Past is Prologue
Problem with Soulmates
Answer to Challenge 2710 “An old soul for a Key” by amusewithaview. Dawn makes some discovers in St. Louis that will change how she sees her past and how she moves toward her future.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything; property belongs to Joss Whedon and Laurell K. Hamilton.
Pairings: Dawn of course, but, it’s a secret. Read and find out.
Timeline: About three years after S7 of Buffy. The Harlequin for Anita Blake.
Special thanks to amusewithaview, who has been my beta and soundboard for this fic. I’m truly grateful that she puts up with my insanity.Chapter One: Past is Prologue
She barely noticed the Latin the priest was speaking in the background as the flames licked at her dress, soon it would catch and the fire would burn her to her very soul. But she wasn’t afraid. He would save her. He would save them both.
Her love lay a few feet away from the pyre, voice hoarse from screaming, but still trying, whispering that he loved her, would always love her. She gave him calm eyes, and a serene smile. She would not die this day. He would come. He had promised he would always be there.
The flames caught on her dress and rose up to her hips, the heat was unbearable, but she would bear it until he arrived. They would be saved. Any moment now he would crest the hill and cut her down.
The fire was beginning to burn her skin and the hair on her body. She wanted to scream but she held it back, certain he would be here any second. Her lover was now screaming again, trying to break the bonds that held him so that he could come for her.
The faces about her began to blur as the heat intensified, she could barely see for all the smoke. She was burning. God’s flame was burning her. She turned her face heavenwards and prayed that he would not be too late, that God had not forsaken her to this fate.
The flames crept up until everything was melting, her breath stopped in her throat and she could do nothing. He would come, he would, he would, he would, he would. He promised. It rang like a mantra in her mind.
But the people in the street were beginning to cheer and the priest’s sermon was drawing to a close, she was dying. There was no savior for her and her forbidden love. He would not come, could not come.
And as her last breath left her, she cried in despair, “Jean-Claude!”
Dawn jerked up in bed as the green faded from her eyes. Her sheets were soaked with sweat. This couldn’t keep happening, the dreams had been plaguing her for months now, infesting her sleep and sometimes even her waking moments.
Suddenly the alarm rang out, startling her from the silence in the room. Damn, it was already 8:00, her first class starting in half an hour and she needed time to shower to get rid of the sweat. She had better hurry, Professor Victor didn’t like anybody to be late to his class, he was well known for locking the door.
She crawled out of bed and groaned. Today was not going to be a good day; she could feel it in her bones. Or maybe that was because she had slept on the wrong side.
“Rona, why didn’t you wake me up?” she moaned out, sounding pathetic.
Rona popped her head out the door. “You do have an alarm Dawn. Besides, you’re the Watcher. You’re supposed to be the one who gives orders, and I pretend to follow them, that don’t mean I’m your servant. Now go get in the shower, you look like shit.”
Dawn reached out and tried to smack her - missing as Rona dodged - then made her way to the bathroom. Rona, Nina, and Dawn had been living together for about half a year. Ever since a demon had tried to break into her house and Buffy had taken the opportunity to install a slayer to watch over Dawn under the pretense of training her for her Watcher duties. She had sent Rona, and the slayer was a great person to have around. They patrolled, they hung-out, they did everything they couldn’t do when Buffy was around.
Buffy, after all the slayers had been called, had turned into Momma Slayer. The world had been changed by Willow’s spell, or maybe they had merged with another dimension, they could never really figure it out, despite religiously pouring over old and moldy books. What they did know is that things were better.
With the help of Dawn, Giles, Xander, Faith, Willow, Kennedy, Spike, Angel, and Gunn, the blonde Slayer had started Champion Security, an internationally acclaimed protection company that was used by world leaders, Fortune 500 company owners, and anyone they felt needed their protection from the Big Bads.
They had also started several other businesses including ones that dealt in translations, appraising, and even a PI Firm that focused on the paranormal. Most were based in England with offices all around the world. Half the funds were funneled into the New Council of Slayers and Watchers or NCSW, but all of it stemmed from Champion Industries, of which Buffy was CEO. On the outside they provided scholarships to extraordinary young men and women, but it was a front for training new watcher and slayers.
Despite the fact that vampires and lycanthropes had come out into the open, Buffy remained staunch in her decision not to let the public in on the secret of the Chosen Ones. Everyone else agreed.
Nina had come to live with them just a few weeks after Rona had shown up. After the break-up with Angel, which was amicable, she had been spending time getting her degree in teaching and art. She had come here to apply to a junior high school as an art teacher, because Dawn had told her that the Coalition made it easier for the lunarly challenged to change on the full moon. With all the good press the Coalition was getting these days, she hoped that lycanthropes would be more accepted into society.
Dawn was just getting out of the shower and into her clothes for the day when her cell phone rang. She let out a frustrated growl and reached for it, pressing the “Send” button she spoke, “This better be important.”
“I would think your job is important.” Came back the amused voice of her boss. Every time she heard that purr her insides practically melted.
“I always have time for you boss,” she said. She really didn’t, but she just couldn’t hang up on that beautiful voice.
“Actually I have a favor to ask. Anita has a murder case right now and she said she found some strange symbols on the scene, looks like another language, I was wondering if you could maybe take a look, I know you have a degree in languages and demon rituals is something you said you knew a lot about.”
Here Dawn really didn’t know what to do, she had made it a point to avoid Anita Blake however possible. She didn’t want the Executioner to know that she was less than human and make a point to try to figure her out, as Anita’s reputation said she would try to do. But she could come up with no logical excuse to decline the request for help.
Despite the fact that she had been working at the Coalition for the better part of two years, she had always managed to avoid meeting Anita. Considering she was one of the only “humans” who worked there, it was almost a miracle that she hadn’t had the Executioner banging down her door to see what her true intentions were. Most humans that tried to get jobs there were spies for Humans First or some other such right wing fundamentalist group of crazies.
That was one of the first encounters she had had at the Coalition, she had gone in for an interview to be the new technical advisor, and someone had tried to hack the network where they kept the names and addresses of all the lycanthropes who had signed on the Coalitions email and web page. Dawn had quickly blocked the hack and found the hacker who was working from the inside. He was quickly fired and Dawn just as quickly hired.
But now all her hard work was going to go down the tubes because of one murder case. Unfortunately, if she let on to the fact that she had avoided Anita, it would only end up stirring up curiosity.
“Sure Micah, but I have a class right now. Give Anita my number and tell her to call me in about three hours, okay.”
“Thanks Dawn. This guy has killed three people already and it’s driving Anita into exhaustion.”
“No problem, I’m happy to help. Which reminds me, do you have my hours for this week yet?”
“No, Marie hasn’t posted them yet, you might just have to come in and ask her yourself. Once again, thanks for doing this, I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.”
“I know that, don’t worry, I’ve dealt with worse than a few dead bodies before.” A lot worse, she added silently.
“Really, you’ll have to tell me about that sometime.”
“No, I really won’t. See you at work tonight.” With that she hung up. Great way to keep a low profile Dawnie, might as well just hand him the key to your history, pun intended.
She looked at the clock again, she had five minutes to get halfway across the city and up three flights of stairs. Okay, not impossible.
She walked into the kitchen and grabbed a paring knife. Muttering Latin under her breath she pricked her finger. She could have opened the portal without the blood but it would have taken more magic than she was willing to expel, what with the wanting to be undetected and all.
A green vortex opened in front of her and she stepped through into the abandoned classroom three doors down from her professor’s lecture hall.
She stepped over dusty desks and made her way to the door, sensing no one on the other side, she quickly slipped out and down the hall to her class, making it right on time as the professor was standing there ready to lock the door.
“You have lucky timing Ms. Summers. Next time make more of an effort to rouse yourself out of bed if you intend to pass my class.” Asshole.
He acted as if she wasn’t right on time everyday. She had never once been late or made a rude remark in class, but the man continued to hate her for absolutely no reason. The fact that he hated all his students was no consolation to her; her teachers had always loved her.
She hunkered down in her seat and waited for class to begin. It was going to be an interesting day.
AN: So like it, hate it? Please review. For those of you who want, I have a sort of diagram of the NCWS, post your email address on your review and I will send it to you.