Title: Mother's Day
Series: Dawn Winchester
Summery: Dean has an idea for a way to head off the special occasion curse for Buffy.
Disclaimer: I do not own; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Ghost Rider
Warnings: There are a few things that are important to the series that happen in this story. Be on the watch for them.
Timeline: This takes place during the Mother's Day weekend of Setting up the New Council. Dawn Winchester takes place at the end of May, so it has been almost one year since John and Buffy met.
It had been a long time since Dean had celebrated Mother's Day in any way other than getting a gag card from Sam. But this year was different. This last year was one that had sent his world into a roller coaster of readjustments. The first shocking event had been the discovery of his magically conceived little sister Dawn.
Dean glanced across the mansion's kitchen. Dawn was finishing packing her 'purse', one of the never full bags left over from the Hectalik swarm last June. Dean had known for years that women were just plain weird about their purses. They stuck all sorts of weird and useless stuff in them. Dawn, on the other hand, was putting stuff in there that Dean could understand.
The first thing in there was a separate bag of feminine stuff that Dean barely recognized beyond the hair brush and toothbrush. Whatever else was in that bag, Dean really didn't want to know. Faith had assured him that there were no condoms in there and that was as much as he wanted to know about his sister's personal care items. He wanted his sister to stay innocent of that game for as long as possible, and he had made sure that Jack knew that.
Her wallet, keys, extra clothes and both of her jackets had gone in next. Then came her personal snack stash. That was smart because on a long family trip like they were making snacks had a tendency to disappear. And between everyone who was going there was no telling who the guilty party might be. But while he could (and would) snag Sam's snacks without a qualm if he had been going with them, which he wasn't this time, he couldn't do that to Dawn. She had a high metabolism and was still growing. She'd put on two inches since summer.
Dean shook his head, even with knowing that the bag couldn't fill up he wasn't sure how she got so much in there. Last came the things that Dean thought were the most important, her arsenal. Two shotguns along with numerous boxes of different types of ammunition went in first. Then came an assortment of knives, crosses, bottles of holy water, stakes, squirt guns filled with more holy water, and packages of water balloons. If there was one thing that Dean was sure of where it came to this trip, was that it would all be used. "Oh, I almost forgot!" Dawn exclaimed. "Dean do you have Mom's present?"
Dean smiled and pulled out a box to hand to Dawn. That was the second thing that had shaken up Dean's world. Dawn's mother was Buffy Summers, who was currently the senior Vampire Slayer. And his dad, and Dawn's as well, was madly in love with her. It should have been some sort of clichéd joke, a fifty something widower falling for a twenty something blond. It should have been, but it wasn't.
Buffy matched his dad in every way that counted. She was stubborn, fiercely protective of her family, she loved killing monsters and she would gladly sacrifice herself for those she cared about. If Dean hadn't known better he would have sworn she was a Marine. She was just as in love with his father as he was with her. And that meant that this Mother's Day, Dean finally had something to celebrate.
This trip was Dean's idea. If Buffy was forever cursed to never be able to celebrate anything without something of the supernatural happening to her, why not go looking for it? If Dean was right then going looking for action on the day of celebration was a way to get around the curse. At least he hoped so.
"Do you think we'll really find this flaming skeleton biker?" Dawn asked.
"We should, Dad's been dreaming about it."
"I'm packed," Dawn said. "Race you to the car!"
Several hours later found them on the road to Texas. They had left Wesley and Elizabeth in charge in Cleveland and didn't expect to be back for at least three days. But Buffy had left strict instructions that they were to be called in case of an emergency. Dawn could always portal them back.
They weren't portaling down for two reasons. The first reason was that this was supposed to be a vacation for Buffy, something she hadn't had in years. The second reason was that Dean was driving his beloved Impala and didn't want to upset his baby. As he was coming along mostly to keep an eye on Dawn, no one tried to persuade him otherwise.
They ended up driving straight through with either Dean or John behind the wheel, pushed on by the prophetic dreams of both John and Buffy. the dreams all centered around a reporter that Xander had identified as working for Channel six in Houston. Buffy had thought that Giles would easily identify the flaming skeleton biker. To her surprise, not only did he and the rest of the surviving Watchers not have a clue, it was John who had the answer off the top of his head.
The legend of the Ghost Rider was a chilling tale. Men who had skills that the Devil needed in his bounty hunters would be seduced into selling their souls. Then when the Devil had need of them, he would call in their contracts. Sometimes the Ghost Rider would collect damned souls, sometimes he would track down and send back to hell demons who had escaped. He would do the Devil's bidding until his own contract was completed. Then the Devil would receive back the power of the Ghost Rider and the poor soul would die soon after, damned for all eternity. Of course, that was the legend, the only one who could tell them the reality was currently starring in Buffy and John's dreams killing the demons attacking the reporter.
When they hit Houston they found a motel and got a couple of rooms for the next few days. Dean and Dawn decided to take naps while John and Buffy headed out for a walk. They were both too wound up to sleep; Buffy from her latest dream and John from nervousness. Wanting to do this right and not mess it up like the last time he had attempted this particular maneuver, John had driven Buffy out to a large park filled with flower gardens for their walk. The highlight of the park was a wooden gazebo surrounded by rose beds. Having been here before, looking for a particular flower during a Hunt, John gently steered Buffy towards the gazebo as they walked through the park.
"I know that your dreams are far nastier than mine and that the visions leave you with a hangover but I still think that I'd like them better than the Slayer version," Buffy said as they walked along.
"They can't be that bad," John said as he pulled her in closer.
"Have you ever seen 'Alice in Wonderland' the Disney version I mean?" Buffy asked.
"No," John said slowly, not knowing where she was going.
"When you have that rabbit running through your dreams singing its song and keeling over dead, then we'll talk," she groused.
"What's that supposed to mean?" John asked confused.
"I have no idea," Buffy lied. She actually had a pretty good idea but she didn't want to share it with John just yet. "But that's the way they are, completely cryptic. Yours are so much more straight forward. I'd gladly take a hangover over cryptic any day."
"I can see why," John said. "I've got no clue on that one."
'Good!' Buffy thought. The last thing she needed right now was for him to make that connection right now. He'd have Dawn portal her back to Cleveland so fast her head would swim and Dean and Dawn would go along with him too.
They approached the gazebo with Buffy staring at the flowers, thankful that John was the sort of man who would bring her to this romantic spot. "It's so peaceful here," Buffy sighed. "Thank you," she said and kissed his cheek before leaning her head on his upper chest. She was too short to reach his shoulder.
"For what?" he asked bemused at her behavior.
"For the reminder of why we fight," she said gesturing at the young couple with two babies ahead of them. They were trying to teach the children about the flowers. "For the reminder that there are still beautiful things in the world."
"Right now the most beautiful thing I see is you," John said.
Buffy gently smacked him. "You don't have to prove you're Dean's dad, John."
John laughed, "I mean it!" He sat her down on one of the gazebo's benches and pulled out a small box out of his pocket. He'd been carrying it around for nearly a year now. "Buffy will you marry me?"
"John?!?" Buffy was shocked. She hadn't been expecting this, certainly not when they were in the middle of tracking down a demon. Then she realized he really meant it. "Of course I'll marry you!" she cried and threw herself into his arms.
John was glad that he hadn't gone down on one knee to make his proposal. As it was her enthusiastic acceptance nearly knocked him off of his feet, broke his ribs and suffocated him, not that he minded. She'd said yes and that was the only thing that mattered.
John reached out and shook Dean's ankle to wake him up. On the other side of the room Buffy was doing the same for Dawn. "Rise and shine kids," he said. "We've got just enough time for food before we have to start looking for that reporter." Grumbling Dean and Dawn got up and they all headed out the door. There was a diner three blocks down and that was where they got their first break. The reporter, Dean remembered that her name was Roxanne something or other, was in the diner. John took a quick look around as they stood looking in the window. He saw the alley next to the diner and swore quietly. "It's going down here."
"Two ways we can go," Dean said, slipping into his Hunter mindset. "Let her walk into the trap or get her out before it goes down."
"I'll get her, leave it to me," Buffy said. "Too bad you can't disguise yourself as her Dawn."
"Can we at least get some food to go?" Dawn asked. "I'm starving."
"You get the food and take it back to the motel. Get extra because we'll have company," John said and handed Dawn some money. "Buffy, Dean and I'll wait here." Buffy and Dawn nodded walked up to the counter together. Then to Dean's amazement Buffy squealed. He couldn't call it anything else. She rushed right over to where Roxanne was getting ready to leave and started gushing. She sounded like she didn't have a single brain cell in her head. The guy that Roxanne had been eating with was about to asphyxiate himself trying not to laugh.
John nudged Dean and whispered in his son's ear. "She said her brain dead Barbie impression was rather good."
"I didn't know that good an impression was possible," Dean whispered back. By then Buffy had Roxanne by the arm and was dragging her out of the diner.
"Bye Roxanne, have a good time," they heard her date call. They could see the grin on his face. It wasn't until the man stood up holding onto a motorcycle helmet that Dean recognized him.
He was Johnny Blaze, retired motorcycle stunt rider. Dean had never seen one of the man's stunts in person, but he had caught a few on tape after he had started dating Faith. She was a big fan. Too bad he didn't have time to go talk to the guy but they had to make sure that Roxanne got back to their motel safely. Dawn walked over and handed over bags of food to both Dean and John so that she could put them in her purse. Then they followed Buffy and Roxanne.
The good news was they had avoided the alley; the bad news was that they didn't avoid the demons. Switching instantly from airhead to Slayer, Buffy shoved Roxanne into a doorway and attacked the demons. John and Dean ran to help her while Dawn ran to Roxanne. Quickly putting up her shield spell, Dawn then dug out her shotgun. "Do you know how to use one of these?" she asked. Roxanne nodded and grabbed the gun. "Here's the blessed silver and consecrated iron ammunition. It may not kill them but anything holy gives demons fits," Dawn explained and pulled out another shotgun.
"Who are you people?" Roxanne wanted to know.
"We're the Winchesters," Dawn said calmly as she shot a demon about to take a swipe at Dean. "That's my dad John, my big brother Dean and the lady who was doing the airhead routine is my mom Buffy." She shot another demon between the eyes and saw the flaming bike coming towards them. "Hey guys! Mr. Flamey's here!" she yelled.
"Oh god, Johnny," Roxanne breathed. Between the Winchesters and the Ghost Rider the demons didn't stand a chance. As the wind blew away their remains the Ghost Rider looked at each of the armed people between himself and Roxanne. Roxanne tensed because she had seen that particular expression before, although it was hard to make out an expression on a flaming skull. She reminded herself once more that the innocent had nothing to fear from the Penance Stare, the Ghost Rider's most powerful weapon and that the guilty brought their punishment on themselves. But this time there wasn't the usual declarations of innocent or guilty.
When the Ghost Rider looked each of the two men in the eyes, he said 'Hunter' and the young woman was called 'Slayer'; only the teenaged girl in front of her was given an 'innocent'. None were given a 'guilty' and the stare that burned up a person's soul.
"HEY!" Dawn squawked, insulted. It didn't help that Dean was laughing or that her parents were smiling over Mr. Flamey's opinion.
"And you're the Devil's bounty hunter," John drawled. "Any reason we shouldn't send you back to him? The PTB's have put a claim on her." He nodded at Roxanne. She wasn't a Slayer, they knew that but the PTB's wanted her to go to Cleveland or they would have sent someone else. Sam and the AI crew for instance, were a lot closer at the moment. They had just finished up a job in Dallas.
"I think he'd like it if you did," Johnny Blaze said as the flames disappeared and his flesh reformed. "I've kind of made it a point to be a pain in his ass as much as I possibly can."
"You don't follow his orders?" Buffy asked suspiciously.
"Nope, my contract was completed. Now who or what are the PTB's and what do they want with Roxanne?" Blaze asked. He had a pleasant smile on his face but there were glowing sparks behind his eyes, letting them know that they didn't want to push him.
"It seems we've all got questions, so why don't we go some place a little better for a Q&A session?" Dean asked.
"Sounds good to me," Blaze said as Roxanne walked over to him. Then he whistled for Grace, his bike. As the flaming motorcycle pulled up beside Blaze, he once more turned into the Ghost Rider. "Follow us," he said as he sat down on Grace. The Winchesters were surprised to see Roxanne climb on board behind him with no fear of being burned.
After that display of trust it was fairly obvious that there was a lot more going on than they knew about. So they piled into the Impala and followed the two on the motorcycle to an old cemetery out in one of the historical sections of the city. Blaze and Roxanne rode right inside while Dean parked outside the gate. Cemeteries were routine for the Winchesters but seeing a horse inside one was not.
The old man tending the horse next to the caretaker's cottage looked to be in his sixties but he looked fit enough to give Dean a run for his money. But the clincher that something was up was the fact that the horse calmly greeted the motorcycle. They all went inside and cautiously sat down, neither group ready to completely trust the other yet.
Roxanne looked around and sighed. It looked like they were waiting once more for her to start with the questions. She had to admit it made sense. She was a reporter after all, but sometimes it really got old. "So who are the PTB's and what do they want with me?"
"The Powers that Be are the ones that chose the Champions for Good, the ones who have a destiny with a capital D," Dawn said.
"You're not a Slayer," Buffy hurried to reassure her. "But they were very insistent we come down here and make sure that you weren't killed by those demons."
"It's not Roxanne they want, its me," Blaze sighed.
"Why do you say that?" John asked before Buffy could get started. She could still get very confrontational with men she thought were being chauvinistic pigs.
"Because if Roxanne is murdered I'll go on a rampage. I love her that much," Blaze admitted.
"Plus you told the Devil to kiss your ass," the old man broke in with a laugh.
"Yeah well, you didn't do too bad yourself," Blaze retorted. "I'm told that I'm a wild card because my contract with the Devil was completed and I didn't give him back the power he gave me."
"The legend says that the Devil receives back the curse of the Ghost Rider when the contract is completed," John said. "But the man's soul is doomed for all eternity."
"Well, I don't know about the damned for all eternity part but you're right about the Devil needing to receive back the power of the Ghost Rider. But that's a little play on words, you see he has to be given back the power from the Ghost Rider himself. When my contract was finished I never gave the power back. Instead I told him I was going to use it to fight him any way I could."
"So," Dawn said to the old man, "he's pulling an Angel without going all Mr. Broody. Ok, I get that but what about you? He said that you told old Smokey to kiss your backside too."
The old man burst out laughing. "Old Smokey! I like you kid, name's Carter Slade, ex-Texas Ranger and current Ghost Rider."
"Dawn Winchester, apprentice witch," Dawn said as she shook Slade's hand. "My mom and dad, Buffy and John, and my big brother Dean are all in the business. Mom's a Slayer and Dean and Dad are Hunters."
"Well, like Blaze here, I found a loop hole. You see, what the Devil's part of the contract is dictates how many times he can assign you to a task. I could only be assigned one task and that was to retrieve a contract that controlled a thousand damned souls. I got the contract but I refused to give it to him. I out rode him that night and then I hid myself and the contract away on holy ground where he couldn't find it or me. Midnight and I ended up being a Ghost Rider forever because when Blaze completed his contract, he destroyed that contract in the process." He laughed. "And that's my joke on him because now I'm helping Blaze."
"Ok, so Roxanne was attacked to make Blaze loose it," Dean said. "How long has this been going on?"
"A few months now," Blaze said. "But this was the first time there were more demons than I could handle." John and Buffy watched as Blaze and Roxanne looked at each other while they held hands. The look on their faces was all too familiar. It only took a single glance and the decision was made. Neither John nor Buffy could let this war tear another couple in love apart.
"Ok, here's what we're going to do," Buffy said, taking charge. "First Dean, you're going to stop sneaking food out of your sister's purse and pass it around. You're not the only one who's hungry."
"I was looking for the shotguns. They need to be cleaned," Dean protested.
"Yeah right!" Dawn said as she smacked him. "Hand over the food and no one gets hurt."
"One lousy french fry," Dean muttered to himself as he passed out the food. Blaze, Roxanne and Slade watched amazed as bag after bag after bag of food came out of the girl's purse.
"Second, you three are coming back with us to Cleveland tomorrow. The new Watcher's Council has its headquarters there. With as many new Slayers as there are out there right now we can always use a few more hands. I don't know what kind of job Giles might have available for you, but I can tell you that we have a lot of openings right now. So Roxanne will be protected because there are always fighters around and the two of you can have a much better home base than this at the very least." Buffy said firmly.
Blaze and Slade knew what she meant about the Slayers. It hadn't taken very long before the rumors started about there being more than one Slayer out there. "Sounds like a good idea to me," Blaze said. He caught Roxanne's eyes and she nodded. They turned to Slade who merely grinned and started packing.
Buffy stared into the night outside the Impala's back window. John was asleep in the corner with a jacket stuffed under his head and his arms wrapped around her. Roxanne sat on her other side, fast asleep as well. Dean was driving and Dawn was in the front seat next to him. Buffy thought that she might be asleep but she was more likely to be dozing.
What had Buffy transfixed wasn't the starry night sky or the passing scenery. It was the sight of two burning skeletons racing behind them on the highway. One skeleton was riding on a nightmare of a motorcycle all burning flames and bright chrome. The other rode a horse skeleton, covered in flames and really cool horse gear. It looked like Dean had been right about the proper way to celebrate holidays. By going on a Hunt as a family and looking for trouble they had managed to keep the chaos to a minimum. There had been only one demonic fight and that was the one they had been looking for. She had been given a weaponry harness, custom made for her, from Dean, Sam and Dawn. No one had been killed, injured or mutiliated in any way. 'And best of all,' she thought to herself, looking at her engagement ring, 'John finally got it right. Not bad for a first Mother's Day, not bad at all.'
AN: Can anyone guess what Buffy's second Slayer dream was all about?