Prologue and Chapter One
Title: Losing Dawn
Disclaimer: In case it wasn’t painfully obvious, I own neither Buffy characters nor LotR characters. Just thought I’d let you know. I only own this DQ Moolatte I’m sipping right now.
Notes: This is slightly AU for both worlds, just so you know. Nothing major, I don’t think. But just go with the flow, and you’ll pick up on the minor changes. If you’re confused, let me know in a REVIEW (hinthint).
It had been hours and hours upon hours of riding for the King of Gondor. No matter how hard and fast he rode, he could catch not sight of the creatures that had taken his child. His first daughter. His first child. He wanted to scream with rage the farther and farther he rode with no sign of his daughter or her kidnappers. At first he could hear nothing other than the beating of his horse and the horses behind him. But slowly, everything seemed to fade around him as the chances of safely getting his daughter home became smaller and smaller.
When he finally halted, he could barely breathe. It gave six companions a chance to catch up to him. He looked at the father of his wife, who was still looking frantically around for any sign of his infant granddaughter. The regal brow of Elrond Peredhil creased in worry and distress of losing the new child of Gondor. The king stared helplessly at the people surrounding him as they all tried to catch their breath as well. Faramir, his loyal steward, gazed at him sympathetically, not knowing what to say to the king. Gandalf the White looked as bemused as he felt, a feeling of sadness stealing across his face. Legolas of Mirkwood, who had come as a dear friend of the king to greet the coming child as Gandalf had, also looked at Aragorn with a deep-running sadness. It was Elrohir and Elladan who only had anger on their faces, still riding hysterically through the surrounding woods looking for a sign of passage. There was nothing.
Aragorn looked hypnotized down at the ground, his chest being crushed by some unknown force, feeling as if he would retch at any given moment.
“She’s gone,” he barely whispered. His eyes were opened to an unbelievable circumference as he repeated it both in his head and out loud. “She’s gone she’s gone she’s gone she’s gone.”
“No, your majesty,” Gandalf said. “You mustn’t think that. We will find her soon. Trust in that.”
“Why?!” the usually docile and kind king demanded suddenly, taking the surrounding search party by surprise. “Why would they take her? I have few enemies. Why would they take Arien?” He said the last part weakly.
“They did not seek to punish you, Estel,” Elrond told him somberly. Aragorn looked at his father blankly. “I can see into your daughter’s future. They have taken her to another world. They seek the power of her spirit. Her gift from the Valar is what they sought.”
“Gift?” Aragorn said.
“She was blessed by the Valar, although what exactly is not clear. That is why the creatures took her, but I do not know what they wanted of her.” Aragorn could feel the burning at his eyes as the salty tears ran down his face and he looked out to the endless fields of Middle-earth.
“Arien,” he whispered. “Where are you?”
Arien, where are you?
Dawn pressed the snooze button to her alarm clock as it began to rage on with an irritating buzz. It was summer, and there was some kind of law against getting up before 9 o’clock in the morning for teenagers. But she, Fred, and Cordy had a nice shopping and movie afternoon planned. She got up from infinitely comfortable bed, letting her comforter fall to the floor. Pulling an outfit from a pile of clothes on her dresser and hoping it was clean, she made way towards the bathroom. Getting her out of bed was usually harder than parting the Red Sea, but such was a different case when shopping with Cordelia was involved. *Especially* when shopping with Cordelia and Angel’s credit card were involved, which was the plan.
With her usual thirty minute preparation for the day, she headed down the stairs of the hotel. Angel was just coming in from an excursion of some sort, a large gash on one side of his face.
“Good morning, Angel,” she said with a smile on her face. The tired vampire smiled back.
“Good morning, Dawn,” he replied. She mock-sighed long-sufferingly.
“Come on, then,” she said, heading over to the lobby counter, grabbing the rather complete first-aid kit. He began taking off his jacket stiffly, revealing a gash that was also on his stomach.
“Good work, my friend,” she said, hopping up on the counter as he approached her. She went to work taping up his face.
“Yeah, I thought so too.”
“So, was I right, or was I right.”
“You were right.”
“Ha. As usual. A little chop to the ears and poof, no more Gorahac Demon. A little research never hurts.”
“I’ll leave it to you to know the skinny on every breed of demon that crosses our path and some that don’t. I just need to know how to kill it.”
“Yeah, yeah, don’t go all manly on me.” Angel smiled.
“I’ll try not to. Speaking of research, won’t you research on a way to clean that room.” Dawn snipped the last piece of tape for the bandage to his head, accidentally-on-purpose pushing a wee bit hard. Angel hissed a bit, but had been expecting it.
“All the geniuses were slobs, you know,” she said.
“They day you win the Nobel Peace Prize, you can burn the hotel down. In the mean time, we’re getting roaches.”
“Excuse me, no we are not.”
“We could be getting roaches.”
“Okay Mr. Heckles.”
“Alright. Alright. I realize your need to go all parental once in a while. Now off with the shirt.” The vampire smirked as he obeyed.
“Why Miss Summers, are you trying to take advantage of me in my weakened condition?”
“You know it,” she deadpanned, bandaging his stomach. “There goes the parental-ness. Do you ever get tired of that joke?”
“No, not really.”
“Well, I suppose I should humor an old man.”
“Well, you have your age jokes, I have my false sexual innuendos.”
“We’re both happy then. There, all done.”
“Record timing,” he said, putting his shirt back on. “So, what’s on the agenda for today?”
“Oh, the usual. Sex, drugs, delinquent behavior.”
“That’s nice,” the vampire replied normally. “What time to be picked up.”
“Cordy’s taking us will be there. And since you brought it up…”
“Here we go.”
“I don’t know if you have noticed,” she continued as if nothing had been said by her pallid guardian, “but I have been making exceptional contributions to this business… almost as much… as you might say… as an *employee*…”
“And it is customary for employees to *sometimes* receive monetary benefits from their…”
“Cordy has my credit card.”
“Okay. Good night.”
“Thank you,” he said flatly, shuffling across to the staircase.
Dawn turned around, her task complete, going to put on coffee for the gang that would soon be up as the vampire headed up to his room. She groaned a bit to herself, rotating her neck, trying to work out the kinks of her neck. A door creaked open upstairs and she heard some steps; but she continued to stared at the bitter, dark liquid that was the aphrodisiac of the adults drip into a transparent pot.
“Good morning, Dawn,” she heard behind her, a thick British accent laced in the greeting.
“Good morning, Wesley,” she replied, not turning around.
“Were we going over that Pintolian translation today?”
“I don’t know, were we?” The ex-Watcher smiled.
“Well, then, okay. But, it’ll have to be later this afternoon. Cordy, Fred and I are doing our ritual social gathering today. You know how it pisses her off when I don’t go on account of... what was it she said? Book-y stuff. You know of course that’s the only reason I’m not staying…” The Englishman made no comment other than a cyncically raised brow. “Where is Fred? She’s usually up by now.” The faint blush rose on the Englishman’s face. He still thought of her as eleven.
“She’s, uh, tired from last night’s research, I believe.”
“Is that what they’re calling it these days?” He narrowed his eyes, but she continued on. “Wesley? How many times do I have to tell you to shave? And how come you don’t dress in nice little mini-Giles-without-the- annoying-tweed outfits anymore?” The watcher sighed.
“Must you badger me every morning about this?”
“And how come you never take me out anymore?” she said in her badgering wife voice. He had to smile, defeated.
“I’m sorry, precious. I’ll just have to try harder next time.”
“Well, good,” she said, holding in her smirk, handing him his coffee.
“Thank you,” he said, heading off toward the office as the phone rang.
“Angel Investigations,” she answered. “We help the helpless.” A long pause. “There’s a what? A spirit in your walls? Well, have you tried talking to him? Sometimes they’re just misunderstood, you know. I know this one named Dennis. He’s scary to strangers, but he’s really actually swee- oh. Okay then, nevermind. Someone will be over today.” Dawn hung up the phone, writing down her memo to Angel:
2045 99th Crt.
Phantom in the walls.
Sound familiar? you sick bastard, you.
She taped it to his office window where she knew he’d see it. Cordelia was probably on her way over and Fred was probably getting up. She didn’t care how long she and Wesley banged, she was an early riser.
“I don’t care what you think, Agent Smith could kick Neo’s ass any day of the week and twice on Sunday if he wasn’t rotting away from depression on the inside.”
“No he couldn’t!” Cordelia insisted. “Agent Smith is some stupid computer man. Neo is real. And he’s hot.”
“It is wrong for me to say Agent Smith is hot due to age difference,” Dawn replied. “He’s a distinguished gentleman when he’s not killing rebels or obsessing about revenge. And besides, that has nothing to do with fighting skills. And besides, he has the best one-liners ever, and Neo is a pretty boy.”
“Guys!” Fred interrupted. “They are fictional characters. It doesn’t matter.” The debaters looked toward the flustered physicist.
“Okay,” Dawn said. “ButAgentSmithwouldstillwin,” she said quickly.
“I knew better than to take you see this again.”
“I knew better than to see it with you.”
“Guys,” Fred interrupted again. “Can’t you just appreciate it for the wonderful special effects spectacle it was? Besides. I say the Twins could kick both their asses if the Merovingian didn’t hold them back.”
“Okay,” Dawn said suddenly. “Everyone just relax.” She sipped on what was left of her sipping on her rather large drink. “Let the shopping continue. I want one of those soft pretzels, anyway.”
“We just ate.”
“What’s your point?”
“No point whatsoever,” Cordelia sighed. The seer looked over Dawn as the girl continued to sip on her more or less bucket of cola. “Dawn, are you okay?” She looked up, still sucking on the red straw of her drink.
“You just seem kind of... spacey today.”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” she replied. “I just... I had this dream last night. I just...”
“Another dream?” Fred asked. Cordelia suddenly became serious. “Isn’t that the second one this month?”
“Third,” she replied. “I just, you know how I have hard time remembering them?” They both nodded. “But, I always get the feeling that they’re… they’re looking for someone.” More intent nods. “Well, I got a name last night, I think.”
“What was it?” Cordelia asked.
“I can’t remember as usual. One of those light, feathery names, you know? I just can't remember it.”
“Dawn, don’t you think you should talk to Lorne about this. I’m telling you, you need to sing for him. He might be able to tell you about them.”
“Well, it’s not anything eminent. I’ve had them forever,” she said defensively.
“But they’re getting more vivid,” Fred offered. “It could mean something’s going to happen.”
“Guys,” I don’t like my future being read,” she said with finality about it. “It’s probably stress. Next month it’s going to have been two years and…” she trailed off. The physicist and the seer knew better than to talk anymore about it.