Lies In Death
by Amberina

Dawn felt him die. Halfway across the world, in nightclub in Rome, and she felt him die. She felt his soul slip away and then he was gone and she knew she wouldn't get anymore letters from him.

Music pounding in her ears, she could feel his heartbeat slow down. Thump thump and then it was gone, but the music remains and Dawn suddenly wants to die.

She met him before she existed. She promised never to tell anyone she beat him in chess. She never would. Never, ever, ever.

A crowd of people swirl around her, so close to her and yet she's alone. She feels so alone.

And the crowd does swirl. It's a flashing, shimmering mass of people but she can't see their faces. They're an abstract painting, a splatter of colours that represent something she can't quite grasp.

He sent her a letter after he left Sunnydale. She had been surprised. His neat, tiny print on the outside of the letter shocked her. She recognized it instantly.


Dearest Dawnie,

I thought perhaps you'd be interested to know that I am not dead. Instead, I am leading the fascinating life of a rogue demon hunter. Very, very dangerous work.

Have you found a new chess partner yet? Perhaps if I ever find myself in Sunnydale again we can have a rematch. You're getting better, so this time I might not let you win.

I really must be going now, but I will be sure to keep you updated.


Wesley Wyndham-Pryce


Dawn wrote him back, but she didn't have an address to send it to. The letter ended up in the bottom of one of her drawers, buried underneath Lisa Frank stickers and pastel stationary.

That drawer was destroyed with Sunnydale and all the remnants of her imaginary childhood. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

That word echoes in her head and she remembers when her mother died. She remembers when Buffy died. When Tara died. She remembers pain and anger and confusion.

She doesn't remember feeling the death itself.

She doesn't remember dying with them.

Dawn's head pounds with every beat of the music and decapitation is sounding like a good solution and then she realizes there's the option to leave, so she does.

Dawn makes her way out of the club, through the swirls of shimmery people. So many people, so oblivious to... what the hell's going on? Dawn feels the world falling in inside her head and of course they'd be oblivious and is what's happening really happening and it feels like the end of the world...

The world is crashing down on her and everything's all fuzzy and overly sharp. Sharp edges and fuzzy details and what the hell...

She feels herself sway and now it's time to collapse, she thinks, right before she feels her body drop out from under her. She doesn't feel herself hit the ground.

She's in a room, inside a residential place... but it keeps fading in and out. In, and out, fuzzy fuzzy, blur and it's gone... and back again, but it's never quite clear enough for her to really see her surroundings.

She sees blue swirls (oh, everything's so swirly) and she realizes there's a woman standing before her, painted blue and black and dripping red. She thinks. She can't really keep focus long enough to tell...

"You reek of humanity," the woman says. Dawn thinks. Maybe. The woman's voice is filled with a sort of calm disdain that makes Dawn wonder if she's not supposed to reek of humanity, and she's also wondering why the calm disdain sounds a bit like liquid music, if music could be liquid and if any of this made any sense whatsoever.

And suddenly everything clears up and it hits Dawn like a punch in the stomach. She'd gotten slightly used to the fade-in-fade-out effect and having everything solid was a bit startling.

The woman is staring at her blankly, waiting for her to say something. She's so blue. Blue hair hanging, blue forehead shining, unnatural ice blue eyes crying. Yet there is not emotion in her face, despite her tears.

"Should I not?" Dawn asks finally, her own voice sounding out of place and alien to her.

The woman raises her chin, seeming to be appraising Dawn. Sizing her up. Pricing her, even. "I knew you before you were in this - this... shell. I knew you when you were so much more. You knew me when I was more as well... I was King once..."

Dawn just stares at the woman, not sure what to say.

"Your human emotion will be the end of you, just as it will be the end of me," the woman says softly. "I have to go save the world."

And the world shakes around Dawn, or maybe she shakes and the world stays still. She's not entirely sure. When things calm down, the woman is gone and Dawn looks around. She sees it. Him.

Dead. So, so dead. Not just a little dead, but all the way dead.

Her heart sinks and her mouth drops open. She can't move. She can't breathe. She can't think. Her heart can't beat. Dawn feels herself falling and this time she feels herself hit the ground, but she's back in Italy, on the sidewalk and there's a man leaning over her.

No, not a man. Andrew. Andrew leaning over her.

"Don't scare me like that!" he exclaims exasperatedly.

Dawn sits up and looks around her. Her head is surprisingly clear and she's not sure why that disturbs her. What the hell just happened?

"Take me home," Dawn says slowly, and her voice still sounds alien to her. It's not her own voice, not her own time. Illyria knew her before.

... who the hell is Illyria?

The trip home consists of her tuning out Andrew's babble. He's talking about Star Wars, or Trek, or Search or something but she can't really bring herself to pay attention.

Instead she thinks of Wesley. How she felt when he died, and his... body... lying there... so. fucking. dead.

When they arrive at their apartment, Dawn is glad to see that Buffy isn't home yet. She makes her way back to her room, Andrew saying something behind her... but she's sure it's not important. At least she hopes not, considering she can't listen right now.

She falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow. She wakes up what feels like two seconds later, and it takes everything she has to hold back the scream that wants to break out from her lungs when she spots Wesley sitting on the edge of her bed.

Not dead, but looking worn. Frayed around the edges, and maybe like he's going to fall apart, itty bitty pieces of Wesley getting tangled up in her covers. Crumbs of Wesley. As if he's a piece of bread. Except he doesn't really resemble bread. Or anything other than Wesley, really. But she's sure he's going to fall apart anyway.

"Do you ever wonder what, exactly, is reality, and what is a dream?" he asks, not looking at her but he obviously knows she's awake. If she is. She's not really sure... and wasn't that his point to begin with?

She nods slowly. He's not looking at her, but she's pretty sure he can see her anyway.

"What is real, and what is a lie?" he turns finally, and his blue eyes seem to shine in the darkness.

Everything comes together in Dawn's head and she understands, even if she doesn't get it. It's like the frame of the puzzle is complete, but there are still pieces missing from the center. "I am made of lies," she says slowly, "but I am real."

"Indeed, you are," he says, and his eyes look like he's laughing but the rest of him is so calm. "Lies can be soothing in times of need..."

Dawn nods slightly and she can't really describe how she's feeling so she just breathes and keeps going.

"For instance, in the moment of death, a lie can bring peace." He seems lost in his own thoughts for a moment and silence lingers between them, but it's okay. After a moment, he continues. "I do not regret it... " and he trails off again but that, too, is okay.

"I'm sorry," Dawn says suddenly, and then she's sorry for saying that too.

He shakes his head. "What's done is done, and it's the way it had to be."

She starts to say something, but the words get caught somewhere between her mind and her vocal chords.

"My death wound hurt less than when my throat was cut," he says and he's lost in his own thoughts again. Dawn never knew he'd had his throat slit. It'd been over two years since she got a real letter from him. "In any case, Angel needs you."

"M-me?!" Dawn croaks out in surprise.

"Well, perhaps not you specifically, but he needs backup. I can't rest until... I can't allow myself to let go until it's over and they've won. I cannot let them lose." Wesley looks her in the eyes. "I didn't mean to drag you into my death in such a painful way... but it was all I could think of..."

"Why'd you choose me?"

"Who else would I choose?" he fires back quickly and then it does make sense.

A thought suddenly pops into Dawn's head, and though she supposes it doesn't matter, she doesn't stop herself from vocalising it. "Are you corporeal?"

Wesley answers her by running his hand up her leg, oh-so slowly, and stopping just above her knee. His hand is cold and feels like death, but it is corporeal. Dawn shivers.

"There's something else..." he says and his eyes are so very serious but she can't get the feel of his dead hand just barely grazing her thigh out of her head.

"Y-yeah?" she replies shakily.

"Do you trust me, Dawn?"

Dawn nods slowly and then she realizes maybe she shouldn't trust him. Not after last year, with the First. She should know not to trust random dead people. She should know better.

That's what she's thinking as he leans over her and sinks into her, his body molding to hers and finally disappearing into it so it's just her.

Dawn thinks she'll never be warm again.

We are simply coexisting in one body, a voice in her mind whispers and she knows it's Wesley. Or at least she hopes so. After things are done, I will leave... and I will rest.

"What do I do?" she says aloud, even though she knows she doesn't have to.

Get Buffy and Giles and Faith... gather up all the slayers you can... and get them to Los Angeles... Wolfram and Hart has declared war on Angel, and they don't care if the world gets taken out in the process. We need an army. Can you do it?

"I can," Dawn says firmly but she knows he can probably feel the uncertaintity in her stomach. He can feel her from the inside out and somehow that's okay with her.

Dawn climbs out of bed and flips on her light. She's grateful for the fact that she fell asleep in her clothing. It makes for less getting dressed awkwardness.

When she enters the living room, Andrew is on the couch, his head drooping, a video game controller slipping... slipping... slipping from his hands. It falls with an audible thunk and he's startled awake.

"Whaa..? Oh... " Andrew adjusts himself and pretends to be dignified and Dawn would find it endearing in any other circumstance. "Hi, Dawn. Sleep well?"

"Andrew, we need to get ahold of Giles, Buffy, Faith, Willow... we need to gather up all the slayers we know of, and we need to hightail it to Los Angeles. ASAP. Or STAT. Or something. Wolfram and Hart has declared war on Angel and the gang and they don't care if they take the world out with them." Dawn feels Wesley's approval and she continues. "And we need to hurry."

Andrew just gapes at her.

"Andrew. Come on. You know what to do. I'll call Buffy, you call Giles and then we'll go from there. Okay?" Dawn suddenly feels powerful and she's not sure why.

Thank you. And Dawn feels a pang and suddenly realizes she's performing Wesley's dying wish, and right now she'd much rather be losing in chess.

Dawn arrives in Los Angeles a few hours later, Andrew, Buffy, and about two dozen slayers behind her. Willow and Kennedy were to arrive soon, with a nice selection of slayers of their own. Giles and Faith were to arrive last, but they were bringing every slayer in the UK with them.

"What are we supposed to do?" a small girl, who can't be much older than fourteen, asks Dawn fearfully.

"We're supposed to go to war," Dawn says and her voice sounds too much like Wesley's for her own liking. She can't let it bother her, though. Now now. She has to do this for him.

And Dawn leads them into war. She knows where to go but she's not entirely sure what to do when she gets there. So it's just like any apocalypse, really.

She sees the woman of blue lying broken and Dawn understands what she said before. And Dawn knows how this will end, and she'd probably care if she could find the time.

Time... there's so many people trying to kill time, and when Dawn needs it, there is none. There's not a lot of time between the time she steps off the plane and her death, and she wishes she could be okay with that.

She feels herself slip away this time, and she wonders what's going to happen to Wesley's soul. She doesn't have to wonder for long, because then she's outside of her body and so is Wesley. Her body is twisted up, bloody and bent in ways bodies should never be bent.

Dawn's stunned. It happened so quickly. Everything so quickly, and now she's dead and she wonders if her touch feels like ice and death. She touches Wesley's arm and he's warm, and solid and she realizes that two dead people could probably touch each other without the chill effect.

She never thought she'd be one of those dead people.

"Isn't it time for you to rest?" Dawn asks suddenly and Wesley shakes his head.

"I cannot rest until they've won." He looks as if he's going to cry and Dawn turns away so he can cry in peace.

They both know Wolfram and Hart is going to win.

Dawn sinks to the ground and pulls her knees up to her chest and she doesn't cry. Instead she just focuses on her knees - they're truly fascinating in a situation such as this. She feels Wesley's arms wrap around her and he just holds her and she leans back into him and she knows this is it. This is the end.

"I never told anyone I beat you in chess," she says softly and he rests his head on her shoulder.

She feels his tears fall on her skin and she closes her eyes.

"I let you win," he replies, and they both know he's lying, but a lie can be soothing in moments of need.


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