‘Arien,’ Dawn questioned to herself, her head not even lifted from the pillow. How she ended up with said pillow and the bed that went with it, she couldn’t quite recall. ‘Arien?’ Was that the name she had dreamt of? It had that light and feathery quality she could remember. No, no, no. Arien was that king guy’s daughter. The events of the previous night came rushing back. She groaned. Hours of researching and not one girl infant found within the area. Normally with anything she could Yahoo! It and have something within minutes. She truly felt they could find answers there or in Sunnydale. Despite the enormity of possibilities: stuff like this only happened here or there.
She’d have to question them further on what the kidnappers looked like. Even though she gave it a try, she doubted his baby could be found in an orphanage. Kidnappers tended to not just lose the kids the kidnapped, especially if the traveled worlds for them. She padded over to the bathroom, immediately going for the toothbrush. Screw vampires; morning breath was her mortal enemy. No, she continued thinking. Garden variety ritual of some sort, she was sure of it. And the baby’s grandfather said she had a gift of sorts? Most definitely.
Upon re-entering her room, she observed the clothes, books, and electronics still strewn on her floor. Angel’s insistence that she do something about it resurfaced, but she shoved it away. It was different now, they had a case now. Angel would understand.
She finished changing her clothes and stepped out into the hall. She wasn’t surprised to hear voices already up since… well… she was usually the last to get up. She saw everyone else buzzing about; including the three they had come across the night before. Morning people peeved her. Was Cordelia actually cooking? She couldn’t believe her eyes as she brought out plates from the industrial sized kitchen and set them in from of their guests at the counter. Her heart stopped palpitating when she heard Fred shouting from the kitchen. She was the make-shift chef. Thank God. She was starving.
“Rise and shine, loser,” Connor said, handing her a plate. She scowled.
“I just woke up and I still look better than you,” she retorted, examining the contents of the plate. She was half surprised that she didn’t see a taco there. Nope. Eggs and bacon with toast. They should have company over more often. “And besides… unlike you, I actually worked a little last night.” Dawn frowned and Connor narrowed his eyes. What was that note to self she thought of last night? Locator spell! Yes. She walked over to her “Magic Stash”, as she called it, next to the weapons, not noticing the scrutiny of the three newcomers.
“Wesley?” she called after a few minutes of searching. “Where’s my amber?”
“I… think… Lorne borrowed it,” he replied, mentally holding his place of his book. Dawn stared at the book, trying to think of what she was trying to remind herself of.
“Oh,” she said, forgetting the amber for a moment. “What dimension are you from?” she asked, picking up a pen to write it down.
“Midde-earth,” Gandalf replied. You might also find it referred to as Eä or Arda. Why do you ask?”
“Well, a couple reasons. One: we’ll have to find a way to get you back when you find her. Two: I have to try and calculate a time difference. I was thinking this morning: Connor was only gone a few weeks old when he was kidnapped as a baby.” The other eyes automatically went to the uncomfortable teenager. “In the world he was taken to, years passed. He came back as a teen.” She watched the color drain from their faces; Aragorn’s winning the race of color-loss speed. She was quick to try and smooth it over. “Not… to say that is this case, but… time could be different. We might want to at least consider it.”
Her recovery did not seem to comfort the grieving parent. Dawn felt bad. She should have just mentioned a mildly possible time difference of a day or two. Why did she have to explain things so thoroughly? She was surprised this guy hadn’t had a stroke by now, what with her going on.
Aragorn saw the girl’s pathetically sheepish expression, and tried to soften his discomfort. Despite only knowing her a few hours, he could understand she was only trying to help. She just had the almost painful tendency of saying everything that went through her mind. He could deduce that in just the short time he had been acquainted with her. He had once thought he’d always want the brutally honest truth upfront; but now he realized he could handle having things revealed to him a little at a time. Her sheepishness had hardly been eased, and Aragorn tried talking to the young one.
“Thank you,” he said, “for all of the thought you are putting into the search for my daughter. If there are anymore questions we can answer or anything we can do to help, please… don’t hesitate.” Dawn nodded slowly, deciding to always mull over her sentences before she spoke.
“Well,” she said, “I was just thinking. Well, last night, anyway. I think I might be able to do a locator spell.”
“Spell?” Gandalf inquired, his curiosity peaked.
“Yes,” Dawn replied. “It’s simple, really. If she is anywhere in this state, I can probably find her with a spell. I just, well, do you have anything of hers? Something she played with often or touched often that could be considered hers? It will help with the spell.” Aragorn shifted for a moment, looking to his companions. They all seemed to thinking the same thing.
He slowly reached around his neck, unclasping a jewel that was hidden beneath his tunic, extending it to her. Dawn didn’t feel comfortable holding her hand out for it. She felt like Miss Minchin taking away Sarah’s locket. Aragorn took Dawn’s hand and placed the Evenstar in her hand gently.
“It was my wife’s,” he said. “It was to be Arien’s when she was a bit older. She often toyed with it when my Arwen held her. Will that do?”
“Yes,” Dawn said. “I’m sure it will.” She frowned down at her hands a moment in a quiet thought. “Lorne… one of out friends has my amber rock I need. I’ll do what I can to prepare the spell and get the rock from him. I should be able to do it in a few hours.” Aragorn nodded in silent gratitude as she turned to perform the tasks she had named. His attention drew back to Gandalf as most of their hosts were otherwise occupied. The slender dark haired one was cleaning up the kitchen area while the other woman talked away to her, but not really helping. The youth was showing his elven friend some weaponry of this world. Legolas was interested in the one called a crossbow. The king sighed, not sure what else to do.
“Hey,” their host –Angel- greeted. “Don’t worry. Dawn is great at this type of stuff. I’m sure she’ll be able to find out where she is.” Aragorn nodded gratefully, forcing a smile, however small.
“Tell me, Master Angel,” Gandalf inquired, “how long has she been using magic? She is quite young to be doing so.” Angel turned around to look at Dawn, making sure she hadn’t heard about the inquiry about her. Angel threw his head to the side, motioning for them to follow him. They did so as he led them out onto the veranda. Aragorn and Gandalf got a first glimpse of the outside goings-on of this world in the day. They weren’t quite as intimidating in daylight. Both noticed Angel remained in the shadows, out of the sun's rays.
“Since she was about thirteen,” Angel answered, despite the break in their conversation. “Sorry, she doesn’t like to be talked about in the same room as if she weren’t there. Big identity issue. Anyway. Her mother died when she was thirteen. She tried to bring her back. It didn’t work out a she planned.” Aragorn’s mind strayed from his own misfortune as he pictured a shorter, dark haired child with bigger blue eyes crying at the resting spot place of her mother: cold stone stealing her tears. Gandalf had almost identical thoughts to that of his king: only his involve the same shorter, dark-haired child with bigger blue eyes crying over two graves. “She hasn’t tried anything like that since. She rarely goes into the dark arts at all. The only time I can remember was when my own son was kidnapped.
“Her magic found your son?” Aragorn asked hopefully.
“In a way. She found which dimension he was in, and the rest is history. She found him across dimensions; so the chances of her finding your kid are pretty good.” Aragorn peeked through the windows at the girl. Her face was so painfully concentrated on the spell she was doing, it was almost comical. As the conversation between Gandalf and the vampire with a soul drifted into realms of which King Elessar was completely uninterested, he drifted back into the hotel, continuing to watch the teenager working so vigorously at a spell that would find his daughter.
How strange he suddenly felt: as if he were not watching this strange youth that talked too much, but someone altogether strangely familiar. Her hair would not be tied back in a tail as it was, but dancing around her head as the wind combed its fingers through it. That laughable concentrated expression would not be painted on her features, but one of extreme grace and wisdom, with years shining in her eyes. The high pitch in her voice would fade to be replaced by a rich resonance. Why was he thinking this? Was her magic doing it? Perhaps it was who she once was, and now tried to conceal it. Maybe there had been something in the food of this world that he had eaten. Maybe he had not gotten enough sleep. As he continued to look at her unnoticed, there was something about her and this world that did not seem to fit. Then, for some reason… for some painful reason… he thought of his wife. His jaw instantly locked and the image of this girl’s other self, so to speak, shifted into a similar form of his wife. Ah, there was the rub. His most beloved jewel of all must have been as restless as he was that night. It was her that had his thoughts going off in peculiar trails. It was her that this girl reminded him of.
“Hey Lorne, it’s Dawn. We have a Defcon 3 situation over here. Inter-dimension kidnapping. Wesley mentioned that you might have it. If you can, bring it over. If not, I’ll be over there after while. Talk to ya later! Bye.” Her voice arose him out of his trance as she spoke into a strange device. After she pulled it from her head, she finally noticed his scrutiny.
“A telephone,” she said. “Let’s people communicate over long distances.” Aragorn nodded, not caring to know the mechanics of it. She went back to crushing something he assumed would aid in her spell. He had to admit, he wasn’t sure of her abilities- she was so young- but then again, they had no other ideas.
A man of a much darker complexion than of anyone Aragorn had ever see walked through the door to the hotel. Everyone looked up at him as he stared at the two newcomers in the lobby.
“We havin’ a party, or what?”
“Gunn!” Dawn said excitedly, not moving from her workstation behind the counter. “Did you get it?”
“Well, don’t be too excited to see me or anything,” he said, pretending to be offended. “Sup, Con.”
“Gunn?” Dawn said impatiently. He held up the item in his hand.
“Mandrake root. Offered in only one place in California, that being Sunnydale.”
“Good,” she said. Gunn frowned.
“I take a two day trip out of town to get you some plants and I get a ‘good’?”
“Oh thank you, o kind sir… o noble and gallant…”
“Knock it off. I just wanted a little appreciation around here is all,” he said in a mock-stubbed-up tone, tossing the plant she was out of. Dawn smirked at him. “What did you need it for?”
“Nothing, we were just out of it.”
“Oh, Gunn, this is Aragorn and Legolas. They’re looking for his daughter who’s been brought to this world. Aragorn and Legolas, this is Charles Gunn. Coolest demon hunter ever.”
“What’s up?” he said in greeting. Aragorn frowned, not understanding the phrase.
“He means ‘hello’,” Dawn said, and then turned to Gunn. “They’re not from around here.”
“Oh,” Gunn replied, understanding.
“Okay,” Dawn said, pouring a liquid in with the other powders she had, “I’m heading over to Lorne’s.”
“For what?” Gunn asked. “He has my amber rock. Well, that’s what Wesley said. I need it for a locator spell.”
“What are you trying to locate.”
‘His daughter,” she said, putting on her jacket. “Tell Angel when he comes in. Hold down the fort while I’m gone.” He saluted as she turned to Aragorn. “Just hang tight. I’ll be back with the rock and I’ll finish the spell. Don’t worry. Wesley!” she suddenly yelled, jerking Aragorn into attention.
“What!” the Englishman answered, poking his head out of the office.
“Call Willow please,” she said. “See if anything’s up.”
‘Right,” he said, disappearing back into the office.
“But I just came back from Sunnydale,” Gunn said.
“Well, we didn’t have anything to ask then,” she said. “We have to keep an eye out for any cults, by the way. We’re looking for an infant. About 12 months old. She might have a gift-y thing that someone wants.”
“Who kidnapped her?”
“Several men,” Aragorn said. “More like creatures though. We did not get a very good look at them. They were cloaked in brown robes. Their faces were very wrinkled, and had little hair. Their eyes were black.” Gunn thought a moment.
“I didn’t see any in Sunnydale,” he said. “But that don’t mean there ain’t any.”
“Right,” Dawn said. “I’ll be back.” With that, she disappeared out the door.
Aragorn and Legolas watched as she disappeared into the outside world as The two other residing females came from the kitchen.
“Gunn!” Cordelia said. “You’re back.”
“Thanks for noticing. Leave for one day, and look at what happens.”
“Ah. Don’t feel left out, Charlie-boy,” Conner said grinning, throwing an arm around his shoulders.
“Get up off me now,” Gunn said in mock-seriousness, slinging the youth’s arm off him.
“Gunn.” The crew turned around to see Angel and Gandalf coming in from the porch.
“It is me,” he said. “No worse for the wear.”
“You get what Dawn wanted?”
“Always do,” he said, sighing. “Who’s this?”
“Oh,” Angel said, “This is Gandalf. Gandalf, this is Gunn. He’s another member of our crew. I assume you’ve already been introduced?” he questioned, eyes Aragorn and Legolas, and then back to Gunn.
“Yeah.” The others nodded in confirmation.
“Where’s Dawn?” Angel asked, suddenly panicked.
“Relax,” Gunn said in a higher pitch. “She went to Lorne’s to get her amber rock. She’ll be right back. It’s daylight.” Angel relaxed a little bit, other than that apprehension he always had when Dawn wasn’t in his field of vision. Once again, the door swung open, and a new visitor walked in.
If Aragorn had had time to think, he would have questioned as to how many crew members these people had. However, his Elven friends drew his bow quick enough to distract him from any thought. The creature in the doorway muttered a curse to himself as he backed out and shut the door quickly as he saw an arrow being pointed in his general direction.
“WHOA!” Fred said, stepping in front of the path of the elf and not yet released arrow. “He’s a friend!” Legolas, became confused; but at the woman’s insistence, slowly lowered his arrow. He saw as the green creature observed the goings on from outside, and entered when he saw all had been made well. Aragorn, Gandalf, and especially Legolas stared at their new acquaintance.
“I’m guessing you’re the Defcon 3 situation Dawn was talking about,” he said.
“Everybody, this is Lorne. Lorne, this is everybody,” Angel said, tired of making intros.
“Thank you for that poetic introduction,” the Host said as he looked at the suspicious three. “Now no need to go pointing arrows all at once,” he said.
“You are Lorne?” Aragorn questioned, not believing the green, horned, red-eyed creature he saw before him.
‘The one and only. Where’s Dawn? I brought her rock.”
“She went over to your place,” Gunn said “How’d you get here so fast?”
“I checked my messages from my cell. I had to make a house call and I had this with me since the house call was why I needed it. Poor Betonius. Had and infection of the hoof. Needed a charm spell.”
“For his foot?” Angel asked.
“No, for himself. Poor guys so ugly, the doctor wouldn’t see him. Will now though. What’s sugarmuffin need the amber for?”
“Locator spell,” Aragorn answered. “She is trying to find my daughter.” Lorne looked over the vistors’ garb.
“Time travelers?” he asked.
“Dimension travelers,” Fred corrected.
“Ah,” he said. “I’m one of those myself. Don’t know about where you’re from, but this place sure beats Pylea, I’ll tell you that much.” He walked over to Dawn’s prepared locator spell, looking over her progress.
“She scribing and sending a lighter?”
“I don’t know what she’s doing,” Angel answered.
“No matter,” he said, pulling out the tawny stone that had halted the teenager’s proceedings.
“Young going to finish it?” Gunn said.
“Sure,” Lorne answered. “I’ve seen this done a thousand and three times. It’ll save the time for Dawn to realize I’m not home and head back.” Aragorn watched very closely as the green creature poured the mixture Dawn had made into a vial and place it over a candle.
“Is this the source?” Lorne aisked, holding up the jewel.
“Yes,” Aragorn answered. Lorne placed it on a hook-stand in a circle on the map. There didn’t appear to be much to it as Lorne bowed his head in concentration, muttering something very quietly as the inside of the hotel suddenly went dark except around the map.
“Hey guys, I forgot my phone,” everyone heard from behind them. All but Lorne to Dawn who was walking back into the hotel. “Lorne?” Her eyes suddenly turned to the size of proverbial saucers as the green light that was to find the Princess of Gondor bolted from her potion and began barreling toward the doorway, smacking into her. It threw her back into the open door, closing it, right before it slider her a good twelve feet up the wall before dropping her to the ground.
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