“Monks of Dagon?” Wesley asked. “What about them?”
“Dawn found this piece in some material concerning Middle-earth. She said it was from an order called the Monks of Dagon,” Gandalf said. Wesley furrowed his brow down at the short rhyme through his glasses as he slowly sat down in his chair.
“I’m surprised she would consider looking in their sources. She must have been desperate for information.”
“Why would that be?” the wizard question. Wesley looked up at him, not sure if the question should have surprised him or not.
“The Monks of Dagon were involved in Dawn’s… predicament… I guess you would call it, a few years back. It’s a delicate subject with her.” He paused. “Is this all she found?”
“That’s the first thing she found,” Gandalf replied. “There’s still much she had to look through, she said.”
“What predicament are you talking about?” Aragorn questioned. Wesley’s eyes shifted to him, surprised at the direct inquiry. The king realized his boldness. “If it doesn’t trouble you to say,” he followed with.
“That’s something you’d have to ask her. It’s not my place. She’s threatened to maim me for lesser offenses than that would be.” He finished the last part with a slight smile. The ex-Watcher made his excuses and left, reading the found rhyme to himself.
Gandalf stared at the King of Gondor.
“Aragorn?” The individual in question turned to the wizard. Gandalf continued to observe him during a few quiet moments, grave seriousness etched in his eyes. “It is unlike you to want to pry into little Dawn’s past.” Aragorn cast his eyes downward, unsure how to explain his sudden inquiry.
“There is no need for me to have that knowledge, I suppose,” Aragorn said, more to himself than anyone. “I was only curious.”
“Aragorn,” Gandalf began very seriously after a few moments. “Dawn will not replace Arien.” The King’s eyes quickly met the wizards, their owner speechless, and a pain forming in his neck from looking up so fast.
“I don’t know what you mean, Mithrandir,” he said, turning away, looking out to the city outside the window that looked too little like home.
“Do not turn from me, Aragorn,” he said like a father scolding a disobedient child who did not want to hear what he had to say. “I have watched you these past weeks, as I tend to. Do not think I am blind to Dawn’s resemblance of Arwen. Or to the attachment she’s grown to you. She hangs on every word you say to her. The child has no father, only a vampire to protect her. “
“Gandalf, you are-”
“She will build you up and that esteem and then you will be gone.”
The king lost his words as he turned back to the wizard. He lost his words as he looked at his companion again. Gandalf looked back at him knowingly.
“Come now,” he said. “I do not wish to hurt Dawn anymore than you do. And I am not advising you to turn your back on her. But we are going to find your daughter. And Dawn may not know it, but it will break her heart, for you will have gone, and she will remember that her real father never came for her.”
The ex-Ranger looked again toward the design on the floor, watching it as he sat in one of the chairs in Wesley’s office. Something inside had begun to hurt.
“She’s so smart, Gandalf,” he said. “She knows and sees so much for one so young. There’s so much that she doesn’t say, surprisingly. And she looks-” He paused. “So much like…” He decided it was best not to finish. “And we haven’t found her yet! We’ve been here for two fortnights and still Arien is missing! This world has tools for finding people beyond our imaginations, and still she’s gone.” He had begun pacing by now. “And if we don’t find her one day she will be Dawn,” he said softly suddenly, looking up to the girl’s room on the floor above them. “She’ll be a lost child at the mercy of some former demon somewhere fighting the evils of this world when she should be protected from them. She’ll believe her parents don’t want her as Dawn does, and never know they don’t sleep at night thinking of her, wondering if she’s alive and safe and if we’re even closer to finding her than the day before.” Gandalf stared at Aragorn who was now breathing heavier than he had been.
“I do not think that will be Arien’s fate,” the wizard said.
Lindsey landed with an unceremonious thud as he curled into a fetal position momentarily, a groan following his collision with the wall. The sound of the door swinging open was accompanied by guns being cocked. Angel didn’t turn around to see the guards that Lindsey stayed with his hand from his place on the floor.
“We’re fine,” he choked out. Angel kept his nonchalant look on his demonic face while the guards hesitated for a moment before they slowly backed out of the office at its owner’s request.
“Well, at least you might have managed to grow a pair since you’ve been gone, Lindsey,” Angel said, walking steadily toward him. “No hiding behind your bodyguards? Problem is,” he grabbed him by the throat, lifting him to his feet and higher, “you’re still not on my side.”
“If… we could… talk,” the lawyer strangled out. The vampire let him fall to the floor again. “I thought we were on good terms when I left,” he coughed out.
“Rejoining Wolfram and Hart pretty much negated that truce,” Angel said casually.
“Trifles,” Lindsey said.
“What do you know about the dream demon?” Angel demanded evenly.
“Eh heh,” Lindsey chuckled as he got to his feet, going to lock his office. “I would say you’ve got bigger problems then that, Angel,” he said.
“Let me guess, ran out of hair gel? Make a crack about my love life? What have you got, lawyer-boy?”
“They want the girl, Angel.” The nonchalant humor left the vampires face. He didn’t need elaboration. He stepped purposefully toward the lawyer who was struggling to speak before he got himself killed.
“Let’s do dinner.”
“Hey,” Dawn said. “Do you know if Angel’s back yet?” Aragorn looked up from the paper he had been staring at for hours at the girl coming down the stairs from his place on the couch.
“N-no,” he said, suddenly struggling to speak. He unreasonably imagined the teenager knew that he had discussed her with his friend, and for that reason anticipated hostility. “He has not returned yet.” Dawn frown as she reached the bottom of the stairs, not a trace of hostility, much to Aragorn’s temporary and irrational confusion. He chose then to recall that the girl would have no knowledge of the discussion he had had with Gandalf, and he was therefore in no danger of having her angry at him for talking about her behind her back. If there was one thing he’d come to know about the girl, it was that she hated being discussed.
“He’s been gone for a while.” She was quiet for a moment, then shook her head as if to shake away concern. “Oh well. He’s been taking care of himself for 250 plus years, I’m sure he’s doing fine without me now. Whatcha readin’?”
“Um,” he started unsurely, “the… prophecy you gave us earlier.” Dawn dimmed a bit.
“Oh… right. Umm…is it… do you think it means something to you? I couldn’t understand it. It was in that funky script. Elvish, right?” Aragorn nodded, the smile that would usually accompany hearing her strange vocabulary when concerning his own world was not there this time. His graveness didn’t go unnoticed. “So, does it look like it’s not going to help at all?” Aragorn looked down at it again.
“We’re… not altogether certain. There’s a possibility.”
“Well…” Dawn started, “Possibilities are better than dead ends. What does it mean? Maybe I can research whatever it means.” Aragorn paused, remembering Wesley saying how uncomfortable she was with her source, although she seemed fine now. Perhaps since she was not researching their sources now, she would be fine. He cleared his throat before reading it to her in common tongue.
“From the breaking light was a child born,
And from that breaking light shall a child be found.
With sight from her blood, and strength from within,
Her power shall spill from a God Hell-bound.”
Dawn squeezed her eyes together for a moment in slight pain. Voices flooding her senses.
"But there is also life. You saw there was a child. You saw my daughter!"
“The same blood runs through my veins. The same weakness.”
“It’s Summers’ Blood. It doesn’t matter if you’re really ours… it’s still just like mine.”
“This is blood isn't it? It can't be me. I'm not a key. I'm not a thing. Am I real? Am I anything?”
Aragorn had planned on explaining the similarities to his daughter until he looked up and found that Dawn had her back to him, her hands partially covering her face.
“Dawn?” he asked, standing and walking towards her. “Are you…”
“I’m fine,” she said quickly, whispering, almost.
“Have I upset you? Is it…”
“No… I just… I don’t think that’s about you daughter, that’s all.” Aragorn frowned.
“Light is often associated with the line of Gondor,” he defended. “And my wife’s family has the gift of foresight.” Dawn nodded in uncaring compliance, barely listening.
“Maybe,” she said, humoring him. He did not miss her lack of enthusiasm.
“What makes you think it is not?” Dawn was silent for several moments. Because I was the one the Monks of Dagon were keeping from a Hell-god two years ago. Of course she couldn’t tell him that.
“Just a feeling,” she replied, heading back upstairs. Aragorn took a silent calming breath. She knew something: why wouldn’t she just tell him? He was close to demanding it, but thought better. It wouldn’t help matters to let his frustration show to one of the most helpful people he had. She had been the one to find Elvish in this world in the first place. Not only that, but Dawn wasn’t one to handle firm questioning easily. One wrong word could stiffen her backbone as easily as Legolas could draw his bow.
“Something is troubling you, my friend?” The elf used in his mental simile came up behind him, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. Aragorn sighed.
“You do not have to pretend you did not hear.” Legolas smiled.
“Then I will not,” the elf replied. Aragorn cast his glance back toward the stairs where Dawn had disappeared up to.
“She knows something. Something she won’t tell me. But there is something about this that involves Arien. I know it.”
“Perhaps she will change her mind,” Legolas said. “She’s been known to do that. Or maybe Gandalf is right in thinking that she does not truly want you to ever leave.”
“You heard that as well, did you?” Aragorn questioned. I was meant to be a humorous comment, but it did not reach his voice. “I do not think she would knowingly keep information about Arien from me.” Legolas lowered his head.
“Yes, you are right. But if not that, what is she hiding?” It was Aragorn’s turn to stare at the floor.
“I don’t know. She won’t tell me.” The king left Legolas to dwell on his thoughts as he walked out onto the veranda of the hotel. He found he liked the smell of jasmine that saturated the outdoors of the hotel.
Legolas, in the mean time, stared up at the staircase that he had seen Dawn go up. Before he realized it, he was retracing her footsteps to the room he knew she used as a study. The door was slightly opened. He could hear her shuffling around inside, sniffling a bit.
He wasn’t sure what had brought him there. He had barely spoken five sentences to girl since the three of them had been there. What possessed him to want to speak to her now? Did he even want to? He had nothing he could say to her. Aragorn had been the one to build a friendship with her. If she would not tell him, what was he going to do? He turned from the door and began walking away.
At least, that was the plan until he heard the door swing open behind him. Before he could turn around he felt a body bump into him from behind with a delicate “Oof.” He turned to see her attempting to keep several books from falling out of her hands. She failed with all except one of them. She cast him a glance that was placed somewhere between annoyance and confusion. Annoyance at dropping her books and confusion most likely at why he was there.
“Can I help you?” she questioned tartly, leaning down to pick up her books. Insolent child. Even so, Legolas found himself with nothing to say: the reason being why he had been leaving in the first place. He leaned down to help her pick up two of her books as she tried to balance her other three.
Legolas suddenly found himself stumbling over verbal pauses as he handed her the books he held in his hand. Elves did not stumble. But was he supposed to say to the little cheek?
“I was wondering if you needed any aid in you research.” What?
The brunette seemed to be thinking the same think as she raised a quizzical brow.
“If you found any more Elvish that… you might need translated.” Why was she making him so nervous? Could he not lay several orcs flat with his bow in seconds? She was a precocious human teenager. An uneasy feeling started stirring in his stomach… the same kind he felt when he knew he was missing something. She seemed to let it go as she cast him one last curious glance before she walked back into the room she had come out of.
“No I haven’t found any-” she stopped. “I forgot what I was doing,” she said to no one in particular. She sighed, annoyed with herself. He could only see the back of her head, but imagined her rolling her eyes. She indulged in the action at least three times a day. He watched her place her books down on her desk and sit down in front of that infernal… machine she spent so many hours looking at. He found himself standing at the door, not knowing whether to go in or make his leave. He felt either would be rude.
“You can sit down if you want,” she said while looking at her screen. “I don’t bite.” Well, it seemed his dilemma was solved. He walked into the room he had never been in, but that he knew Dawn had spent hours in. In his restlessness over the past four weeks, he had built it up to almost a legend status. He imagined it, not in exact seriousness, to be a huge hall with thousands of texts and great flaming displays of magic.
It didn’t exactly match up to his imagination. She certainly had a vast number of books lining her walls. A few weapons hung as well. One of those… televisions… off to the side with two chairs low to the floor in front of it. He noticed some cords of some sort going to the chairs with little black boxes at the end.
“It’s a XBox ,” she said. He turned back to face her. “Probably hadn’t seen one of those yet. Only me and Connor play it-” she paused, frowning. “Connor and I,” she said quietly to herself, trying to figure out the proper grammar. She looked back at Legolas. “Only Connor and I play it, so it’s up here instead of downstairs.”
He wasn’t overly curious. Figuring out all of the contraptions in this world had been a task he had long since abandoned. She seemed to take notice of his lack of interest, and said nothing further concerning the device.
Why had he come here? He suddenly couldn’t remember. He wasn’t sure he even had a purpose.
“What’s up?” she asked him, breaking him out of his thoughts.
“My lady?” he questioned, looking at the ceiling confusedly. She smiled, still typing away at the computer.
“Heh. Sorry. Poor word choice. Is something wrong? You just… don’t normally say much to me. I thought something might be giving you the wiggins or something.” He remained silent, staring at her intently. “I thought something might be troubling you.” He shook his head.
“No, my lady,” he replied. “I only… that is… I thought that maybe I could be of more assistance to you. Should you come across any more Elvish or any other writing on our world.”
“Um…” she started. “Uh… yeah, I guess. I’ve just been… taking what I find to Gandalf and Aragorn… but I mean… if you don’t have anything else to do.”
“I must confess I do feel rather useless,” the elf replied, smiling a bit.
Okay, Dawn realized she was only fifteen. She had many years before contemplating anything more serious than a harmless crush or a few stolen kisses here and there with another teenager still trying to make it out of adolescence as unscarred as possible. She had of course noticed the elf’s uber-hotness upon first meeting him. But Dawn worked with Angel. She worked with Wesley. She worked with Gunn. She worked with Connor. Spike had watched over her at one point in her life. She had pretty much grown immune to crushing on older, uber-hot men. Seeing a gorgeous blonde popping in from another dimension did not mean that Dawn, even as a hormonal teenager, would necessarily start her heart a-throbbing.
However, when said gorgeous blonde, elf or not, brings himself into her domain and smiles at her like that… she was, after all, a very, very… very hormonal girl. She recognized the little flutter in her stomach as the simple reaction of being paid attention to by salty goodness, as Cordy would say, that did not remind her of a family figure. Of course she reminded herself that the elf had absolutely no intentions of creating these feelings with his smile. He was probably, from what Dawn had read and been told about elves, thousands of years old, and not aware of the effect he had on too young emotional females that he barely even knew.
Somehow in her sudden decision to allow herself to develop a crush on this man… elf… whatever… she managed to maintain a straight, uninterested composure.
“Well, in that case,” she said, shrugging. “Um, it might be while before I find anything else, so, if you want to just, hang around or… not… or… whatever. I let you know if I find anything.” Legolas did not know exactly what she was saying; but he was pretty sure he could comprehend the general idea. Hang around. It possible meant to stay around her general area so he would be available if she needed him. He stood up from his chair as she went back to concentrating on… whatever she did when she was on that machine. He walked around her room, examining the many weapons on the wall. There was one battle axe that particularly reminded him of his dwarven friend.
“May I?” he asked. Dawn looked up to see to what he was referring. She was him right next to the few weapons she was interested in training with. She had hung them there in hopes one day Connor and Angel would take the hint that she wanted to learn how to fight.
“By all means,” she said. “At least they’ll be getting some kind of attention.”