Ten Years After

Chapter 20

Buffy and Dawn ate in a small but smart Parisian bistro. They talked about the sort of things that a Slayer and a Watcher can discuss in a small Parisian bistro – clothes stores, Buffy’s sons, shoe stores, Buffy’s husband, department stores, Buffy’s visit to Willow, and more stores – things that anyone could overhear.

Only when they got back to the hotel did conversation become more specific. Buffy had wanted Dawn to ask to be transferred out to her group of Slayerettes in Sacramento in the past, and mentioned it again.

‘Probably because she knows Spike would be less likely to come and see me out there,’ Dawn thought, but didn’t phrase her refusal in quite those terms. She said that she wanted to keep working with Giles, especially as she was his current research subject, and also she pointed out that it would be difficult to persuade girls in their teens or early twenties that she was senior enough to teach them anything when she looked as if she should still be at college.

There had been a lot of discussion in the early post-Sunnydale days about what would happen now all Potential slayers had become full Slayers. Did the line follow just one Slayer – if so that would logically be Faith, and so would there be no other young Slayer until Faith’s death? Or would the death of any of the Slayers activate another one?

The questions were still unanswered, as it was hard to say whether the new young Slayers who were still being found had occurred at the death of an existing Slayer, or whether they had been pre-pubescent Potentials at the time of the activation, and were only being found now.

Whilst it should have been easy to pair up newly found Slayers with the death of another Slayer if that premise were true, there could well be other unknown Slayers being killed for any number of reasons throughout the world, and so no real answer was yet forthcoming. It would only really be clear when eventually new Slayers were found who had been conceived after the activation, or a minimum age became apparent, showing that no-one born after the activation was being Chosen.

In the long term this was important for the Watchers’ Council, because they had had to build an operation to cope with many Slayers, yet might eventually have to wind things down again to cope with just one. No-one yet knew. However it had occurred to Dawn that she might be one of the few of the current Watchers who would be around and working when the answers were all clear. It might be very odd to work with Slayers who were all in their sixties!

However that was not part of the conversation with Buffy.

Buffy accepted that Dawn did not want to request a transfer to Sacramento; that she might love her sister, but she did not want to live in her pocket for a number of reasons. It was a discussion they had had before, but this time there were more reasons on Dawn’s part to stay in Europe; it was almost a case of Buffy going through the motions.

Later Dawn lay in bed listening to Buffy sleeping, her steady breathing and slight movements, and thought about her relationship with her sister. She knew that technically sister was the wrong word, ‘sister’ would mean having a parent or parents in common, but Joyce Summers was the only parent Dawn had ever had, and so she really couldn’t think of Buffy as anything other than her sister. Buffy’s behaviour over the past couple of days was certainly that of a big sister. As long as Dawn was a person, Buffy was her sister.

Dawn slowly realised that actually she felt sorry for Buffy. When Dawn remembered her sister, as she grew up, Buffy had been exciting, mysterious even. She sneaked out of the house when Mommy didn’t know, she had secrets with her friends, and Dawn had wanted to be like Buffy. She would even have settled for being let into whatever Buffy’s secret was. OK, these were implanted memories, but it is how it would have been, and so it is how it was.

In time Dawn had learnt more about Buffy’s ‘other life’ – The Chosen One – One Girl in All the World – Buffy was Very Special, Dawn was the kid sister who got in the way. This didn’t mean that Buffy hadn’t loved Dawn – she had actually died to save Dawn’s life. How much more love could a sister show? But it had been clear to Dawn that all of Buffy’s friends, all the people who were now Dawn’s ‘family’, would have really preferred it if Dawn had died and not Buffy, as long as it wouldn’t have given Glory what she wanted.

No-one ever put it quite like that, but that was the truth of it. The Slayer was much more important than any kid sister. When Willow brought Buffy back there had been much rejoicing, eventually even from Spike who had been so sure that it was a bad thing. When it became obvious that Buffy was not just her old self back again Dawn had slowly faded into the background, whilst everyone worried about Buffy. The things she had done because she felt bad had only meant people felt sorrier for Buffy; coping with depression, Slaying, and Dawn-the-nuisance.

Spike had cared about Dawn, but even he spent more time trying to help Buffy, until he had gone, and Dawn had hated him. Hated him for what she had been told he had done to Buffy, and hated him for going away and leaving both of them.

When The First Evil came to Sunnydale Buffy’s role as The Slayer made her the centre of everything that went on – even when Faith arrived in town, everyone knew that Buffy was The Most Chosen One – the Top Slayer.

Buffy had led the troops into that big battle, Dawn wasn’t even one of the Potentials – she was just a kid in the background. After the battle, when Buffy had lost Spike – someone who was obviously very important to her – and had only just made it out herself, Buffy was the central figure of the aftermath. In the middle of all the new Slayers being amazed at their own power, or mourning their recently made friends who had died in the battle, people had still treated Buffy very carefully, Dawn amongst them.

Always Buffy had been the sun around whom everything revolved, Dawn was a minor orbiting planet, maybe only an asteroid – ‘Just call me Sedna,’ she thought wryly.

As the years passed the existence of multiple Slayers allowed Buffy to take a back seat, just as she’d always said she wanted to, but she was still A Slayer, still The Senior Slayer, still the Slayer other Slayers respected and held in awe – she had been the One Girl in All the World – none of the others had ever been that, not even Faith. Dawn was a researcher for the Watchers’ Council, not even a Watcher with her own Slayer, even though this was from choice. Dawn’s main claim to fame was that she was Buffy’s sister.

But suddenly the status quo had been turned upside down, and now she, Dawn, was the centre of attraction. Dawn was The Key, like it or not, and it was beginning to look as if being The Key was every bit as important, if not more so, than being The Chosen One – let alone a partially retired Chosen One amongst Chosen Ones.

Because Buffy lived in happy semi-retirement these days, away from the centre of The Slaying World, Dawn had also become closer to Giles and Willow than was Buffy. People that Buffy had thought of as ‘hers’ were now genuinely Dawn’s friends, they had cared about Dawn before the real significance of The Key began to become clear, and they were willing to stand up to Buffy on Dawn’s behalf.

Then there was Spike.

Never had Buffy claimed that Spike had been the love of her life. But she had always ‘known’ that, if she admitted that vampires could have such emotions, she had been the love of his life (unlife, whatever!).

Dawn had a feeling that in Buffy’s shoes she would have had a tiny part of her that sometimes thought with slight nostalgia of Spike – a vampire who had sought his soul for her, and had burned to dust for her. Wherever he now was, that little bit of Dawn-if-she-had-been-Buffy, would have thought of him sadly dreaming of his Slayer, and still a fool for love. Instead Buffy had discovered by e-picture that he was happily coping without her, and was currently dating her sister.

‘Poor Buffy,’ Dawn thought, ‘my inadvertent mistake with that picture has meant that instead of it being slowly explained, she has had a very rude awakening. Somehow she is no longer the star we are all revolving about – not that I am either, but I am probably a more important planet than she is right now.

‘She often said that she didn’t really want to be so important, didn’t want the responsibility, but it must be hard for her to realise that it’s more about me than her right now – and it will probably stay like that. Her Watcher is my ‘father’, her best-friend has more girl-talks with me than with her, and her ‘hero’ is now my knight in shiny armour. No wonder she isn’t exactly happy. She must feel like spitting in my eye.

‘Still,’ Dawn thought before rolling over and going to sleep herself, ‘I’m not giving Spike up just to make Buffy feel better – but I will try to be nice to her, and not rub any of it in!’

Buffy seemed to have also decided that it was no use saying anything else on the subject of Spike , and when Dawn saw her onto her London-bound train the next morning, they parted on fairly amicable sisterly terms.

Not so amicable that Dawn believed Buffy to be totally accepting of her relationship with Spike, though. She knew that Buffy would try to persuade both Willow and Giles that ‘something should be done about it’, but she was equally sure that they would remain on her side in this argument. Especially with the prophecy that Andrew had found – she must ring Andrew and thank him for that – or, better still, buy him a really good present.

There was, however, something else Dawn had to do. She was determined not to be caught out again, the way she had been with Buffy. Therefore, as soon as Buffy’s train pulled out of the Gare du Nord, Dawn rang Willow.

She told Willow that Buffy’s train had left on time, and Willow said that she was on her way to Waterloo to meet it.

“Will, I have a really big favour to ask you,” Dawn continued. “Could you let Xander know about me? The Highlander Syndrome thing?

“Buffy hadn’t forgotten about The Key thing, just as neither Giles nor you had, even though she wanted it to be something that was all in the past. That might have been the cloaking spells, but I think it was just her desire for me to have an ordinary life.

“I don’t expect Xander has thought about it much since Sunnydale, but I don’t think it will be difficult for you to explain it to him. Um, and now the hard bit. Will, could you fill him in on me and Spike? ‘Cos I think Buffy might try to get him to back her on this, and I don’t want Xander turning up all ‘Spike – horrible, evil monster trying to corrupt my innocent Dawnie’. If anyone seduced anyone it was not Spike seducing me! But Buffy wouldn’t have much difficulty putting that sort of spin on it for Xander!”

“You’re right, Dawn,” Willow said straight away. “Leave Xander to me and I’ll make sure he knows about the Highlander thing clearly first, then explain how Spike is trying to help you come to terms with it. The smoochies and things I’ll leave till last! But unless Buffy is on the phone to him this minute, I’ll get in first. And if she has beaten me I’ll be so soon behind her that he won’t turn up on your doorstep for sure!”

“Oh thank you, Will!” Dawn said with relief. “I think that earns you at least two sets of sexy underwear!”

Sexy underwear had not been mentioned when Dawn had been shopping with Buffy, but now, she decided, was the time to look not only in the shop Willow had told her about, but a few others as well. ‘Pity I can’t say thank you to Andrew with silk frillies,’ Dawn thought, ‘but perhaps not!’

Remembering Willow’s comment about the cream basque being more something that she would wear for a man than a woman, Dawn first found a beautiful set in cream silk trimmed with antique lace for her friend. A balconette bra and French knickers seemed a good start, and there was a beautiful teddy in the same fabric. A soft and silky teddy somehow seemed likely to appeal to both Willow and a female lover, but would Willow want the garter belt to complete the set? Were women into other women wearing stockings, or was it just a male thing? In the end Dawn decided to buy it, and cream lace stockings as well – after all it would be easier for Willow to have them and choose not to wear them than to try and get them later.

Dawn wondered what Spike would like her in. Was he a basque, or even a corset, man? Stockings? His decision to get Dawn to keep her high-heeled sandals on when they had been in bed together after the trip to the Folies Bergeres, and the way he had kissed all the way up her legs from her toes, made her think he might quite like stockings and what the English called suspenders.

Pity the person most likely to know the answer was Buffy. Although Dawn didn’t think that Buffy would know anyway, from what she knew of her sister’s relationship with Spike. She could ring him up and ask him – but that would spoil any surprise.

The boyfriend who had been an English Lit. student had rather liked stockings – he had been the one who had explained that in Britain ladies’ stockings were held in place by a suspender belt – garters were purely the band that could go around the top of a stocking, mainly worn for show. Two nations divided by a single language again.

Her mind half on Willow, half on herself, Dawn spent the rest of the day indulging in Parisian underwear. She decided that with Willow’s pale skin and red hair pale pinks and blues would look insipid. Bright fuchsia pink probably wasn’t a good look on Willow either – in fact, she thought, bright colours were probably all out for Willow, but some of the bright colours might look good on herself.

There were some very ‘little girlie’ sets, with polka dots, or cartoon patterns, and not only were they too young looking for Willow, but Dawn decided that she wouldn’t want anything for herself that made her look like a teenager either. She realised, sadly, that some of the underwear was probably ‘too old’ for her body, if not for her mind – she would look like a child dressing up in her mother’s things.

Eventually she bought Willow a second set of bra, pants and chemise in a dark wine colour – the pants a low hipster style in almost sheer fabric that Dawn thought would make Willow look fuckable even to her! They had the same set in black, and she was tempted to buy it for herself – although black perhaps still had overtones of Drusilla – but the dark blue probably didn’t, she thought, as she had it wrapped for herself.

Back in her room she put the two gift wrapped boxes for Willow into her case, and spread her own purchases out on the bed – it was truly amazing how many Euros you could spend on so little fabric, she thought. Now what to wear tonight? The dark blue, the turquoise, a teddy, or even a basque? In the end she went for a bra and pants set in cream silk trimmed with gold thread and ribbons, and completed the look with a garter belt, (suspender belt, or even ‘une porte-jarretelles’ as it had been bought in France!) and matching stockings, thinking ‘Let’s see if I’m right about Spike and stockings!’

Over the top she put a simple jumper and calf-length flared skirt, and waited for her date to arrive.


  • Chapter 21

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.