Title :: Unnatural
Rating :: FR15
Pairings :: General
Prompt :: billybee_honey‘s “Eyes” was the inspiration for this piece. Written for the btvs_sccxoverchallenge.
Disclaimer :: I do not own these characters and no profit is being made from the use of them.
Synopsis :: Skynet is not above psychological warfare—in fact they embrace it.
The arms around her tightened, held Dawn to a lean frame as startled blue eyes settled on the slim form crumpled in front of them. Her biceps corded as she pushed herself up from the floor and out of John’s embrace. Her beaten body protesting as the high from her endorphin laced fear slipped away as stepped away from her general and made her way closer, placed herself over the slumped body of the newest cyborg Skynet had sent to remove the threat she posed as John’s second.
Her jaw tensed, nostrils flaring and her eyes rapidly filled with tears as Cameron rose, pulling free the only part of the thing in front of her that was truly irreplaceable. She locked gazes with one of John’s few success stories and nodded, ignored the sight of her eyes burning blue as she stepped back and down. Dawn knelt in the rubble that had been her lab and put her hand to a slack cheek, shoulders slumping in defeat.
Half its endoskeleton had been revealed during its brief and violent battle with Cameron but its face remained surprisingly and unsettlingly untouched. Dawn felt John’s hands cup her shoulders and offer a brief, comforting squeeze before they slipped away and her lips thinned, vision blurring as she continued to run her thumb over the gentle slope of the cybrog’s cheek. A cheek that she remembered from before the world went to hell and took everyone right along with it.
She blinked, shook her head and kept her hand against that cooling cheek as she looked up. Presented her tear stained face to her leader without remorse, without fear of appearing weak. Not now, not ever—Dawn was a lot of things but weak wasn’t one of them. “Why her?”
He crouched, folding that lean, muscular body down so that she wasn’t forced to look skyward. No one liked to look skyward nowadays. “You know why.”
“She’s mine. She’s not theirs. We’re not putting her in that pile for them to use as scrap later.” Dawn turned away from John, stared down at the cyborg that wore her sister’s face—a face she’d missed, ached for since before humanity lost the world—and shook her head. “No way in hell.”
“That wasn’t an option.”
She rubbed at her own face, smearing the dust and tears before looking back to him. They all looked to him, even her. “Then what is?”
His lips lifted, the briefest of smiles, before he rose and turned to Cameron. “Bring it to my lab.”
The still functioning cyborg nodded and moved toward Dawn and the crumpled form that greatly resembled her sister. She knelt, face emotionless as she pulled the smaller body into her arms and rose, easily lifting the heavy burden and Dawn rose with her, eyes wide and still uncomprehending. “John? John, what are you doing?”
He met her confused stare and his lips dipped inward, another fleeting smile. “What I can,” and with those words he turned, boot heels crunching over the wood and broken concrete with Cameron trailing behind them, her movements balanced and graceful.
Dawn’s stomach knotted and she looked around, focused on the ruin surrounding her rather than think on the ruin inside of her and her shoulders squared. Back drawing up into a straight line before she pushed up her sleeves and put herself to work. Squatting she wrapped her fingers around a section of broken wall and huffed, hefting it and another set of hands were suddenly there. She looked up, met the newest member of this fraction of the resistance’s gaze as he helped her lift and carry the section of wall to the corner.
His smile was crooked, like so many others. “Not a problem.”
She turned toward him, offered him a dusty and battered hand. “Dawn Summers.”
A quick once over from a pair of narrowed green eyes gained her a wider smile as he stepped closer and accepted the handshake. Those eyes gathered at the corners as he met and held her stare. She raised a brow and he finally supplied his name. “Derek Reese.”
With one last squeeze Dawn freed his hand and stepped away from him and turned her mind back toward cleanup. “Sure you want to help with this mess Reese?”
“Never been afraid of a little hard work.”
“Who is these days?”
He snorted and they went back to work, trying to right what went wrong.