Fic: Waiting Rooms and Winchesters 1/4
Disclaimer: Not my characters or universe.
Characters: Buffy, Dean, Dawn, Sam, Xander, Angel, Spike, Willow, Giles, Andrew
Pairings: Xander/Dawn, Buffy/Angel
Summary: When Dawn gets hurt on a run of the mill patrol, Buffy meets a man in the waiting room of the hospital who seems to understand everything she’s going through. -Little siblings need to be locked in rooms where bad things never happen and monsters don’t exist.
There had been so much blood. Dawn’s long brown hair had been red with it in some parts. Her face covered and her eyes, blue, unflinchingly staring at Buffy. Xander had been freaking out his hand on her face, begging her to stay awake. Buffy just met her eyes and stared, unable to move.
In the past ten years, since Dawn was twelve and found out about slayers and vampires, Buffy had tried her best to keep her in a world where she could be as young and carefree as Buffy had ever wanted to be. But after Tara died, and a bigger piece of Dawn’s life was cracked open, by a normal, human, man, Buffy knew she had to prepare Dawnie for evil, but still did her damnedest to keep Dawn and mortal danger as far apart as possible. She even attempted to chloroform her sister away from The First, but she underestimated seventeen year old Dawn, and they had been fighting the evil together ever since.
It also didn’t help when Xander and Dawn fell in love because now Dawn was wherever he was, and Xander had been Buffy’s right hand man for too many years to count, which put Dawn in the thick of things more than ever. For the past year and a half, there had been broken arms, concussions, scars, and blood. Dawnie was a 5’4 and 120 lbs. soaking wet. She didn’t have any superpowers, and the only element she ever had in a fight was surprise. Which worked on the random fledge vampire fairly well, but on this patrol there had been twenty of them. Surprise hadn’t held out for her when they had realized she wasn’t a slayer and separated her from Xander. They had gone to town on her too frail body, and poor Dawnie hadn’t even stood a chance.
Buffy wasn’t sure whose screams had been harder to hear, Dawn’s or Xander’s. Her own had been hidden deep under shock as when she saw all the blood surrounding her only living family. She had once said her and Dawn were more than sisters, and in that moment she felt it again. It was like a part of her was bleeding out in the middle of bumfuck Ohio, where the nearest hospital was ten minutes away.
Dawn had made it to the emergency room on sheer stubbornness alone, and Xander’s voice cheering her on. He had held her body close to him in the passenger seat as Buffy drove like a maniac across town. Out of the corner of her eye, she had seen his hands frantically trying to keep the blood inside her sister, but they had bit into her in multiple places. Neck, arms, legs, stomach; Dawn was losing it faster than Buffy thought possible. As they speeded up to the double doors, and twenty doctors and nurses rushed her away from them, shouting orders to each other as they went. Buffy and Xander, both covered in her blood, were left behind to wait.
Three hours later, they were still waiting. A doctor had come out and told them they were going to have to operate to repair arteries that had been destroyed. Their wild animal story was holding up pretty well, so with no difficult questions to answer, they were led to a smaller waiting room a couple floors up. It was almost completely empty except for a man sitting hunched in a corner, looking as damaged and worried as Buffy felt. If she wasn’t feeling so shell-shocked, she would have noticed how handsome he was, but she was beyond thinking about cute boys.
“You should call Giles and Willow.”
Xander’s voice sounds hollow.
“I called headquarters when we first came in, maybe we should know more first…” Buffy doesn’t know if she can handle a call like that right now.
“They’ll want to hear about this from us first hand and maybe Willow can teleport and give her some healing help, or whatever it is she can do.”
Buffy hadn’t thought about that. Fifteen years later and she still thinks of the human option in times of crisis, not the magical one. She takes out her cell phone and walks a little closer toward the door.
Willow picks up on the fifth ring, sounding frazzled. Giles and Willow were off in the middle of China taking care of a huge demon infestation that had already killed a couple hundred people. Buffy, Xander, and Dawn are in Ohio dealing the bubbling apocalypse that was moving in quickly. They guarded the hell mouth because Buffy could feel that this one was the Big One, and they had a couple years to prepare, according to Giles.
“Hello?” Willow’s voice almost makes Buffy begin to start sobbing immediately, but she holds back.
“Hey Will.” Her voice is shaky and Willow picks up on her tone within seconds.
“Buffy? What’s wrong? Why are you calling? Isn’t it like 3:00am there?”
“It’s Dawn…” Buffy explains what happened as clearly as she can. How they underestimated the size of the nest, how she had been surrounded by about twenty vamps on her own, and how the other twenty had zeroed in on Xander and then had went for Dawnie. How they had only gotten out because Xander had brought the flame thrower to test it out. She also tells Willow that some of these vamps were the different kind, the ones that were harder to kill. There weren’t many of them left in the world, and the two kinds usually didn’t mix. The stronger vamps had thrown her for a loop, leaving Dawn, whom she normally guarded like a mama bear, vulnerable to attack. She once again owed her life to Xander, her knight and shining armor.
Willow promises to teleport as quickly as possible, but Giles is insisting on coming along, so it could take them an hour or two. Buffy hangs up the phone, and it’s only then she realizes that the single man in the waiting room had been watching her and listening in on her conservation.
He looks away when she stares at him, and she wonders how much he heard. She was going to have to talk to him to see if Willow is also going to have to do a memory charm after she saves Dawn. If she can save Dawn…
“Hey.” The man looks up at her when he hears her voice.
“Hey.” His voice is hoarse and the way he’s sitting she can tell he is favoring his right side, and he also has some bruises around his neck and on his face.
“You should get checked out. You’re looking a little rough.” Her voice is gentle when she realizes he may be hurt.
He laughs but it sounds forced. “Nah, I gotta wait to hear about Sammy, can’t do anything until I know.” He coughs a little roughly. “Besides you’re not looking so great yourself.”
Buffy looks down at the cuts and bruises on her that are already beginning to heal, combined with all the blood Dawn’s blood , it makes her look pretty bad too.
“Yeah, maybe I should. I’m waiting to hear about someone too.”
Buffy looks over and sees Xander talking on the phone. Probably with Spike who will be having a stroke and racing to get here to see his Niblet. Dawn would want him here though, no matter how awkward things still are between him and Buffy.
She takes a seat next to the man, to fish for some info until she knows he didn’t overhear enough to start a creepy website stalking vampires and slayers. There are too many of those already.
“Who’s Sammy?” She asks keeping her voice friendly and gentle, prying, but not too much.
“He’s my brother.”
Her insides freeze. Apparently she’s not the only one having a sibling crisis tonight.
“Who are you here for?” He asks. Whether to be polite or to distract himself, she can’t tell, but she answers anyway.
“My sister, Dawn.”
He finally looks up at her fully, and they meet eyes.
“Younger or older?”
“Six years younger. You?”
“Four years younger.”
“Yup, that’s just enough.” She says softly.
“Enough years apart that you have that look in your eyes, the look that says ‘it was my job to look after them, mom made it my job, and I totally just fucked it up’. Siblings who are only one or two years apart usually don’t have that, but when you hit the four year mark, it’s almost a given from there on.”
He snorts. “Change that mom to dad, and you have my life story.”
She laughs, “I know what you mean.”
He laughs but tries to cover it as a cough.
“It’s a goddamn adorable name, so you can bite me.”
It’s weird to be here talking, even flirting a little, with some stranger while Dawn is…. No she can’t even go there right now. Pain management is necessary.
“I did hear your phone conversation.”
Her eyes widen in surprise that he would be so open about it.
“It’s ok; I think we’re fighting on the same side. Sam and I, we’re hunters, we ran into some nasty poltergeists in an old farm house… and well obviously things didn’t go quite as planned.”
Buffy’s know about some hunters, mostly men, whose wives, sisters, moms, were killed, and they took up the good fight. Principal Wood, for example, was a hunter who joined her ranks.
“Slayer, here, almost fifteen years and counting.”
Buffy nods in agreement.
“So vampires got your little sister?”
“Yeah, Dawn, she’s stubborn as hell, but not really a fair match in a ten on one.”
“Sam is the same way. Thinks he’s stronger and tougher than he is. He also never listens to me.”
“Fire pick in the belly.”
They sit silently for a minute, both watching Xander talk on the phone.
“That your boyfriend?”
“Nah, he’s one of my best friends. He’s Dawnie’s boyfriend, almost two years now.”
“What happened to his eyes?”
“Unspeakable evil popped it out and left him for dead.”
Dean nods like this a totally normal response. And Buffy supposes in their world, it is.
“How did the hunting thing start?”
“Demon killed my mom, my dad was kinda obsessed after that, became the family business. Wasn’t really so bad for me, but Sam, well he was six months old when it happened, and he wasn’t really made for this life.”
Buffy’s head bobs in agreement.
“Our mom died when Dawnie was just fourteen. It kind put Dawn right in the middle of things. I tried to keep her out of this world, but with her only family being a slayer when our dad was MIA; well she started with the fighting when she was sixteen. She was so smart too. She’s one of our top researchers, knows like nine languages, and she’s learning a couple more. She could have been anything…” Buffy lets her voice trail off, not bothering to finish the thought because depending on how the night went, Dawn might never be anything again. Buffy’s chest tightens at the unthinkable thought.
“Sam’s the exact same way. Full ride scholarship to Stanford, he was going to be a lawyer, but then a demon got his girlfriend Jess… and well he could have been anything too.” Dean’s voice is soft.
They sit silently for a few moments watching Xander pace.
“Did you go to college?” Buffy tries to keep the conversation going, it’s the best distraction she has in this small room.
“Hell no, I barely finished high school. No, this life was always for me. I always wanted to be a hunter, I loved helping my dad, Sam… he just didn’t have the same force in him. He’s too nice, sensitive to be as cutthroat as he needs to be. That’s how he got the fire pick, wanted to try to reason with the ghost of an abused housewife, but sometimes you have to go for the kill… How about you? Any Ivy Leagues?”
“I tried a semester or two of community college. But then mom got sick… and college just seemed silly. I made Dawn go though; she has a couple language degrees at a state school.”
They enjoy a comfortable silence for a couple minutes, Buffy thinking about all the things she’s gonna change if Dawn pulls through this one. When Dawn pulls through this one…
“I don’t think I can let her fight anymore after this.”
Dean lets out a bark of laughter next to her.
“I was just thinking the exact thing about Sam,” he explains.
Buffy laughs along with him.
“She’s not strong enough though. This fight is too much for her. These past couple years, it has just been one injury after another. I can’t keep going through this; she’s giving me grey hair.”
Dean looks at her golden hair with disbelief.
“Well she could potentially give me grey hair. I can’t take that risk.”
“Me, I need to give Sam a break. This past year, we lost our dad, and he’s been having a hard time with all the crap he left us to deal with. I can tell he hasn’t been sleeping. I need to take us out of this game for awhile, take care of him, and keep him safe. It’s the most important job I have.” Dean’s voice is soft and gentle, Buffy wonders if that’s how she sounds when talking about Dawn ,and the responsibility she took on at six years old (kinda) and never looked back.
Buffy stares at Xander who is talking on the phone with someone else. From his expression of slight annoyance, she would guess that Andrew is checking in from headquarters.
“I want to send them both away.”
Dean follows her stare to Xander.
“I want them to leave this all behind and go get married; I know they’ve been thinking about with my awesome slayer eavesdropping skills. I want them to runaway to a small, safe town, and have cute babies, that I could see on holidays and special occasions. They are the only truly, normal people in our group. I want them to live like it.” Her voice breaks a little at the end, and Dean takes her hand in his. They both have blood on them.
“I think you’re the only person who’s ever understood this.”
“What, the sibling thing?”
Buffy can’t help but agree. Her and Dawn are closer than most sibling she knows. Whether it’s the lack of parents or the ‘we could all die tomorrow in a fiery blaze’ aspect of their relationship is responsible, she has never been sure. Also there is the fact Dawn was made out of her, but all siblings are genetically close.
“I think it’s that I always made it my job to take care of her. From the day she came home from the hospital, I wanted to be her hero. I wanted to teach her things, protect her from the bad. I always felt responsible. Taking care of her is probably the closest I’ll ever get to being a parent.”
Dean opens his mouth to respond, but before he can a doctor walks in.
“Is the family of Dawn Summers here?”
- Current Mood: cheerful