Five months. For Buffy and Satsu, one month had turned into *five* months. How? Life turned upside down. Harmony got herself a reality show on MTV, and the existence of vampires and slayers both was revealed across the globe. Vampires became the new "It" thing, slayers did not. FOX News called Buffy the 21st Century's Hitler.
It was pretty that bad, and certainly didn't help the blonde's already fragile self-image. She really needed her girlfriend at her side. But Satsu had to stay put in Japan. They'd all had to stay put in their territories, keep their heads down, and fight the fight whenever possible. A task made harder lately, because things had escalated.
Twilight was using these convenient developments, the worldwide hatred of slayers, to his advantage. He was attacking them openly now. Everywhere he could find them. They divided themselves, he was conquering. Well, not for much longer. At least as far as the "divided" part.
Buffy's Scotland squad had fallen back for the second time to yet another castle (Scotland loved castles), this one surrounded by water. Willow put a glamour up so it didn't look like there was anything there. Magickal shields and other defenses were in place as well. Buffy hoped they'd stay hidden, that everyone would, until she figured out what to do.
Once all the members of their large family were finally here, she'd be able to concentrate on that. Giles, Faith, Andrew, the girls who made it from the other squads...and Satsu. Where was Satsu? She...she had to--
"Buffy, geez, come inside already. It's freezing out here," Dawn was saying to her, having walked out of the castle to where she paced. "If you don't, you're gonna turn blue. And then, for like a week after you do? I'm so gonna keep asking, "‘Hey, Blue, got any clues?'"
She amused herself. "Hee."
Buffy stopped and stared at her sister. "I don't get you."
"Yeah, tell me something I'm not used to," replied Dawn, stepping beside Buffy and hugging her with one arm.
If there was one positive that happened in the middle of the upside-down-ness, it was that Dawn was her normal shape and size again. The sisters were also back to comfortably relating as such, with one, big difference: Buffy had begun seeing her as an adult. If only she'd had it confirmed sooner that Dawn *did* sleep with a guy.
Slept with a guy, and then made a mistake afterwards. Basically the same thing which grew Buffy up real fast. Except Dawn's mistake was a lot smaller than not killing her new lover before he murdered innocent people. Still, the two of them should've bonded a long time ago. Better late than never, though.
Never would be bad. And she wasn't thinking about Dawn anymore.
"Is-is Willow still awake? Maybe we can do another sweep," Buffy said anxiously. "Tell her I won't even complain about the airsickness this time."
"Satsu's coming, Buffy," Dawn tried to say reassuringly. "She's completely on the way. Right now, even."
"But things can happen on the way. Things like Twilight. And death. And let's face it, the first thing will probably cause the second thing. She wouldn't be able to..." The blonde looked panicked, and so afraid. "What...what if she's dead?"
"Willow would know," Dawn told her. "But she's not. An-and she won't be, okay? She'll be living. Here. Soon."
"You can't know for sure," refuted Buffy, her eyes glassy. "She could. She could, and I'm an idiot ‘cause I didn't..." Tears started rolling down her cheeks, but she smiled a little. "It isn't scary or dangerous or anyplace near close to. *At all*. God, how wrong was I?"
No, wait, there were two positives in all this.
"What were you wrong about?" Dawn asked, a little thrown.
She hadn't seen her sister cry for years.
"Love. Loving *her*," Buffy elaborated, choking on her own words. "I'm in love with her, Dawn. I can feel it. Really can."
The younger brunette couldn't think of how to respond, but thankfully, she didn't have to, because Buffy completely broke down at that moment. She just took her sister fully into her arms and held on. She was suddenly trying not to cry herself.
Buffy went on. "I was in the car with Andrew driving to that village Simone practically kidnapped, and he was being nerdier than his usual." Though they came to an understanding by trip's end, Andrew and close quarters were never a good idea. "Over this guy on some doctor show. And I was barely trying to *not* gag him inside the trunk..."
Dawn giggled as her sister continued.
"...when it just, BOOM. Have no idea why it picked then, but I, uh, kinda broke the seatbelt because I sat up so fast. Andrew almost had a heart attack, and there might have been swerving." Sniffling, she chuckled herself. "Don't think I can even explain what it was like. How huge a deal. For me.
"I knew I liked spending time, I knew I hated when we didn't, I knew the sex was...wow," She wasn't able to see her sister's, "TMI" face, "and..."
She was right--she couldn't explain. She couldn't explain how ever since Angel, she'd seen love as something that could destroy you. She couldn't explain how, after their mom died, she found it hard to love, period. Not simply in the romantic sense. So much so, that she thought something in her had broken even before she came back from the dead.
She couldn't feel love. It wasn't in her anymore. Of course, compounding that problem was Spike and sex and pain. A psychological issue she'd been happily cured of months ago.
Her other psychological issue? Well as time wore on, friends-and-family love? That wasn't nearly as risky, so it came back. The other kind? That didn't. Until the car ride.
Now able to have some perspective, she realized she hadn't felt it because she didn't want to. She was afraid. Love was scary and dangerous and could destroy you. But so was slaying. Hell, so was a rusty nail. And maybe during all this unplanned separation from Satsu, with everything they were dealing with, she realized what was scarier.
Hence, BOOM. Now if only she could love herself.
"...and you'll *never* in a tragillion years finish that sentence around your traumatized baby sister?" Dawn asked with a smirk as she released Buffy from her arms. "Thank crap." Beat. "It's awesome you're in love and all--"
Something that would no doubt make it easier when she and Xander got the nerve to tell her that they were.
"--but can we *please* go be warm inside the big, damp castle now?"
"Dawnie, I hafta tell her." Buffy stubbornly still didn't budge.
"You're gonna get to. I promise. Probably in the morning once you do that thing people do called ‘sleep,'" said the brunette pointedly. "And when Giles comes, you'll tell him, too. But ugh, hopefully not the same way."
Giles. She'd heard about what he'd been doing. She'd heard about Germany. The thought of their last conversation actually being their last, made Buffy sick to her stomach.
"Did he and Faith ping the beacon thingy yet?" Buffy wondered, almost as anxious as she was over Satsu.
Dawn sighed. "Nope, not yet." She waited several seconds then blurted, "Holy shit monkey balls."
"What'd you say?" Buffy was shocked right out of her tears.
"Huh? I didn't say anything. The cold's totally frozen your brain, sis," evaded a snickering Dawn, now able to lead her too-stupefied-to-resist sister towards the castle. "Alligator anal beads."
"Crocodile cock ring."
"Flamingos fuck on Fridays."
"I mean it! Seriously!"
"Never prick a porcupine's puss--"
"Gah! Shut up!"
It was just before sunup when Buffy, having previously been mortified all the way into her bedroom by her sibling, awoke with a start.
"No, Mr. CinnaStix! Don't prick it," she exclaimed. Hold it...CinnaStix? "Satsu?"
"Hey," said a confused, entertained, and very alive Satsu sitting on the bed. "I didn't wanna wake you, but Dawn said--"
The blonde slayer crushed her in a hug, and the tears returned.
"Loveyouloveyouloveyou," she mumbled repeatedly into the overwhelmed-but-pleased girl's neck. "I don't know what the hell I'm doing and I need you so you're never allowed to stay anywhere else again which means you're demoted and I love you."
Satsu was kind of floored. She couldn't even really react, because the frantic kissing began. She became so focused on getting her bearings that out of all the questions she had, she could get only one to stick in her head.
"Don't prick what?"