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[fic] faces in the mirror

btvs.dawnbuff.sprawl
fic: blurring the lines: faces in the mirror
fandom: BtVS(/Teen Wolf)
pairing: Dawn/Allison Argent; Buffy/Tara
word count: ~1,300
summary: Dawn's chapter
a/n: this is 99% an exercise in form as much as it is a third chapter in this series... A continuous gift to red_satin_doll because that's how this works. Simultaneously fulfilling lynzie914's prompt:  BtVS, Dawn, you were built to destroy, you never can belong forupupa_epops's "Iwant you Comment-Fic-A-Thon" (sorry it is technically part of a series guys - but the prompt inspired this chapter and I think otherwise, Dawn would have been silent in this 'verse!)

part one
part two


Dawn Summers likes to look at herself in the mirror.

There’s a tiny bit of space between the steam clearing and someone knocking on the door. She takes that bit of time to really look deeply into her own face.

She remembers watching Buffy stare at herself in the mirror for hours. Once it wasn’t really Buffy.

Now it’s mostly Buffy.

She wonders if she’d know if that wasn’t her in the mirror one morning.



She looks at her face. Sometimes there’s nothing there but shapes and colors.

Mostly colors. (If she’s being honest.)
(Dawn is so rarely able to be honest.)


She gets lost in the brown of her hair.

Staring into the abyss of her dark hair she can almost feel it.

It reminds her of the dark brown dirt on a softball field. The musky scent of wet grass under a hot sun. The biting chafe of dirt riding up her thigh as she slides into first base. The soft-hard muscles of her team collapsing on her in a heap. The feel of the smooth ball and rough stitching taking up her whole hand. The sound of the team’s voices muddled and muffled by the world.

It reminds her of Allison’s eyes and hair. It reminds her of Allison’s hair curling around and through her fingers. It reminds her of tears pooling up in those dark eyes. It reminds her of moonlight. Of starlight. Of promises. Whispering sweet nothings. Stolen glances in the halls. Words without words.

It reminds her of blood. Which isn’t all that odd. Considering. Everything reminds her of blood. Her brown hair reminds her of dried blood. Her hair is alive and vibrant. She can’t make it stop moving. She cut it off in a rage one day. Her tears fell alongside locks of hair. She smiled. Sitting in a heap of brown. Like the brown stains on a dress that wasn’t hers. That may or may not exist. It sits under her bed anyway.




She remembers a night on a tower.

She remembers bleeding.

She remembers crying.

There’s never any pain. (Sometimes she tests her body. She has scars where no one can see. Small cuts. Just to prove that blood can hurt.)

(It doesn’t.)

She can’t remember a time that was full of feeling.

She clings to the earth. As if it might spin too fast and she will be flung off. Like a pest on a windshield.

Dawn Summers loves the way things feel. In her hand. Pressed against her skin.

It’s hard to feel solid.

When the world is spinning and flashing.


(She stops there.)
(Contemplating hair is enough.)
(Time for breakfast. Time for school. Time for practice. Time for scooby research. Time for make-outs.)
(Time for life.)
(Living is what she does now. Didn’t you hear?)



Dawn Summers likes to look at herself in the mirror.
She likes to pretend that she can feel things the way others can.

She watches her sister cry. She knows how to make the motion. The tightness in her chest never comes.

She feels in action.
She feels the dirt on her legs.
She feels Allison’s skin beneath her fingertips.
She feels cold breezes.
She feels the sun on her face.
She feels the sharp knife on her skin.

She doesn’t feel blood.

She thinks she’s supposed to.

Sometimes she’ll press her fingers to her throat. She likes to run faster than yesterday. She likes to find her blood. In that moment when her head pounds. In those seconds before her muscles begin to ache. There in her throat. Under her jaw.

That’s where her blood is.

She can feel it then.

Her hands pressed against her skin.

(She likes to press her hand against Allison’s heart. When they are naked and panting. When she’s high on skin and moisture. When her cheeks are flushed with blood she can’t feel. She likes to rest her cheek against Allison’s heartbeat. Likes to count the beats. Likes to close her eyes and see it pumping through blue under the skin and red in the air. Allison teases her. She’s not a vampire. That’s not the fear. The fear is that it’ll all slip away. The blood keeps it real. Or that’s what experience tells her.)




She pretends not to love the feel of a blade against her skin.

(She likes to watch it run down her leg in the shower. Watch the red flow down the tan lines of her legs.)

She stares at the red and wonders about that dress that shouldn’t exist sitting under her bed. Tucked away from the world. Like her scars. Like her long hair in a plastic bag in the back of a drawer. She never felt the need to explain that.

How do you explain anything.
How does anyone explain everything.

Dawn Summers likes to stare at herself in the mirror.
But only for a few moments.

And afterwards she shrugs. Saunters out the door wrapped in a towel. Shivers into the goosebumps that rise on her skin. Tara likes to keep the air conditioner on. She never really adjusted to life in Southern California. Dawn doesn’t mind. She likes that daily reminder that her body is still intact.

Even if it is slipping further from her mind every day.



Someday she won’t feel the grass tickling her legs. When she stretches in the field before a game.

She thinks maybe she won’t even notice when that happens.

She thinks that will be the day when they lose Buffy for good.



Dawn Summers likes to stare at herself in the mirror. With a razor in her hand.

She likes to stare and wonder.

Will the world end if she lets her blood out for good?

Will she save her sister if the blood flows red until it is brown with decay?

Or will she only destroy everything?



(Isn’t that what she was built for anyway?)
(Is she supposed to know that here?)



Dawn likes to look at herself in the mirror.

She focuses on the brown of her hair. She concentrates on the lines of her cheekbones. She zeroes in on the soft pink of her lips.

She sees lines and colors and shapes.

She avoids her eyes.


Eyes are dangerous.

Hers have flecks of green in them.




Dawn likes to stare at her face in the mirror.

With a blade in one hand. The other clutching a pink fluffy towel to her chest.

Dawn can’t meet her own eyes in the mirror.

She can sense the glints of green hovering there. Daring her. Teasing her.



One day the flash of green she longs for will overcome her.
One day her hand won’t flinch.
One day her sisters will swim in her blood -
- and maybe the world will lay in ruins at her feet -
- but she will be free and one and wild and gone and energy and power and there will be no fear and there will be no tears and she’ll feel everything and everything will be her and there will be nothing left but her and what she can feel and touch and taste and hear and the past won’t matter anymore and her secrets will disappear in the wind.

One day she’ll lose any desire she has fought to keep.
One day what she was will be what she will be and what she is will be gone.

And she won’t regret it.


So she takes each day. One day at a time. One step at a time.

She plays with food.
She rolls in the grass.
She kisses her girlfriend.
She hugs her sister.

She stretches into her skin and feels every bit of life that she can feel.

One moment at a time.

If she doesn’t.

That’s the very end.

Of everything.




(She fears that less than she’s willing to admit to even herself.)



Dawn Summers likes to look at her face in the mirror.
To remind herself that she has one.

And that maybe even if the whole world isn’t worth saving (that’s not what she was made for) then at least this body and the people who love it are.

She saunters out the door.
She takes each day one step at a time.

She keeps herself locked.

She reminds herself that she is Dawn Summers.
Look - that’s your face in the mirror.

Comments

( 7 (re)visions — (re)ply )
lynzie914
Jan. 16th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
I love this! (And I really need to go and read all your Dawn fic.)

I love how it always came back to Dawn staring at herself in the mirror, at her seeing different things. How the brown in her hair could mean so many different things to her. How she wouldn't look at her eyes because of the flecks of green. And how staring at herself is a reminder that she does exist. That she is there.

And I love this line. And that maybe even if the whole world isn’t worth saving (that’s not what she was made for) then at least this body and the people who love it are.

And then all of the small things, the dress hidden under her bed that shouldn't exist. Her cutting off her long hair. The way she pretends to feel the same way the people around her do. Her resting her hand against Allison's heart to feel it beating.

I just, so much wonderfulness. You did such a great job with the prompt, thank you for writing it!


Edited at 2014-01-16 10:11 pm (UTC)
kwritten
Jan. 18th, 2014 07:58 am (UTC)
I love this! (And I really need to go and read all your Dawn fic.)
*blushes*

And how staring at herself is a reminder that she does exist. That she is there.
Yes. This Dawn is incredibly fascinated with the physical aspect of her Self. :)

And I love this line.
ME TOO!

You did such a great job with the prompt, thank you for writing it!
Thank you for all your lovely prompts, seriously! And also for reading AND commenting! You are a dream and a sweetie!
red_satin_doll
Jan. 24th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
I apologize for taking so long to comment on this because this is SUCH an amazing gift, hon! I knew you would bring Dawn in here in some way and it would be astonishing, and it is.

I love the very particular, overt physicality of this portion, in contrast to the somewhat more "ethereal" than the prior sections, but there's a thread of connection, two sisters living two lives simultaneously, two sets of histories so to speak; Dawn re-establishing her physical presence, holding the power that lies beneath at bay (the blood seems to be a surrogate for the Key-power that might be unleashed at any moment - and would Dawn be in control of that power, or would it burst from within her?)

Buffy in the meanwhile fracturing and slipping away, becoming less powerful, "The Hand" trying to hold herself together with useless gestures.

All descriptions as quick and sharp as the blade she wields on her skin. the idea of Dawn playing sports (not cheerleading - damn you Joss) is one I've never seen before but it fits perfectly.

I'm wondering if there will be a segment that specificially focuses on Tara? She's the one person in this trio I haven't quite got a hold of yet except as a presence at the edges, and I imagine that she also possesses power she keeps in check (the show did an awful job with her power as a witch - she was powerful enough in S4 WAY to know that Faith wasn't Buffy, and to boost Willow's power, but then they "powered her down" in S5 & 6 again to serve Willow's story.)
kwritten
Feb. 4th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC)
I apologize for taking SO LONG to respond omg what is my problem?

I love the very particular, overt physicality of this portion, in contrast to the somewhat more "ethereal" than the prior sections
yes. good. I'm glad.

the idea of Dawn playing sports (not cheerleading - damn you Joss) is one I've never seen before but it fits perfectly.
I don't think I've ever seen this before, either. I'd love to see someone do something with Dawn as a dancer - because ethereally delicate dancers tend to be CLUMSY SPAZ PODPEOPLE off the dance-floor and I'd love to see that explored with her.

A Tara section? I don't know.... probably...

tbh this fic is on hold ftm while I deal with a Dawn-goes-dark AU that I'm currently writing. (it's technically a crossover with a Korean Drama character inserted so very niche) that will deal with the anger and darkness in Dawn in a more heavy-handed way. (it's set between S5/6 when Buffy is dead and takes a long, hard look at what being besties with the undead can do to a teenager (my fave topic) which I felt necessary after looking at all the positives in the Spike/Dawn dynamic via meta, it felt necessary to explore the potential darkness of their alliance in fic-form)

so yes.
yes there will be a tara section. but that will be more difficult. and I have two other Dawn-fics going right now too, so it is going on the backburner while I deal with something more comfortable? (sorry!)
red_satin_doll
Feb. 4th, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
Take your time and no apologies! I think Tara is a hard person to get "right".

And YES to explorations of Dawn's darkness - the show really dropped the ball on that with few exceptions (Blood Ties), esp when you add up all the fucked-up shit Dawn's endured in canon. (I just tried doing so to myself and, holy shit I'd be locked up in an institution if I were her. Or talking to myself all the time.)

clockwork_hart1
Jan. 28th, 2014 08:27 pm (UTC)
How is it that I missed this before?

Ugh. You. No words for how much I love this. All the imagery, the pain, the Keyness seeping through. The hatred and uncertainty of looking at herself (been there, it hurts), then the need to cut herself to feel... anything, to feel somehow connected to the person she knows she's supposed to be (been there too). All of the drifting from reality to reflection slipping and fracturing and yet making a more whole picture (the life we live and the life we hide), it was so powerful and so real.

Every time I read your Dawn stuff I feel more and more like Dawn is me and I don't know how you're doing it. (I thought I was Buffy, now I'm confused)

This fic is wonderful. (note to self, watch Teen Wolf)
kwritten
Feb. 4th, 2014 03:17 pm (UTC)
I'm SO GLAD you love this! I've been feeling very intrigued by Dawn's darkness as of late (and taking it to extremes elsewhere actually)!

Every time I read your Dawn stuff I feel more and more like Dawn is me and I don't know how you're doing it. (I thought I was Buffy, now I'm confused)
They are utterly similar in fascinating ways - so I'm not surprised. (tbh the ONLY time I identified with Buffy was once she became Dawn's sister, so in my mind I cannot separate the two anymore)

*g*

Thank you for reading and your comment!

(note to self, watch Teen Wolf)
ugh. such a hot mess actually. just troll the Allison Argent tag on tumblr (also 'allydia') all you need to know is that the ladies are flawless and I ship Allison/Dawn. (also she is an archer which I find PERFECT) (also I find their physical aesthetics beautiful and made for each other)
( 7 (re)visions — (re)ply )
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kwritten
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