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FIC: Down Memory Lane

Title: Down Memory Lane
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Faith/Dawn
Words / Rating: 1400 words / R for some sexiness
Spoilers / Setting: post-canon
Summary: All Dawn knows is Faith went on a memory walk, and now she's freaked.

A/N: this is for aaronlisa in the Dawn round of femslash_minis - my first time writing for that estimable and impressively long-lived exchange. (This was round 98, folks.)

Also here at AO3.


“You don’t have to do this,” Dawn says again.

“I know,” Faith says. She’s sitting on the mat the psychic provided, her legs asprawl.

“I don’t even really get why you want to.” Faith’s good now – or at least, as good as Dawn thinks anyone ever really needs to be. How it’s going to help anyone for Faith to worry more about that time she killed a volcano expert or that other time she tortured Wesley until he cried, Dawn doesn’t see.

Faith’s lips twist wryly. “Hey, keep it that way, okay? It’s okay. It’s fine. The shaman’ll send me down memory lane, I’ll make with the peace and the self-lovin’—” This comment is accompanied by the predictable leer. “—and I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

It was Giles’s idea. A chance to forgive, he said. Dawn doesn’t know how he talked Faith into it, but there’s common ground between them that Dawn doubts she’ll ever share. She’s cool with that so long as Giles doesn’t go trying to give Faith any tea-flavored kisses. Dawn is not okay with them sharing those.

So Dawn steps back to take a seat against the wall when the psychic asks and tunes out most of what the woman tells Faith as she coaches her into the memory trance. And Dawn waits.

When Faith comes to, she’s white. Her eyes go immediately to Dawn. Dawn takes her hand and Faith grips back like like a twister might whirl one of them to the land of Oz any second. “Are you okay?” Dawn asks.

“Five by five.” Faith gives her a sickly smile.

“Is there anything else she’s supposed to do?” Dawn asks the psychic. “Talk things over, or whatever?”

The woman shakes her head. “The journey was for her to take, and it is hers to understand and make peace with.”

“Fat chance,” Faith mutters, low enough for only Dawn to hear. “Get me out of here, D.”

Once Dawn gets Faith to her feet, she steadies somewhat and walks out of the meditation room under her own power, although she still won’t let go of Dawn’s hand. Once they’re out in the grayed, overcast sunshine, Dawn tries to ask: What did you see? Was it awful? But the words are scared away by the tightness of Faith’s jaw, the fixedness of her stare. They stride along past windows pasted over with faded movie posters and lit by words like SEX in red neon.

“Hey,” Dawn manages finally. “You’re scaring me.”

Faith turns. “I’m fine.”

“You say that, but—”

Faith cuts her off with a kiss – a bruising one that shoves Dawn’s lips back against her teeth. It’s over before Dawn can even figure out how to respond, and when Faith draws back, her eyes are unfathomably dark.

“Hi?” Dawn ventures.

“Hey.” Faith’s eyes fall to the sidewalk; her hands jam in her pockets. “Let’s just go home, okay?”

As far as Dawn had known, they’d already been going home, but she doesn’t argue.


Over the next ten days, Dawn finds herself backed up against walls, rolled onto the bed even more than usual. Far be it from her to complain, but there’s an urgency in Faith’s mouth on Dawn’s skin, her hand between Dawn’s legs that keeps on saying that something’s up.

“Whatever you saw from back then, you’re different now.” Dawn tries, and Faith’s eyes skate away. “You’re hero girl these days.”

“It was nothing,” says Faith with a shrug, but Dawn knows better than to trust the shrug.

“You’re a hero to me,” Dawn says. Faith grips her hand and doesn’t answer.

And there’s council business, and a dimensional thing Dawn has to go give blood for, and some demon that gets a similar donation from Faith before she stabs it in the throat. And Dawn would almost forget, if Faith didn’t keep on kissing her so hard and holding her so close after.


“You don’t cuddle,” Dawn mumbles into Faith’s skin one night.

Faith doesn’t let go. She doesn’t deny it, either. Dawn’s loose and dozy, and she’s three-quarters asleep when Faith finally answers. “You know that time I went after you and your mom?”

Dawn sucks in a breath and tries to be awake. “When you woke up in the hospital?”

“Yeah. Coma girl. I was pissed as fuck at every Summers I saw. Tied up your mom. Barricaded you in the bathroom before you screamed me deaf.”

Dawn remembers. “I had a nail file, you know. If you’d opened that door again...”

“Yeah.” Dawn can hear Faith’s smile in the dark. “You’d have gotten me good, squirt.” After a pause come the words Dawn’s been expecting, “That was what I saw.”


“Your house, and your mom, all tied up, and Buffy busting through that window.”

“You broke our house so bad. If Mom hadn’t been pissed before...”

Faith snorts.

“And I was scared,” Dawn says, in the interests of brutal honesty. “I tried not to be, because I knew Buffy wouldn’t have been. But you know I forgive you, right?”

Faith’s voice is strained. “I know.”

She better. It took quite a while, during the First and after, before Dawn found her way around to that forgiveness. Torture all the Wesleys you like, but come after Mom or Buffy, and fear for your life. Still, “It was a long time ago. Right? Back then, we didn’t do this.” Dawn slides a hand over Faith’s breast.

Faith laughs, genuine and loud, and shoves Dawn’s hand away. “Hey, I done a lot of shit, but I never perved on little girls.”

“See? A long time ago,” Dawn repeats. “Wasn’t that what the memory walk was all about? To see things clearly? To see how you’ve changed?”

“But I did.” Faith’s voice is suddenly harsh, like a sob has caught at the back of her throat. “You don’t get it. I did see. I know you’re used to this shit, but I never really got it until I went back and lived the whole thing over, and you weren’t there.”

It takes a moment for the words to sink in. Dawn feels like she’s swallowed ice, and it’s lodged somewhere halfway down. “Oh.” Dawn doesn’t know why she didn’t think of this.

“Freaked the hell out of me,” Faith whispers.

“Why? Because you realized your girlfriend wasn’t real?” Dawn shoves Faith’s arm away from her and sits up. Blindly she feels around the rug with her feet, searching for her slippers.

“Hey,” Faith says, grabbing Dawn’s arm. Dawn shrugs her off. She feels like she might cry. “Hey, that is not what I said. That ain’t it at all.”

Dawns wraps her arms around herself. “Then what?”

“I didn’t realize you weren’t real. I just, I kept feeling like you might not be.”

“How is that different?” Her voice feels like it’s made of rocks.

Faith crawls across the bed to sit next to Dawn. She doesn’t touch her. “God, grate me and put me on a pizza, okay, but I always knew you were too good to be true.”

Dawn isn’t sure this makes her feel better. “What?”

Faith heaves a sigh. “Never figured me and Buffy Summers’ kid sis would make such a great team, you know? And definitely didn’t figure she’d let me fuck her for a year and a half straight.”

“Seventeen months next week,” Dawn says automatically.

“So then I got a vision of this world where you don’t exist, and it freaked me the fuck out, okay? So sue me.”

“Oh.” Dawn thinks about that for a while. Faith waits. “So what you’re saying is, if I went and unexisted, you’d miss me?”

Faith bumped shoulders with her. “Maybe.”

“I’m not planning to, you know.” The possibility of it happening anyway, well, that’s a horror to be considered another day.

Faith’s hand folds into Dawn’s. “Peachy.”

“So, are we okay?” Dawn’s not sure of them she’s really asking about.

“I never could wrap my brain around it. Didn’t really see the point in trying. Not to go disappearing your existential crisis, but I guess I’d rather go back to not trying.”

“Yeah,” Dawn says. She leans into Faith and rests her head against Faith’s shoulder. “Yeah, let’s do that.”


Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 27th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. :)
Jan. 26th, 2014 11:42 pm (UTC)


established domesticity with no "omg I like girls?!"!!!



cuteybabes being a functional couple that talks about stuff!!!

a universe where Key-ness is used to the Scoobies advantage!

Giles/Faith connection in the background!

I'm just going to roll around in the perfection for a while and cry because this is so fabulous I cannot.

thank you thank you for writing/sharing

((curious how you feel about writing this? any writing-queer!Dawn-thoughts would be lovely))

Jan. 27th, 2014 12:57 am (UTC)

Don't get me wrong, "omg I like girls?!" is not a storyline I'm tired of yet, but it doesn't seem to me you could do much interesting with that in 500 words, or even 1400 words. So established relationship it is. :)

I am always, always interested in Dawn's keyness and false memories, and given how little the show was willing to do with it, I am always looking for more fic that deals with it, even in a small way.

Giles/Faith is always sneaking in on me. Oops.

Honestly, I don't much in the way of queer!Dawn thoughts. I'm so invested in the narrative of her becoming her own person that I have trouble thinking about her in romantic relationships (even though those can be part of a person establishing themselves, too, of course). And the only person I'm really interested in exploring her with in the Buffyverse is Illyria - I imagine they could be very interesting to each other, for Key/God-King reasons. All that's probably why this came out being a lot more about Faith than about Dawn. :D

I am so pleased that you enjoyed the fic. It's great knowing that when I post femslash I'll probably have at least one enthusiastic commenter. :D
Jan. 28th, 2014 03:23 pm (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, "omg I like girls?!" is not a storyline I'm tired of yet
Will never be tired of this (though I feel as though too much femmeslash focuses here - so it's a delight to get something else!).

Ditto! Keyverse ftw always.

(I never, ever require apologies for Faith/Giles sneaking in.)

And the only person I'm really interested in exploring her with in the Buffyverse is Illyria - I imagine they could be very interesting to each other, for Key/God-King reasons.
I could seriously get behind this. I'd love to see them interact!


Jan. 27th, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
That Faith's nightmares would be the truth, that's truly quite scary. But that she shrugs them off in favour of the real woman in her arms is very characteristic, and I can see just how that would appeal to Dawn.

Also, I do love Dawn-memories, so hiding with the nail file is wonderful.
Jan. 28th, 2014 04:44 pm (UTC)
Yay, I am glad you liked. And I think fundamentally, both Faith and Dawn are very pragmatic people, occasional existential crises notwithstanding. :)
Jan. 27th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC)

Oh wow, I love the way you tied the worlds without dawn and the ones with her together and made it sweet instead of bleak. The Keyness and the way their just happy together. I'm trying to compose a valid and eloquent comment here and I've been reduced to gushing so I'll just say that this was wonderful!
Jan. 28th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
Oh yay, thank you! I am forever fascinated by the conflict of Dawn's memories vs. what actually happened; I've always wished canon had done something in that direction. I am glad it came across as sweet! As I told Brutti, I think fundamentally, both Faith and Dawn are very pragmatic people, occasional existential crises notwithstanding. :)
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:56 am (UTC)
This was very cool!

Way to go. :)
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Jan. 30th, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
False Dawn memories and vulnerable!Faith. Yes please. Loved this.
Jan. 31st, 2014 06:21 pm (UTC)
Yay. I'm glad you enjoyed. :)
Feb. 6th, 2014 05:23 am (UTC)
I am so sorry for the late reply. My family is in the process of preparing for major renovations.

That said.... I loved this. I loved how you handled the whole Dawn not existing prior to Season Three, I love your Dawn voice and I just loved the whole story.
Feb. 6th, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
Yay, I am glad you enjoyed it. And good luck on your renovations.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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