Rating: NC-17 overall
Warnings: None yet-updated as necessary
A/N: I read an interesting ficlet and now I don't remember the author or title. But, the author said that he/she wanted to explore how Dawn would have grown up if Buffy had never come back. I thought it was an interesting plot idea and so...I stole it. Just the plot bunny, though...this fic's all mine.
After, oh after! All that precious strength and beauty turned to so much mangled wreckage. They’d huddled around her body, and he wrapped his arms around the grief-stricken boy next to him, his own tears burning into his wounds. Little Dawn shuffled forward on trembling legs, ripping him away and dragging him off to safety.
He’d screamed and pleaded with her, told her he’d failed and deserved to die. Stubborn girl just dug in, reminding him of his promise to keep her safe. Told him brokenly that he’d have to keep going on for her, that she wasn’t safe yet.
Pulled it together then, and held her close. Rocked her like the small child she still was and agreed with her as she insisted that he live, for her. He’d live, he’d do right by his girl, stay with her till the end of the world. When the others finally came, she’d clung to him. When Willow attempted to remove him, his Bit had kicked and spat. Finally, Harris of all people had put the witch down.
“Dawnie wants him here. So, Dawnie gets him,” Harris had stated flatly. “We’ve lost enough tonight. No more. I’m not the President of his fan club, but I’ll take on the next Slayer to keep Spike safe for Dawn. He stays.”
A month later and still Spike couldn’t understand it. Oh, he understood Harris takin’ up for him well enough. Had nothing to do with him and everything to do with Harris. Loyal to a fault and a softer heart you’d never find. Dawn needed a minder, and she’d chosen him. That was that as far as the boy was concerned. No, what puzzled Spike was where that steel came from.
Losing his friend and his lover in one night, Spike figured the boy would have crumbled. He’d never stood up for himself, let alone anyone else. Seeing him standing there, brown eyes hard and generous mouth firm, Spike wondered if any of them really understood Xander Harris.