Timeless
The Demonic War

Chapter 17
At Peace

Dawn was at peace, she hadn’t felt this calm and peaceful since before she found out she was the Key. She looked down and saw her body still trapped in the machine, she saw her lover, Spike, in danger of becoming a pile of dust, she saw her sister drifting in and out of consciousness, she saw Willow and Tara lying in danger of being crushed.

“I’m sorry.” Dawn said even though she was sure none of them could hear her, “I wasn’t strong enough to fight him, I’m sorry.”

“I’m right here!” Dawn heard a voice off to her left.

She turned, or at least she had the sensation of turning, and saw a form standing there. The form became clearer and she realised that it was her, from when she had become slightly displaced in time.

Dawn watched as her past self walked towards a group of shadowy figures, who turned out to be Spike, Buffy, Willow and Tara, surrounded by an area of scenery. She watched as her past self stuck her hand through Spike’s torso.

She could see the other’s mouths moving but she could hear nothing. She saw Spike say something with a smile then saw Buffy give her a withering look. Then she saw Willow cup her hands round her mouth and shout something.

It took Dawn a moment to realise that Willow had just called, “Dawn! If you can hear me then use your powers bring yourself into phase with us.”

Dawn heard her past self say, “How?”

Dawn managed to pull herself closer. She knew what her past self had to do.

“Concentrate on yourself, make your body real.” she said to her past self.

“Who are you?” the past Dawn asked looking around and failing to see Dawn.

“She can hear me but she can’t see me, I can’t let her know it’s me.” Dawn thought, out loud she just repeated, “Concentrate on yourself, make your body real.”

“Yea, yea.” the past Dawn said, a look of concentration came over her face and she slowly faded from view followed a fraction of a second later the rest of the landscape followed.

Dawn looked around, once again she felt at peace, she floated there for what seemed like days just lying there.

After what seemed like ten days Dawn heard a cacophony of voices, she concentrated and she was able to discern five separate voices. Buffy’s, Willow’s, Spike’s, Tara’s and her own.

Then she heard her own voice call out, “QUIET! Tara, what happened?”

Suddenly she knew what she was experiencing, “I’m the mysterious voice that’s helped me out over the years.”

“I think the spell slightly backfired.” Dawn heard Tara say.

“You don’t have time for this.” Dawn called to them.

“What was that?” Spike’s voice asked.

“A voice, it’s helped me over the years.” the past Dawn answered.

“Whose voice?” Buffy asked.

“I don’t know.” the past Dawn answered.

“You don’t have time for this.” Dawn repeated.

“Fine, let’s go shut down that gateway.” Dawn said as she took control of the body.

Dawn felt the presence of her four friends and her past self move away as they went to stop the gateway.

“They succeed, thanks to me.” Dawn muttered to herself.

Dawn began moving herself through time giving her past selves a helping hand when and where they needed it.

Once she had finished, Dawn again felt at peace, she rested for what seemed like years before a thought entered her mind.

“What am I? I can’t be a soul because I was an angel and then I was forced back into a mortal body.” Dawn thought to herself, “My soul should have been destroyed, so how am I alive, or whatever it is that I am.”

Dawn floated on for a time just thinking about that question, and remembering…

“Is this blood?” Dawn asked in a dazed state.

Joyce and Giles both turned to look at Dawn.

“Dawn!” cried Buffy.

“Oh, baby.” Joyce cried as she and Buffy rushed over to her.

“What did you do?!” Buffy demanded.

“This is blood, isn’t it? It can’t be me. I’m not a key.” Dawn saw Buffy’s shocked look, “I’m not a thing.”

“Oh, sweetie, no. Wha-what is this all about?” Joyce asked.

“What am I?” Dawn asked grimly, before tears began forming in her eyes, “Am I real? Am I anything?”

“The key is not directly described in any known literature, but all research indicates an energy matrix vibrating at a dimensional frequency beyond normal human perception. Only those outside reality can see the key’s true nature.” Dawn read from Giles notes, “Outside reality. What’s that mean?”

“Mm. Second-sight blokes, mostly.” Spike answered as he put a cigarette in his mouth, “Or even just your run-of-the-mill lunatics.”

Spike takes his seat beside Dawn as she began to get an expression of revelation.

Dawn remembered the crazed security guard at the hospital.

“There!” he said pointing at Dawn, “There’s no one in there.”

And then the crazy man outside the Magic Box, “I know what you are.” he had said.

“What else does it say about this key? Is it made out of gold? Maybe we can hock it, split the take.” Spike interrupted her thoughts.

“Um,” Dawn read from the book, “The key is also susceptible to necromanced animal detection, particularly those of canine or serpent construct.”

Dawn remembered the snake-creature Glory had sent, as Spike took the book from her.

Spike frowned at the book, ” ‘The monks possessed the ability to transform energy, bend reality.’ Blah, blah, blah.” Spike looked at Dawn, “Good lord, Giles writes as dull as he talks, doesn’t he?” then back to the book, ” ‘They started work. But the Council … has suggested … to us that they were interrupted. Presumably by … Glory.’ ” Dawn continued to look into the distance, ” ‘They obviously did manage to accomplish the taste … accomplish the task. They had to be certain the Slayer would protect it with her life. So they sent the key to her … in human form. In the form of a sister.”

Dawn had a look of shock on her face

“Huh! I guess that’s you, nibblet.” Spike said looking at her.

“What if my soul isn’t quite the same as a normal one?” Dawn asked herself.

“It isn’t.” came a booming voice, “And I was wondering how long it would take you to realise that.”

“Who are you?” Dawn asked looking round but not seeing anything.

“You don’t recognise your own sister?” came the voice again, this time however it was less booming and more like the voice Dawn knew was her sister’s.

“Buffy?” Dawn asked.

“Yes.” came Buffy’s voice as Dawn saw a form beginning to take shape right in front of her.

“How? Why?” Dawn asked.

“When the monks made you, they took parts of me and made them into you.” Buffy said.

“We share souls?” Dawn asked still trying to grasp the concept.

“Not quite.” Buffy said, “Our souls are joined, like twins who are born sharing internal organs, we are one, yet we are two..”

“So what does that mean?” Dawn asked.

“It means that when we are together we can do anything.” Buffy said.

“We can save all the angels?” Dawn asked.

“If we want.” Buffy said.

“Do we want?” Dawn asked.

“I do, what about you?” Buffy asked.

“Definitely.” Dawn said smiling.

“Then let’s go.” Buffy said.

“Okay, just one small question.” Dawn said.

“What?” Buffy asked.

“How?” Dawn asked looking round, “I can’t se any doors or roads or paths or anything.”

Buffy laughed and placed a hand on Dawn’s cheek, “Through love.”

Dawn felt the love emanating from somewhere deep within Buffy, she grasped it and she pulled it to her. It was then that Dawn noticed a glowing rectangle about the size of a door.

Buffy stepped towards it, then turned and raised an eyebrow at Dawn.

Dawn stepped through the door, not knowing what she was getting herself into.