands, and I wished that I would do a thousand things more than stand here. It was like it wasn’t enough. Dawn’s ashes were in that box. Dawn. With her laughter and her screams, her tantrums and her goofy smile. Dawn with her confusion, and her tears, her innocence. Dawn with her voice and her smell. She was gone. Completely gone. She wasn’t coming back as a vampire, she wasn’t coming back as a ghost, and she wasn’t coming back as anything. She. Was. Gone.

And it was my fault. Her being ripped from B’s life, probably the only shot she would ever get at having a family, having a child, and it was gone because of me. If it hadn’t been for me, if I had never been called, better yet, never been born, there never would have been a Watcher, never been Ronnie who got turned. I never would have come to this place, I never would have fallen in love with B, and I never would have put Dawn in danger. So yeah, this was my fault. I shattered this family. The only family I was proud to be a part of. Broken.

I kissed the top of her head, because it was really the only thing that I could do. A small little something to tell her I was here. Nothing I could say would ease her pain, nothing I could ever do would make it not have happened. She would never look at me again without seeing her dead sister, her dead child. It was because of me. I would never look at myself the same, knowing I did this. I did all of it.

The others were standing there, moving just a little closer to us, as they lowered to steal coffin into the ground. See, nothing but the best for our family. No one was ever going to disturb this resting place. Red would make sure of it, with spells and incantations. Both Dawn and Tara, side by side, with Ms. Summers’ just over there, they were all safe from the darkness, and from the night now. The Slayers may have failed them in life, but we would not fail them in death.

*****

Buffy felt comforted by Faith’s arms, but felt even more pain, knowing that she was blaming herself. The service continued on, the Father’s voice speaking from the Bible that meant nothing to any of them, just seemed the thing to do. Buffy was lost, thinking about last night, knowing Faith still felt exactly the same right now. She shivered remembering

<“It wasn’t your fault, Faith.”

"I am not being a martyr, the fact of the matter is that Dawn is dead, and it was my fault. Period."

“I was there too Faith, so how can you take the blame for this?”

“She wanted me, if I had just gone with her sooner, if I hadn’t tried to play the hero, Dawn would still be alive.”

“Are you sure?”

“What?” Faith turned and looked at Buffy like she had spoken in another language.

“They would have turned you Faith, and knowing you, we would all be dead.”

“What do you mean by that Buffy?” The brunette squinted her eyes.

“Just that the demon would want you to kill everything that made you human. Your love for me, for Dawn, that is part of your humanity.”

“Fancy words and sentiment there, B. She is still dead.”

“Yes she is. But she got the chance to live, she got the chance to love, and she taught us something very important, while she was with us.”

“Oh ya?”

“Yes. Life is precious, as is time. We shouldn’t waist any of it.”>

*****

The moon was climbing higher in the sky, colored with a haze due to the rolling brush fires in the hills surrounding Sunnydale.

Buffy walked into the library, the double doors swinging in her wake, prisms created by the circular windows in the doors, dancing on the floor.

She stopped next to the check in counter, crossing her arms, tilting her head slightly, and looking at the scene before her.

Willow, sitting behind her laptop, looking through a book beside her. Xander, his feet up on the table, chewing on the end of a pencil, flipping through a large and dusty tome, scratching his head, in thought. Giles was slowly pacing, his hand moving in the air, as he read from another book, and whispered the Latin, to help with his translation.

A chill of recognition rolled down Buffy Summers back. Deja vu, or something close to it.

How many nights had she walked into a similar scene? The four of them, all working together? This is how it was in the beginning, just them, saving the world. It had been simplistic, and efficient.

Buffy sighed. This was safe, and was familiar. And lonely.

When she told her that morning, Buffy had expected it, had known that is was inevitable. But that didn’t stop the words from cutting into her like a knife. No matter how safe she felt in Faith’s arms, that morning they were unforgiving.

<“I came to this place, this town, running from a vampire. And now I leave, running after one. The irony there is not lost on me, B. I have to do this.”

“I am hurting too, Faith, I don’t know if I can stand you leaving me.” Buffy cried, not caring about the tears that rolled down her cheeks, darkening the shirt Faith wore.

"Ah, I’m not leaving you. I am finishing this. If I don’t she’ll try and come back, she will hurt someone else. I promised you B, and I failed, I didn’t keep my promise.">

She wondered, where the brunette was, what she was thinking what she was doing. Would she ever come back? Would they ever be able to work through the past days, to get back to that piece of heaven they created together?

*****

I was standing on the look out. Beer cans, cigarette butts, the normal decorating flourish up here. But I wasn’t here for that; I was here for the view. From here I could see the whole town.

Sunnydale.

It was mine, for a while. For that short time I was the Slayer, and it was my town. But not any more. Nothing was mine anymore, and maybe that was for the best. I seemed cursed. Whatever I touched fell apart.

Everything had changed, and it was because of me. But like B said, some of it was good too, not all death and destruction.

I could make out the school from here. I knew they were there right now, researching something bad, and then B would head out and fight, and win, and then they would move on to something else. That was their lives, their routine. They needed this, to get back to the routine, without the baggage of real life, and relationships, to get back to the basics. I needed to go; there was no place for me here. Sunnydale only needed one.

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer was here.

I would carry her love with me, until the end of my days; cherish the memories, all of them, the pain and the pleasure.

I grinned.

She was my fucking everything, and she always would be. She had that effect on you.

I was needed out there. Big Bads didn’t just come here, there were other places, and other fights to be fought.

Time to move on, find my own way, my own place. After I took care of a little unfinished business with an old Watcher of mine, of course.

...continued in Onus...

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