Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are property of 20th Century Fox, Joss Whedon, and Mutant Enemy. Smallville is property of Millar and Gough, Inc. and the WB/CW. I own nothing nor do I profit from this story.
Oxford University, England ------- May 10, 2006
Dawn Summers slept. At least, she tried to sleep. It had been a long day of final exams and she was both over stressed and more hyped up than she’d been in weeks. There were lots of downsides to living on the Hellmouth---the high mortality rate alone was enough to make property values plummet to record lows for Southern California. The one advantage to living in apocalypse central, however, was the schedule. There was always something rising out of the Hellmouth around exam time. It was terrible for the Slayer, but it meant that her little sister hadn’t suffered through a final until her final year of high school in Italy.
It also meant that Dawn was a little out of practice in dealing with end of the year stress. Evil and veiny witches intent on turning her into energy balls she could handle, no sweat. A twenty page term about the French Revolution gave her nightmares.
It was a screwy world.
Dawn opened her eyes and squinted at the digital clock. It was quarter ‘til two and she still couldn’t sleep. She sighed, turned over once more, and stared at her roommate. Alexis McDowall was a slayer that Willow had located in Edinborough. She was taking classes with Dawn at Oxford (Giles had pulled a few strings), and the youngest Summers suspected it was no coincidence that she had a slayer has a roommate/body guard. Although, for the record, she had been trained alongside the potentials and she’d had three extra years of field experience and Watcher training. She didn’t need anyone else. Overprotective older sisters seemed to disagree. It was okay most of the time. Alexis was a classics major, too, and surprisingly emotionally stable for a slayer.
They got along well, except for those sleepless nights when all Dawn seemed to hear was her roommate’s freight train snoring. On nights like these, she was tempted to smother the slayer with a pillow, which, considering the potential victim, was pointless. When one is smothered, another is called.
Alexis snored louder while Dawn covered her ears with her pillow and closed her eyes. (Breathe in, breathe out.) And in and out. And no killing the roommate. She repeated the mantra in her head and, surprisingly, it worked.
Dawn had been made from Buffy, blood of her blood and all that mess. In the grand scheme of things it didn’t seem to make much of a difference, except, of course, that such a close connection promoted swan-diving behavior in her sister. She’d never derived any personal benefits from having Buffy blood. In point of fact, she had “talk with monks” on her list of things to do. She felt cheated in the super powers department. Or at least she had until now.
If she had a super power to pick from, she probably would have chosen the slayers’ unnatural grace and ability to instantly learn any martial arts move. She’d always been a little clumsy and admired Buffy’s skills. Second probably would have to be the enhanced strength. Psychic dreams? Those would have been the last item on the list. The Powers That Be were just funny that way.
She dreamed she was in the middle of a large city. At first she thought it was New York or possibly downtown L.A., but if it was, she couldn’t make out any defining landmarks in the horizon. For the first time, she understood why she’d had to shake Buffy out of many of her dreams. Everything felt real. Pity it wasn’t a nicer picture. The streets around her were filled with looters, many of whom had already set fire to various businesses. Dawn could feel the smoke clouding her eyes and blinked back tears. She could smell the sweat of the hundreds of surging bodies and she could hear the screams. She hated the screams.
Another benefit of the Sunnydale experience was exposure to large groups of panicking people. Granted, she’d mostly seen people flee from disaster. Sunnydale may have imploded, but there hadn’t been riots. Well, there was that one time with the Gentlemen, but there’d been the Initiative to keep the peace. As far as she could tell, the cavalry wasn’t coming, or if it had, it had gotten its ass seriously kicked.
Reflexively, Dawn jumped to her right as a group of five men, all of them armed with bricks or pipes, ran through where’d she’d been. She didn’t much like the look in their eyes anymore than she liked the smoke. It was a hungry, predatory look---the same one she’d seen most vampires sport. It was a whole city in game face.
The most disorienting part of the dream was that she couldn’t tell when she was. Before her sister had been called, she dreamed about the lives of past slayers. But then again Buffy had also seen the future and watched helplessly as potentials were slaughtered before her eyes. Dawn hoped it was a precognitive dream because then there was a chance the Scooby Council could stop it, even if all the big bads were human.
She kept walking, rubbing her arms as she went, trying to stave off an overwhelming feeling of cold. Desperate for anything to wrap around her arms, she picked up a discarded newspaper but stopped.
“Mm, Daily Planet. That explains a why I didn’t recognize it. The shopping in Metropolis sucks.” She said to herself before dropping the paper back down. She wasn’t that desperate, not yet.
Then she heard it, a scream louder and more piercing than any of the others. Instinctively, she reached for the stake that should have been in her jacket pocket. Humans and stakes didn’t exactly mix, as Faith could tell you, but step one in Hellmouth disaster training was to keep a piece of wood handy.
She cursed under her breath when she found nothing more lethal in her pockets than an old gum wrapper.
“Screw it.” She muttered as she ran toward the noise. Martial arts training had to count for something, right?
Dawn skidded to a stop in front of a crashed limousine. There were five men crouched ten feet away, and she could see flashes of someone underneath them. She could make out brassy blond hair and glimpses of a suit jacket.
“Stop!” She yelled, sounding braver than she actually felt. The men stopped, stood up, and eyed her with the same predatory ferocity that had infected the city.
The tallest man, casually dressed in jeans and a green t-shirt, glared at her. “And who’s going to make us, little girl. You?”
If Buffy had been here, she would have thought up something clever or flippant. Buffy had super powers; she could afford to be a smart-ass. “I guess so.”
“Have it your way,” tall guy said. He nodded and the mob started running towards Dawn. She braced herself in her best defensive stance and readied herself for the attack.
And then she woke up.
She awoke to see Alexis standing over her, both hands gripping her shoulders. “Dawnie, are you okay?”
“Don’t call me Dawnie,” she replied automatically. It was a minor point after her (first) intense psychic dream, but she really got tired of being treated as a little kid. If she were fifty, the Scooby Council and by extension all the slayers would still call her Dawnie.
“Sorry. Wasn’t thinking.” Alexis frowned. “Are you okay? You were screaming pretty loud. It wasn’t about Glory was it?”
Dawn shook her head. She still had occasional nightmares about the day her sister died and she’d opened the portal to…well everywhere. “No. This was something different.” She paused and Alexis glared at her. “Alright, so no more pauses for dramatic effect then. I think I had a slayer dream.”
“But you’re not a slayer.”
“Stating the obvious much? But I have slayer blood, so maybe some of it finally kicked in.”
“Can you be sure?”
“Are you ever sure when it happens?”
Alexis nodded, “Yeah, it feels real; all five senses just go into overdrive.”
“Then it was definitely a slayer dream. I don’t understand why I had one and you didn’t, but I think there might be a potential in trouble.”
“But there aren’t any potentials, hence big-ass slayer spell that Willow pulled off.”
“Well maybe there are new potentials?” Dawn offered but frowned. “That doesn’t really make sense, but there’s a girl in big trouble and I think someone has to save her.”
“Since when do slayer dreams deal with just one person? I thought they were about preparing slayers for the big smack-down. You know, apocalypse type stuff.”
Dawn thought back to the riots and the raging fires. “It sure seemed apocalypse-level to me.”
“Alright,” Alexis said, her eyes narrowed and her head tilted toward her. “Clearly, you think---“
“You think you know someone is in trouble. Then the next logical questions are where do we need to go and is what you saw a rerun?”
Dawn took a breath. “Metropolis.”
Alexis laughed and then stopped herself when Dawn glared at her. “So you had a dream about Kansas?”
“Buffy dreamed about girls in Germany.”
“Fair enough. So, round two: is it something that has happened or is about to go down?”
Dawn squinted her eyes and tried to recall the newspaper she’d read. “I saw a date.” She scrunched up her forehead in deeper concentration and then widened her eyes. “It’s tomorrow’s date.”
“Even if we got on the Concord tonight and explained the credit card expense to Mr. Giles, we probably won’t make it there in time.”
Dawn nodded, “But we know someone who can. Get me the phone and I think I can sort everything out.”
Alexis arched and eyebrow, “You think everything’s going to be all five-by-five, but do you really think that ‘the burned out street corner in the middle of a riot’ are good enough directions to give her. Oh and to keep her from kicking your butt.”
Dawn bit her lower lip. “I’m putting a lot of trust in slayer sense.”
“And when you tell her that you’re the one with the link to the psychic friend’s network?”
“No worries. I’m telling her that you’ve been having the nightmare for a week and finally broke down and told me.”
“So she can kick my ass when she makes the trip to Kansas and finds out she left her post for nothing. Gee thanks, Dawnie.”
“I live to serve. Now hand me the phone.”
Alexis saluted. “Aye-aye, captain. But if I were you, I still think of a more specific location than ‘that burned out crap hole.’”
“How about a block to the west of the Daily Planet headquarters?”
Alexis handed her the phone and shook her head. “She’s still going to kill you for this.”
“It’s early in the States.”
“Yeah, but you’ll be interrupting her prime violence time.”