Title: Until We Met Again
Disclaimer: The characters from Buffy and Angel belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy. Anything resembling Tolkien belongs to him and his estate. No profit is being made. Trust me.
Rating: FR-15 (There is femslash so that may raise the rating for folks.)
Spoilers: General references of various seasons. Some are to the comics. Slight spoilers to LOTRs and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.
Challenge: No 3104 Holiday Ficathon Entry for DreamSmith
Summary: Dawn's past as the key and the usual hijinks make for an interesting Christmas.
Note: Sorry for being tardy. I had to reinstall my modem. :o I never ever ever write any kind of slash. I guess there's a first time for anything.There were times the gods were not after her. She could float through the sky and watch the river-daughter glide beneath her. Eyes the color of forget-me-nots gazed at her, sad at their distance. A sudden rumble echoed beneath the swimmer. Water shot up, elevating the river-daughter into the clouds. Closer and closer the lady rose until her hand was able to touch the circuitous form of energy...
Dawn woke up with a frown. The Dingoes Ate My Baby riffs from her alarm clock didn't quite suit her mood. Ever since Sunnyhell imploded, Dawn received flashes of her life before the monks fashioned her from Buffy. But it was nothing like the dream she just had. Dawn had never felt that complete before. Who was that woman?
Turning off Gelt of Steel
, Dawn laid back in bed intending to find out.
Connor and Dana bursting into her room sparring took away any passage to slumber. Despite this, Dawn was still grateful for that introduction Willow set up between her and Connor years ago. Who else could she talk to into the wee hours of morning about false memories, destroyed Californian towns and how they've altered their futures?
Dana was a test. A test most of Dawn's watcher peers didn't want to take. Yet she was responsible with her meds and always attended Miss Harkness's Wiccan healing sessions. With time Dana was able to reconcile past slayers' memories with her own. Still, those memories soaked through her more than the average slayer. Perhaps this was why Dawn and her instantly clicked at the new WC Headquarters. Dana would have no other watcher.
As Dawn slowly got out of bed, Dana pinned Connor to the wall. Men still brought out the more primal instincts in Dawn's slayer. Dawn grumbled. "What is it this time?"
"He's not playing fair." Dana said through gritted teeth. "You were supposed to be the vampire. Vampire do not pull the shades open in an attempt to blind the slayer."
Connor cocked his head to the side and turned Dana to the wall, switching their places. "If you want to be a good hunter, you have to be ready for surprises."
In response to Connor's comment, a feral looking Dana flipped him to the ground. Dawn walked over a laughing Connor, throwing her hands up in the air. "You know what? It's Christmas. We share an apartment. Just us. No Buffy, no Giles, no Angel lecturing us." Dawn glanced at her alarm clock. "At least until their flights come back."So guess what? I'm going to shower. I'm going to put on some clothes that don't just fit my toe anymore. Then I'm going to open up some freaking presents." Dawn grinned. "Anyone with me?"
Connor and Dana glanced at one another, then steadily marched towards the fir tree.
Dawn turned the hot water off noticing for the first time that her shower door was completely fogged up. Wiping it in circle, Dawn peered through. Instead of her bathroom there was a battlefield. Men were clinging swords together. This dude with pointy ears was totally kicking ass with his arrows. And hey--wasn't that an oliphant? Dawn backed away from the shower door. How did she know what an oliphant was? Dawn whimpered and closed her eyes. Soothing, feminine words dripped from her ears as if they were the very water she bathed in. Dawn opened her eyes. The battlefield was gone.
Getting impatient with the length of Dawn's shower time, Dana and Connor started opening their gifts. Dawn walked in just in time to see Dana open her gift from Connor. It was a saber. Dana sniffed it and smiled at him. Connor in turn whispered in her ear making Dana blush. As soon as the pair saw Dawn they pulled apart.
Dawn pretended like she didn't see their exchange and tore at her gifts. She got four protection spells from Willow, three Turkish books from Giles, two diamond "Niblet" earrings from Spike and a Thricewise torture comic from Xander. Dawn reached to get whatever Janice got her when a knock came at the door.
Connor opened the door to find Nina in front of it. Without warning, she sank to the floor, grabbing at Connor's pant leg. A sculpture of Connor as The Destroyer fell out of her bag and rolled into the apartment. Dana snatched it and gave the clothed rear an appraisal.
"Connor, please." Nina breathed.
"Okay, the Oedipal thing is a chapter I'd like to close."
"No, you idiot." Nina choked. "I'm having cravings. Werewolf cravings. But it's daytime. I-I need your help. I'd contact Angel but he's taming another dragon."
Connor attempted to escort Nina into the apartment only to be thrown by a force that sent Nina flying into the Henley sand. The trio rushed to the woman's aide only to be confronted by a dingy man with a net draped over his shoulder.
"Gib Cain..." Dawn spat out with venom.
"You've heard of me." He grunted. "I'm surprised. Business hasn't been good. Especially after one of these creatures became a rock star. Can't just grab one during the full moon no more. The fans get lethal." Cain paused, giving Dawn a once over. "Hey, you're that slayer's kid sister. Changed since I saw you skipping through Lover's Lane. You've filled out."
Connor lunged at Cain before Dawn had a chance to. They fell to the left, giving Dawn and Dana a clear view of Nina. Unconscious. In werewolf form. Dawn grabbed one of Willow's spells and began chanting it at Nina as Dana went to attack Cain.
Cain began laughing like a maniac as Connor put a choke hold on him. "You're not going to win buddy." He gasped. "I didn't slip cursed moonstones into the chick's gingerbread to get beaten by some punk." And with that, Cain pulled a gun out, pointing it at Connor's head. "I'm getting my fur."
Dana threw her saber, hitting Cain in the center of his palm and ruining his pistol. The werewolf poacher cried out in agony but he didn't quit, pulling out a knife and limping towards a chanting Dawn and Nina.
The slayer jumped on the attacker's back, clawing at his face. Cain threw Dana off of him and kicked sand in her face. Dana yelped and stumbled towards Connor. He tended to Dana, his urge to kill Cain thwarted over his concern for her. "Get to Dawn." Dana whispered.
Dawn kept up with the spell, a hazel glaze forming around herself and into Nina in an attempt to save Nina from herself. The werewolf was waking up but the haze kept her falling back asleep. This was good. But not good enough. Her friends needed protection. Dawn continued to chant, looking towards the skies, begging them for help.
In a flash, a lady donned in blue reeds appeared out of the ocean. Cain walked towards the woman, pointing his knife at her. "Move along." He muttered. "This is none of your concern."
The lady from the ocean stared through the poacher. Suddenly a wave of water hit Cain, somehow forcing him into the air. He fell back into the sea. Hard.
Without missing a beat she glided towards Nina, making a gesture with her hand. The artist slowly came back to her true human form. "Fuck", Nina gasped, covering up her nudity. "Angel bought me that outfit. He has taste. Tim Gunn taste."
Dawn literally gave Nina the shirt off her back. There was something about their rescuer that made Dawn anything but modest. The lady's eyes locked with Dawn's and sparkled. But then she noticed Dana's pain and glided towards her. Her thumbs brushed against Dana's eyelids and the sand flew out of her eyes.
Dana's eyes widened, finally able to see the woman clearly. ":Goldbereth--No, Goldberry! The river-woman's daughter." Dawn gasped, inexplicably getting visions of her dream. Connor just draped his jacket over Dawn and stared at Dana quizzically.
"First slayer memories." Dana explained. "Not all the creatures were horrid. In fact some were quite beautiful, making the slayer feel cared for after a weary battle. But this is odd. You're always by Bombadil's side. Where is he?"
"Dana!" Dawn breathed. "She knew her, not you. Maybe she's not comfort--"
Goldberry walked to Dawn's side, whispering in her ear. "I've known you." Dawn shuddered as Goldberry turned to the group. "Old Man Willow spread some foul seeds across this earth. Tom has to tame them all. I cannot remember when I saw him last." Dawn could sense at one time this bothered Goldberry. But that time had past.
Nina gathered her shredded clothes and headed for the door, silently thanking the trio for buying the home on the first floor. "I don't know how to thank you enough for saving us."
Connor bowed before he wrapped his arm around Dana. "Would you like to come in Goldberry? We've got..." Connor was too exhausted to go into detail. "Food."
Dawn looked up into her window and grinned at the sight above her: Connor and Dana kissing under the mistletoe. She was happy for them but the sight before her transfixed her even more. Goldberry was washing the remnants of Nina's clothes. It was a mundane act, save for Goldberry's hums that made rain hit the spots of her clothes that were bloody.
Not knowing how to say it, Dawn just blurted it out. "You say you know me. How?"
"You dreamed of the river-daughter this morning, did you not?"
Dawn winced. "You. Oh of course it was you. How didn't I know?"
"Dreams only give you a clouded vision." Goldberry murmured. "At times it can lead you down the right path. I had dreams of leaving the river-woman. Had I known where that would take me. maybe I would have treaded down another road."
Dawn's eyes watered. "Who are you, Goldberry?"
"Please don't be vague." Dawn squeaked. "I need to know who you are."
Goldberry hung Nina's clothes up and floated towards Dawn, holding her hand before she could protest. (Not that Dawn would have.) "Let me tell you a tale. A tale of a woman conceived by the river and the seasons. She led a peaceful life filled with beauty. But she wanted to see the world. The river-woman grew angry at her daughter's secret wish.
One morning she used the sea to push the river-daughter up. To frighten her. But she was not afraid. For she saw something in the heavens. Something kinetic. She had to touch it. Once she did, her body shook and convulsed. Then suddenly the river-daughter felt sated."
"Never had she felt such a feeling but she was pulled back to the river as the mystical ball of energy faded away. The river-daughter thought she was destined to be alone until the master of wood and hill dipped into her pool. They bantered and he seized her, claiming her as his bride. She accepted him, grateful to finally have an adventure. But soon it was only the husband on these quests and the bride was left to tend to the house and the warriors they would discover. She became used to this routine until she tended to some wee travelers that Old Man Willow almost devoured. The look the wee leader gave her as they parted reminded her of the river-woman, whom she had not seen since she was claimed. The river-woman's cries could be heard every season but her daughter could not go to her. She was with her master now. Soon this disturbed her and when Old Man Willow polluted this world, she became relieved. The farther the husband was, the farther away his claim was.
The river-daughter began to think of that kinetic orb and wanted to find it. It had moved her so! She searched the world, speaking to all of the old ones. (Her husband was so entranced by the trees he failed to notice!) Finally, a fallen god took her to a dying monk. Out of fear, he told her that what she encountered was The Key and that she was in the form of a woman. The last slayer's sister." Goldberry's hand tightened. "I've finally found you Dawn. I had hoped I would discover you during better events."
"But it's Christmas." Dawn smiled. "And you did save our lives. You can't get a better re-introduction than that!"
"That is true. What does your ilk say? 'Peace on earth. Good will towards...women?'"
Dawn beamed. "Close enough." The Key glanced at their hands. "What does this all mean, Goldberry? Us here. Together now? Do we spin dreidels when Willow arrives. Or is there something more meaningful we could do today?"
Goldberry gazed at the mistletoe through Dawn''s window, smiling thoughtfully. "We could do anything you like, Dawn. We have some time to discover what we are to one another. I could claim you. Easily. But I want this to be your choice. Any choice you shall make will be wise, Dawn."
Dawn looked up at the mistletoe as well. The Key locked eyes with the river-daughter. Tentatively, Dawn gave Goldberry a gentle kiss. Goldberry returned in kind. Vibrations went through the women like they must have when time began. "Shiver me timbers." Dawn whispers.
Goldberry gave a warm smile. "It is the same as it was." This time Goldberry initiated the kiss.
"Dawn?" Buffy slammed the taxi's door. "There's blood on the sand. And is that a body in the oc---" Buffy dropped her gifts to the ground at the sight in front of her. Her little sister was glowing and kissing what appeared to be a naiad! "Dawnie?"