sparkz0r: shiina ringo (buffy : triangle)
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The Plural of Apocalypse
Fandom: Buffy
Rating: G
Wordcount: 934
Summary: How many apocalypses has it been for Dawn Summers? Seasons 1-7.
Written for the Thoughtpocalypse at [livejournal.com profile] whedonland


The dress was so pretty, it was almost criminal. Watching Buffy smooth it down, Dawn couldn't help but notice her hands were shaking.

"So you're going to the dance without a date?" Dawn toyed with the silk scarf her mom had bought her as a reward for picking out a dress for Buffy. She'd neglected to mention to Joyce that she'd seen her sister drooling over it for weeks. "Social suicide," She sing-songed.

"Like you and your new friend Jenny are the social mavens of Sunnydale Elementary?" Buffy responded more irritably than usual.

"Her name's Janice," Dawn snapped back. "And there's no need to be cranky just 'cause you can't get a date."

"Dawn..." Buffy sighed. "Get lost."

Dawn huffed out the door just as Joyce entered.

"Buffy! There's something on the news. Willow."

***

Dawn sat at the top of the stairs, listening to the whole fight.

"You walk out of this house, don't even think about coming back!"

She held her breath for a moment, waiting to hear Buffy's response. The drawn out silence proved to much to bear & she crept down the stairs and into the dining room. She could see her mother, slumped over the kitchen island.

"Mom?"

"Oh-" Joyce straightened up, wiping at her eyes. "Dawn, Buffy's-"

"Gone," Dawn cut in flatly. "Again."

"She'll be back, honey," Joyce pulled Dawn into her arms. "She'll be home soon."

Dawn felt less than convinced.

***

As Dawn entered the kitchen, she found herself engulfed in a Buffy-sized, one-armed hug. When she pulled back, Dawn took note of the sling on Buffy's right arm & the damage to her face.

"Did the world almost end? Again?"

"You have no idea, Dawnie," Buffy smiled, her eyes watering. "No one will."

Buffy breezed her way out of the kitchen & Dawn took a moment to wonder what it would be like to have a sister who wasn't the Slayer.

***

Dawn fidgeted nervously in the front seat of the car. She watched her mother cross the forecourt of the gas station and pick up the receiver on the payphone. She held her breath as Joyce dialed their home number, her face etched with worry. For a moment she froze, then mouthed the name 'Buffy' and smiled.

Releasing her breath and unclenching her fingers, Dawn relaxed. One more apocalypse averted.

***

Dawn settled down on the floor between Mr. Giles & Buffy. Luckily they were all too distracted, arguing over which movie to watch first. She was confident that whatever Xander chose would be awesome.

"Uh, hello?"

"Hi!" Dawn chirped back at her sister.

"What're you doing?" Buffy raised her eyebrows.

"Joining the post-apocalyptic battle video party?" She replied hopefully.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "This isn't your kind of movie, Dawn."

"Oh, please," Dawn scoffed. "Like I haven't seen worse here in Sunnydale?"

As soon as she saw Willow give Buffy her 'go-easy-on-Dawnie' look, she knew she had won.

"Fine. But no talking. Or breathing too loudly. And this is my popcorn," Buffy clutched the bowl in her lap closer.

"You're such a child," she smirked.

As the FBI warning faded & the movie started, Dawn found herself humming along to the rousing opening music. She leaned over to whisper a question to Mr. Giles about it, but found he was fast asleep. Turning to the others, to point out the sleepy old guy, Dawn found the other three passed out as well.

Grabbing a handful of popcorn out of Buffy's bowl, Dawn snorted, "Bunch of lightweights."

***

Buffy had tried to explain it to her once. The feeling of impending doom, that no matter what you do, the world is going to fall apart and you can't stop it.

She'd nodded and grinned, imagined taking on the role of the hero. If she was saving the world every other week, she certainly wouldn't mope about it as much as Buffy did.

"You don't get it," Buffy had sighed & left Dawn to her daydreams.

Now she knows what it's like. As she kneels beside her mother's grave, the sky is falling & her world has been blown apart. And no one understood.

Not even Buffy.

***

She jumped. Dived headfirst into the breach, much like everything she did in life.

Three weeks on and Dawn still felt the loss keenly. Not only had Buffy left her, but she'd left her with what felt like an impossible task.

To live.

***

Sitting at their dining room table, she looked smaller than Dawn could remember. The last time she'd seen her, she'd crackled with menacing energy. Now Willow clutched Xander's hand like a lifeline, unable to look anyone in the eye. As Buffy, Xander & Giles spoke in hushed tones, Dawn rose from her chair & walked into the kitchen.

She sat on the central island, warming herself in the midday sun. Moments later Buffy entered the room & sat on the bench opposite her.

"Giles is taking her back to England. He's going to help her."

"Help her?" Dawn was incredulous. "Into a high security prison?"

"Dawn-"

"No, Buffy! She tried to kill me! And you! She tried to destroy the world and we're sending her on an all-expenses paid European vacation?!"

"It's Willow, Dawn."

For a moment Buffy looked so sad and tired. All Dawn could do was hug her.

"I know," she sighed.

***

They stood at the edge of what was once her whole world, now a giant crater, dust rising in the wind.

"What are we going to do now?"

Even as the question left her mouth, Dawn already had one hope.

A trip to the nearest Arby's. She had a major case of the post-apocalyptic battle munchies.

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