Dawn gasped in pain but still struggled to get to the portal, dragging her right leg painfully behind her she limped towards the portal.
“Ma’am please!” the watcher pleaded.
Dawn ignored him and kept moving to the portal, she was almost in range.
A radio crackled, “Take her out!”
“Affirmative,” the watcher replied as he aimed his gun at Dawn again, this time at her head.
Dawn was almost to the portal when the shot rang out and she felt a pinch on the side of her head followed quickly by a sudden numbness as she pitched forward to land with her head just inside the portal.
Dawn began to concentrate on opening a portal, it always took a lot more effort to open one where there wasn’t a hot spot. Suddenly Dawn found that it was easier. She had help. She had her sister. She had Buffy.
The portal sprang to life and Dawn and Buffy bundled the other three through.
Dawn felt her sister’s thoughts as to where they were going. “We’re going to the Angel Directorship, they have the best hospital facilities in the entire timeline.” Dawn thought to herself, but she knew that Buffy had the same thought, as if any thought Dawn, herself, had was duplicated in her sister’s mind. Maybe it was, she thought, we share souls maybe we share more than that.
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.
Minutes later in the Great Hall of the Angel Directorship building Dawn found herself looking a an image recording of the object Buffy had found.
It appeared to be an odd shaped archway that seemed to be made of an iron like compound with scrawling writing around the edges, writing which Dawn recognised.
“Shevlack?” Dawn said the name of the dead demonic language as if it were a swear word.
“Yes, we believe so.” Mary said as she came up behind her, “We have a team quarantining the dimension, we have no idea what could happen.”
“Everything’s going.” Dawn managed to croak out.
Buffy scooted over to place an arm round her sister, “It’s alright Dawny.”
“So the rip won’t have reached, say, three hundred years ago?” Spike said, he had a funny look on his face.
“Probably not.” Buffy said wondering where Spike was going with that train of thought.
Spike seemed to realise this so he began outlining his thought, “Dawn can move through time.”
In front of them was a door, a plain wooden door, the paint was even curling off the top left corner. Dawn strode forward and opened it with such force that it almost came off it’s hinges.
Through the door the trio could see two figures fighting, one in a long leather coat with platinum hair, the other a vibrant redhead with a purple sweater.
“Stop time, Dawn.” Buffy told her.
“How?” Dawn asked before she realised that she already knew the answer.
“I’m not entirely sure, I just wanted to get as far away from those soldiers as possible, here hang on a sec.” Dawn concentrated on her had and it began to glow green, it cast enough light to see they were still in the bomb shelter they had been in less that ten minutes earlier.
“We’re back here again?” Spike asked in annoyance.
“No, we’re not, look there’s no lights or power hooked up.” Dawn said indicating the roof, “I think we’ve come back in time to before this was a bomb shelter.”
“Well lets get outside and find out when we are.” Spike said taking her by the hand and pulling her behind him.
“Oh, hi Spike,” Dawn turned and looked at Spike coming up the path.
“I was worried about you, ” Spike said softly as he settled down beside Dawn.
Dawn looked at Spike with her still stunning spectrum blue eyes, leaned over and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek.
“I just wanted some time to think.”
Dawn was helping Willow unpack her things, “My advice to you is do exactly what everyone else does all the time.”
“Do what everyone else does, wear what everyone else wears, say what everyone else says,” Dawn told her.
“People may say something to you, you don’t understand. Just don’t be afraid to keep your mouth shut and pretend like you know what they’re saying.”
“You know, Dawn, I’ve been to college before,” Willow laughed.
“People may say something like “My protein window closes in an hour.” Just nod and smile. Mm-hmm. Turns out it has something to do with fitness.”
“It’s about power,” Buffy told Dawn, “Who’s got it. Who knows how to use it. So…” she tossed a stake to Dawn, “Who’s got the power, Dawn?”
Dawn sighed, “Well, I’ve got the stake.”
“The stake is not the power,” Buffy told her
“But it’s gonna be, though. I see it,” Buffy said with tears in her eyes.
“See what?” Dawn asked.
Dawn looked touched.
“Things have really sucked lately, but it’s all gonna change. And I wanna be there when it does.” Buffy started crying again, “I want to see my friends happy again. And I want to see you grow up. The woman you’re gonna become. Because she’s gonna be beautiful.”
Justin suddenly appears behind Dawn, “Trick or treat.”
Dawn screamed and ran off, but Justin grabbed her by the back of her jacket and pulled her to the ground. He landed on top of her, straddling her, holding her hands down.
“Give me something good to eat,” Justin said.
“I thought you really liked me,” Dawn said with a little sob.
He let go of her hands and sat up a little, still straddling her, “I do. And you like me too.”
Dawn sighed and nodded, “I do.”
Doc’s knife cut a thin slash through Dawn’s clothes and her skin. Dawn cried out and sobbed in pain.
“Shallow cuts… shallow cuts…” Doc said over Dawn’s sobbing.
He made another cut and Dawn cried out again.
“Let the blood … flow …” he said as the blood drips over Dawn’s toes, “free.”
“Dawn.” Buffy said from behind Doc
“Buffy!” Dawn gasped in pain.
“Buffy, you have to let me go. Blood starts it, and until the blood stops flowing, it’ll never stop.” Dawn cried to her sister.
Buffy stares at Dawn in anguish.
“You know you have to let me. It has to have the blood.” Dawn said tearfully
Buffy gets a realization look on her face and she flashes back to what Spike had said earlier “Cause it’s always got to be blood.” then she flashes to the hospital after Dawn found out she was the Key “It’s Summers blood. It’s just like mine.” Buffy had told her. Then Buffy remembered the first slayer “Death is your gift.”
Buffy thought she heard the first slayers voice again “Death is your gift.”
Buffy frowned and turned around slowly.
In the distance, holes seemed to be opening in the sky. The sky is growing lighter as the sun tries to rise.
Buffy looked peaceful as she turned back to Dawn, who stared wide-eyed.
“Buffy … no!” Dawn cried.
“Dawnie, I have to.” Buffy calmly told her.
“No!” Dawn cried again
“Listen to me. Please, there’s not a lot of time, listen,” Buffy held Dawn by the upper arms and said, “Dawn, listen to me. Listen, I love you. I will *always* love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles … tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I’m okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong.”
Dawn begins to cry. Lightning continues to crackle behind them.
“Dawn, the hardest thing in this world … is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.” Buffy said as she stroked the side of Dawn’s face, before kissing her on the cheek. Dawn continued to cry.
Buffy turned. In slow-motion, she ran down the platform as Dawn stayed there crying.
Buffy swan-dived off the end of the platform and into the portal.
Dawn watched, sobbing.
“Because I love you. You’re my sister.” Buffy said looking at her
“No I’m not.” Dawn said.
“Yes you are.” she lifted Dawn’s arm, her arm and hand are bloody from the cut’s she had made earlier, “Look, it’s blood. It’s Summers blood.”
Buffy pressed her hand against the tire-iron wound on her shoulder, wincing a little. She clasped her bloody hand in Dawn’s bloody hand.
“It’s just like mine. It doesn’t matter where you came from, or, or how you got here. You are my sister.”
\\Lord make me an instrument of your peace\\
\\Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon…\\
\\Where there is doubt, faith…\\
\\Where there is despair, hope \\
\\Where there is darkness, light\\
\\And where there is sadness, joy…\\
\\O divine master grant that I may…\\
\\…not so much seek to be consoled as to console…\\
\\…to be understood as to understand…\\
\\…to be loved as to love…\\
\\For it is in giving that we receive\\
\\And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned\\
\\And it’s in dying that we are born-\\
\\…to eternal life…\\