Blood, Tears and Wings of Bone

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer story by Tori Morris

Pull poison from blood.
Flush tubes with water.

Teach bony protrusions to be wings.
  - from Escape Velocity by Andy Young


Disclaimer: I don't own them, which... really sucks. Sorry. Anyhow, they belong to Wheadon.
Notes: For Mosca's Freeverse challenge. I got really crazy loose with the interpretation, but hey!
Pairing: Dawn/Rona
Setting: Post-Chosen
Feedback: Ooh, please? tori[at]


Pull poison from blood.

She still remembers the day that Giles called her up, late at night. Ronalisa, did she remember her, was going to be coming in less than an hour, at Heathrow. All the other Watchers were busy, it would have to be her sent to fetch the Slayer.

Dawn had never liked Rona, before. She was one of a hundred million annoyances, just bothersome enough to have learned her name. A momentary ally in a fit of madness that sent her sister into the streets. A bad choice, one of many, and now she wondered, which (if any) of her choices was the one that led her sister away. Later, a more permanent ally, one whom she needed to aid, if only to once more fight the good fight.

And after she picked up the broken girl at the airport, a mirror reflection of her missing family. Dawn wondered how she had the sense of mind to call Giles and get a plane ticket, when she hadn't had the sense of mind to pack, or to wash the dust out of her hair.

Dawn takes her to the apartment, that she supposedly shares with Buffy. In truth, all the spaces around her are more defined by her absence now, than any actual existence. Rona brings life to the place, even if it is sad and tragic life. By the fireplace, on the second night, Rona tells her about staking her father; in turn, Dawn tells her about resurrection spells, and if she puts a hint of warning in her story, then perhaps it's all for the best.

In this Slayer's eyes, she sees a distant reflection of the joy that once lived in Buffy's. She also sees the darkness, crouching all around it like a tiny candle, to be snuffed. It hurts her; of all the battles they've faced and won, the only ones that continue to beat them are the ones inside.

Is it the Slayer, dancing beneath the surface of mind and body, or is the unnamed darkness something less easy to define, something in all of them? Buffy blamed it on the Slayer, always. Dawn decides that night that she doesn't know, and doesn't care. She's fought enemies before, with little research.

And if that night, the African-American Slayer becomes her personal battle-ground, well, so be it.


Flush tubes with water.

Buffy sweeps back into London four months later, and the first notice she has is waking up to the sight of Buffy and Rona, using the sides of the kitchen island as their trenches. She settles them out at the high cost of her Slayer finding a hotel room, until her sister disappears once more.

She takes Buffy out to lunch, one of the restaurants a short tube stop from the Council. Dawn feels obligated, but just like the short, every few month calls from a father who barely remembers her, the feeling of hope is buried deep below. When they order, she makes sure to have the waitress bring a glass of wine with her meal.

Buffy says very little of import to Dawn Summers, and much of import to Council business. She talks about South America: how crime-ridden, how sad, how she thinks she and her girls are making a real difference. Buffy also tells her about running briefly into Dru. Dawn perks up at the mention of Drusilla, and part of her, the part that remains loyal to a now dusted vampire, is glad when Buffy says she got away.

Buffy glows in the late afternoon sunlight, just now breaking through the clouds above. She has an exotic sort of fashion about her, with her clothes brand-new from Rio boutiques, and heads turn as they make their way. Dawn wonders what her girls think; if the Council provides them with a platnum card to buy nice clothes with too. She decides it was probably a personal gift from Giles, but she'll never ask.

Buffy says a few polite words about the library, when she shows it off. Dawn has spent months, in between training Rona, to head this particular rebuilding effort, and she tries not to be too disappointed at Buffy's lack of interest. Her sister was never into books, she mentally reminds herself, and she gives a shrug in response to Andrew's sigh on the way out.

They go back to the quiet, almost dead apartment, and Buffy ignores how the guest room is no longer for a guest. The Slayer Emiritus's grudges run deep, and Rona's name never passes her lips, although by the end of the night Dawn knows all of the names of the girls in Buffy's school. Even though her sister pauses little to ask how she is, she treasures every moment, every brief exchange, every momentary concern.

The golden Slayer spends much of her remaining week in meetings, or shopping in London, and they go out dancing every night. A habit she's picked up in Rio, she says, but it makes Dawn happy to amble home with her at night, a sheen of sweat on their exposed skin, and carefree. Buffy never takes a stake on these excursions, and even when she disappears without her, for hours, she never comes home with dust on her tanned skin.

The night her sister leaves, Dawn begs her to stay with her, in London. Sister Marie at the Vatican is just itching for a chance to help the slayers, and could be in Rio tommorrow night. Buffy sighs, but not without looking truly torn, if for just a moment, before explaining sacred duty and international sisterhood yet again. Dawn slips out of the room, and wonders why this international sisterhood isn't as important, and never was.

She cries on her bed, and then touches up her makeup so she never knows. Dawn kisses and hugs her sister goodbye as she gets in the taxi, and drives off.

Rona creeps back into their apartment at midnight, freshly coated in a fine layer of what can only be vamp dust. She finds her sitting on the couch in front of the television, staring vacantly at one of the 24 hour news channels and crying her eyes out.

When she asks why, Dawn doesn't say it's because Buffy radiates joy, even in the darkness.


Teach bony protrusions to be wings.

And so the months pass, and summer fades into fall which slams into a cold, rainy and wet winter all too soon. Buffy visits once more, for a classic American Thanksgiving with what remains of the old gang. Dawn fought for Christmas, but Buffy wanted to spend it with her girls. She decides to be thrilled that this turn sees a Buffy willing to let bygones be bygones, at least long enough for pumpkin pie.

And so Andrew comes with his latest lover, and Robin and Faith fly in from Cleveland. Giles takes a break from work, and Willow teleports, although she casts a depressive, lonely pallor on the whole thing. Xander doesn't come, but then Xander is busy with his wife and making new traditions, and who saw that coming? They chuckle that Xander finally found his Slayer; it just took them activating over two hundred.

And so Rona is also given a blanket Buffy permission to come to a Thanksgiving dinner held in their own apartment. Dawn is impressed at the overtures her sister and the others make. It as if, for one moment, a good piece of Sunnydale is back; Sunnydale as it never was and never would be.

When dinner is finished, Buffy slips away with Willow and Giles to talk, and Dawn figures she won't be back this night, at least. The kissing is new enough to still surprise her at the softness of Rona's lips. They taste like the cinnamon and cream from dessert.

Dawn's lover is everything she wanted and hadn't known to find. They laugh in the good times, and fight off the darkness in the bad. And best of all they do it together.

"You got along better this time," Rona says, tracing her cheek. "No tears. Way to go."

Dawn laughs. "Yeah, well, it's harder to get lost in Buffy's shininess, when you've captured a bit of it for yourself. And speaking of getting along, she didn't shoot you a single evil glance tonight. Way to go."

And now it's Rona's turn to laugh, while Dawn admires the chiseled muscle and bone that runs down her back, and the fullness of her breasts, round and dark against the plush white carpet. And then she turns serious, but not too serious. "Do you think she knows?"

"I think, that even if she did I wouldn't care." Dawn says this with all the bravado she can muster, and she is grateful that Rona decides that bliss is better than making it an issue tonight.

And so the world isn't what Dawn thought it would be, when the final battle was done. For there's still so much to fight out there, so much to learn and know. She's learning, really learning for the very first time, that the darkness exists so that when there's light, you know it when you see it.



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