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All in Her Mind

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  • All in Her Mind

    Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine, as I am not the Joss-man.

    Setting: Season 1 retcon, during "Nightmares"

    Hospitals were supposed to be white and sterile and cold. This one, though, the one Dawn was running through the halls of, was all wrong. Dripping crimson was smeared across the walls and the beds and the gowns of the patients scuttling through the halls and the coats of the doctors charging after them and it was just too much, she didn't even know how she had gotten in there.

    All she knew was that she had to find Buffy. Buffy was here somewhere, trapped and scared and alone. So Dawn dodged furious maddened patients and screaming, terrified doctors, and orderlies carrying needles the size of her arm, searching, searching...

    They came around the corner then, not just Buffy but two of her new friends from school, the older dark-haired guy that she could never make herself talk to for some reason and the red-haired nerdy girl with those funny names. And the creepy high-school librarian who kept coming around wanting to talk to Buffy--she was sure there was something really wrong with that guy, because, ew. "Buffy!" she shouted, barreling down the hall with arms outstretched. "I have to get you out of here!"

    Buffy turned to look at her--no, glare at her, no sign of recognition in the yellow eyes that weren't her sister's, because something was wrong with her face, oh god what had they done to her here? The thing without her sister's face hissed and started towards her, fangs bared. "No! Buffy, stop! What happened, what's wrong? It's me, Dawn, I'm your sister!"

    "She's hallucinating," a woman's deep voice rumbled from behind Dawn, and two pairs of hands seized her arms. "We were afraid of this. Get her into the straitjacket." She struggled, but the orderlies were so much bigger than her that it was all she could do to wiggle in their grip. "I'm sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Summers. Sometimes these things run in the family."

    The librarian seemed to be pulling Buffy away and around the corner, but Dawn's dad blocked her view just then, crouching down in front of her. "I'm sorry, sweetie, but I promise we'll come to visit you every week, just like Buffy. Get well for us," he said, and ruffled her hair as the orderlies pulled the straps tight.

    "No!" Dawn screamed. "It's real, Buffy's a vampire! You have to stake her or cut off her head, just like she was tell--! Stop, stop!" The door into the room with the cushioned walls yawned open just long enough for her to be shoved inside.

    "Byebye, Dawn," her mom said sweetly, waving through the tiny glass window. "Remember to eat when they feed you." Then her face disappeared from behind the door.

    "Mom! Dad! Wait, come back! Please!" She shouted and shouted and shouted until her screams were hoarse and her throat was sore and finally she couldn't say another word. But no one answered. And no one opened the door. And no one ever even appeared at the little window on it. Finally she sank panting onto the little cot they'd left her for a bed.

    Buffy stared at her dully from across the room, her face the same as it always had been, and mumbled, "I see they got you too."
    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
    Out Now.
    Avatar by Barb
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