The Last Scooby

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This is NOT my story.  I found this many years ago on one of the fanfiction sites. I used to have an email address to the author, but it is no longer valid, so I don't know who to credit the story to.  I have included it here is because I think it is SUCH a great story.  Maybe you will too.
 

The Last Scooby

Dawn smiled as the rays of the sun gently caressed her wrinkled skin. In the distance she could hear the sound of her grandchildren laughing as they played in her garden. Beyond that she could make out her son and daughters and their spouses chatting in the kitchen while doing the washing up. She would go to join them in a moment. But she felt so tired today. She decided to sit on the veranda chair a little longer, watching the sunset. It was her favorite spot, a ritual she practiced every evening.

She leaned back into the chair, sinking into the cushions. But she found she couldn't stop sinking, just kept going down and down, the world darkening around her as she kept falling and falling, panic rising in her chest as she plummeted. She suddenly felt very afraid, small and alone.

Then there was a light in the darkness. And a voice. She knew the voice. It sounded different from the last time she had heard it, weak and soft, straining slightly to be heard over the gentle hum of the hospital equipment and the muted weeping of children, young and old. It sounded young and strong now. But it was unmistakable and spoke the same, single word that had been its last, ten long years ago.

"Dawn."

And she was there. Her sister, Buffy Summers, looking young and healthy, and sixteen again, as Dawn always thought of her, not the old woman whose life support machine she had tearfully disconnected by her own request. Not the ninety-eight year old Buffy who was the first Slayer in history to die with grace and dignity, lying in bed, surrounded by her grandkids. Not the elderly matriarch whose hand Dawn had clutched as she'd gently surrendered the wonderful, tempestuous life she had clung to for so long.

She felt that hand grasping hers again, strong and affectionate. Her own hand had lost it's aged look, it appeared tiny, her skin fresh and unblemished as if she was a teenager again. A strand of Dawn's hair brushed past her face, no longer gray but dark and lustrous once more, just as it had been when she was a child.

She clutched her sister close, closer than she could ever imagine possible. She sobbed "Oh Buffy, oh Buffy, oh my dear sweet Buffy!" 

The hug was returned with perfect rapture. Dawn felt another set of arms surround her. She looked up from Buffy's shoulder.

Mom.

Just as she had last seen her decades ago in her vision, beautiful and glowing slightly, dressed all in white. Dawn tried to speak but the words wouldn't come. Then Joyce smiled and she knew it wasn't necessary to say anything.

"Dawnie." Hank Summers spoke as he joined the embrace.

"Daddy!"

Then suddenly they were all there: Angel, Giles, Xander and Anya, Spike, her husband Michael. Cordelia, Tara, Oz, Faith, Aunt Arlene, Wesley, Amanda, Kennedy, Riley, Andrew, Jonathan, Jenny, even Miss Kitty Fantastico -- they all were there.

The list went on and on, everyone she had ever loved and lost, all around her. Somehow they could all embrace her simultaneously and she could embrace them all back. She wept with joy, a mixture of utter euphoria and perfect contentment filling every atom of her being. Her only wish was that this feeling would last forever.

And so it did.

* * *

She planted a soft kiss on her forehead, the last traces of warmth slowly draining from Dawn's body. With her fingertips she gently closed Dawn's eyes. Dawn looked so peaceful, finally at rest. She would wait a few minutes before breaking the news to her family. There would be plenty of time for the agony of grief later, the shock tempered with the relief that Dawn had passed away with such serenity and happiness.

For now she would watch the sun set, and say her own goodbyes. "Goodnight my lovely Dawnie, my precious little girl. Tell them I love them. Tell them to wait for me. I'll be along in time. We'll all be together then."

And she wept. She wept in happiness for the joy of Dawn's life and the gentle release of her death. Wept because Dawn had died as she should have, as they all did, old and at peace. And she wept because she was truly alone now, the last of the Scooby gang.

Willow Rosenberg, the white-haired, immortal Goddess-witch; the Guardian of the Slayer line; the nerdish, socially outcast teenage girl Buffy Summers had found in the courtyard on her first day at Sunnydale High so long ago.

The Last Scooby.

The End