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Challenge #2 Getting Your Final Affairs in Order

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  • Challenge #2 Getting Your Final Affairs in Order

    Set: The final night in Sunnydale.
    Rating: maybe PG13-vague references-nothing explicit
    Author's Note: I hope this follows the rules-I wanted to see the reconciliation through outside eyes. I think though that enough is shown to explain the first person's thinking and that the second wouldn't have required any explanation. Hopefully folks will let me know if they agree/disagree.

    Getting Your Final Affairs in Order

    Willow rinsed the final plate and turned off the water. Reaching for a towel to dry her hands, she contemplated the surprising quiet of the house. Surprising considering the time; only early evening, surprising considering the sheer number of people now residing in the Summer's home, and surprising considering the number of questions and fears currently weighing on the hearts and minds of those many warriors and refugees.

    It was the last night. Tomorrow they would either change the world or die trying. Or both, she amended. Even if they won, good people would suffer and die tomorrow; she'd been part of this for too long now to pretend otherwise. She knew that there were no guarantees in life except death and she suspected that the others knew this too. Even the newbies, those girls who had arrived looking so young a few months ago, now had eyes that had seen too much. They knew the truth, even more so than she had at their age, and tomorrow they would risk everything to try and save the world for those who still didn't. And for themselves, she thought, they deserved a safer world too.

    Willow leaned back against the counter and looked over at the girl she still thought of as Buffy's kid sister. Dawn was sitting on a stool at the breakfast bar, still reading. She was clearly not a little kid anymore and Willow wondered exactly when that had happened. They'd all wanted to protect her innocence, to keep her a child for longer than they had been, but of course she'd grown up. She'd turned out pretty good too, Willow acknowledged with a touch of pride; Dawn was responsible and kind. Xander had told her how Dawn had reacted to the news that she was not, in fact, a potential slayer. Though she knew that Dawn was somewhat disappointed, Willow suspected she was relieved as well.

    Taking care of Dawn hadn't always been easy and they'd all tried to do their part. Of course, Buffy had accepted the brunt of the responsibility, but she hadn't always been there. Dawn had become a group project. There had been troubles, Willow still felt a bit guilty for not noticing the shoplifting herself. They had all failed Dawn in a big way at one point or another, but Dawn forgave and kept going. Willow was glad to have earned Dawn's trust back, and was happy to see that Buffy and Xander's plot to get Dawn out of Sunnydale hadn't caused any real rifts.

    The basement door opened and Willow watched Spike step quietly in to the kitchen. He kept his head down and headed straight to the fridge, grabbing a bag of blood and emptying the contents in to a mug. Dawn looked up as he placed the mug in the microwave and frowned. She picked up her book and walked quickly out of the kitchen. He looked up for a moment and watched her leave out of the corner of his eye. Willow frowned, noticing how he quickly clenched his jaw and looked back down. She held back her sigh until he'd headed back to the basement. ?Maybe Dawnie's forgiveness hadn't actually been totally widespread', she realized with a frown. She remembered a time not too long past when Dawn had been his biggest supporter. She still had mixed feelings about the now ensouled vampire herself, but she suspected the continued silences between the two hurt Dawn just as much as him. She shook her head and wished, not for the first time, that Tara was there. She was so much better at this stuff, Willow thought; Tara would have certainly talked to Dawn by now. She closed her eyes for a moment, thinking about how Tara would have gently guided Dawn to let go of her anger. ?Oh baby, I suck at this stuff' she pleaded, ?I wish you could do this for me. You would know just what to say.'

    Willow inhaled, gathering strength from the knowledge that Tara was always with her, and followed Dawn in to the living room.

    "Hey Dawnie, how you doing?"

    Dawn looked up from her book with a confused expression. "Fine. I'm just looking through this stuff one more time; you never know what might come in handy. Did you..." She shook her head.

    ?Great job at subtle', Willow congratulated herself sarcastically. "No?I just? kinda intense right?"

    "Well yeah, guess so?If you're going to try to get me to leave?"

    Willow interrupted with a shake of her head. "No that's not?I'm not gonna."

    "Then what's up?you're acting all nervous?oh are you worried about the magic thing."

    "Well yeah, but that's not?I was just thinking that we don't really know what will happen tomorrow and?"

    "I do; we're gonna kick ass, not that the First has an ass exactly but?" She grinned.

    Willow smiled back. ?Yep' she thought, ?Tara was much better at this'. "I was just thinking that it was maybe a good time to like tell the people you love that you love them and stuff and like maybe if you had a fight with someone then tonight was a good time to maybe?"

    "Willow, I'm not." Dawn shook her head. "We're all made up, aren't we? I mean I know?"

    "Oh no sweetie, I didn't mean me? I was just?"

    "Buffy and I are good, Will; I know she was just trying to keep me safe. I mean I'm still?"

    "I didn't mean?"

    Dawn frowned. "Then who? I'm not?" She trailed off with a look of confusion.

    Willow bit her lip and glanced meaningfully towards the basement door.

    Dawn's confused expression was quickly replaced with an icy air. "Don't."

    "Dawnie, I'm just saying?"

    "Will, there's nothing to say?not after?after what he did to?"

    "To Buffy, Dawn and she?I'm just saying that maybe that's their business." At Dawn's look of outrage, she continued. "I'm not saying its ok, just that maybe we don't know something and you can't say he hasn't tried to?" She shrugged. "You were friends before."

    "Were we?" Dawn scoffed.

    "You know you were Sweetie."

    "Right. Sure. Either way, we're not anymore."

    "Fine. If that's what you want hun. I won't push, but can you answer one question for me."

    "What?"

    "I've always wondered. That summer-when Buffy was?gone, you wouldn't even?none of us could get through. You weren't eating. He?how did he get you to? What did he say?"

    Dawn paled visibly and looked away for a moment. Her eyes gazed off without focusing.

    Willow watched her and regretted forcing her to think back on such bad times. She hoped it was for the best. When Dawn didn't respond, she started thinking that she should have just kept her opinions and questions to herself. She was about to apologize when Dawn started talking again.

    "He said he would if I did." She said quietly.

    Willow was startled. "What?"

    "He? he hadn't eaten either, in days, and wouldn't if I didn't." Dawn looked back at her. "He was all messed up; I could hear?I could hear the bones in his leg. He wouldn't heal if he didn't eat and he wouldn't?"

    "Unless you did." Willow finished.

    "Yeah?the jerk" She said it without fire, before once again gazing off over Willow's shoulder.

    "Umm ok, I'm just gonna" Willow held up the towel she still had in her hands and gestured towards the kitchen.

    Dawn turned back to her and nodded, though her expression remained distant.

    Willow walked back to the kitchen and hung the towel on the fridge handle. She leaned back against the counter for a moment before deciding that a cup of tea and visit with Kennedy was just what she needed. She pulled out the tea kettle and filled it with water. As she placed it on the stove, the basement door reopened and Spike walked back in to the kitchen. Without a word he headed towards the sink. Willow smiled as he quickly washed out the mug. ?Looks like he heard Buffy's ?clean up after yourself -I'm not your mother' speech' she thought pulling a box of tea bags out of the cupboard.

    He placed the mug in the drainer and headed back towards the door. Dawn walked in as he reached for the door knob and headed towards him. She stopped a couple of feet away.

    Willow looked up surprised.

    "Do you?do you want to play piquet?" Dawn blurted out quickly. She held up a deck of cards

    His hand froze on the knob and he turned slowly, as though he was not entirely sure she was talking to him.

    Willow watched as Spike regarded Dawn with widened eyes.

    He tilted his head slightly to the side and looked at her questioningly for a second before nodding once. "Sure bit." He gave her a tentative smile. "But I get first deal."

    "We'll see."

    Willow watched as the two of them headed down the basement stairs. ?Look baby, I did it. I'll bet you're looking down at me all proud now huh?' she thought with a smile.

    She quietly finished making her tea and headed upstairs to find Kennedy. ?But maybe now you could be not watching me for a little bit, kay?' she thought briefly before giving her girl a saucy grin.
    Dorian's Kitten
    Chosen Vampire
    Last edited by Dorian's Kitten; 06-09-07, 05:08 PM.
    "All I ask is that... that you try to see me."
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