Still Missing This is the second story set in the “Sketches verse.” It might be helpful to read the first, Sketches in the Dirt before this one. Disclaimer: While I do own a nearly complete set of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD’s, I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stargate/ SG-1 or New Amsterdam. They have a lot of people making money from them. Spoilers: BtVS: Chosen/ NA through at least Episode 5- but pre episode 1 for this chapter / SG-1: post ascension (not an integral part of this story- there will be a third story to allow a reunion). Disclosure: So that I will not be accused of plagiarism, this was also somewhat inspired by a plot thread from the Sarah Jane Adventures: ‘Whatever happened to Sarah Jane?’ but does not feature dialogue, characters or devices. Order of Dagon Monastery – CzechRepublic
“But the child’s father still remembers her,” the junior assistant monk stated in alarm as the senior member of the order began to chant the spells necessary to house The Key in flesh.
“He’s a mystical father, remember,” whispered another to the junior assistant.
And indeed he did remember. The deals they’d made with devils had been partially his responsibility. Paying Dracula’s moving expenses to Sunnydale plus an extra 10% on the poker debt of a certain monsignor to the undead beast just for the blood of the Slayer he’d extracted. And the secret spells passed under the cloak of night in a dark alley from a wizard specializing in genetics which he had sought to make this work, anything to protect The Key.
They had the genetic material pulled from a bit of that blood and used it to replace the genetic material of the child they’d kidnapped from Chicago, Illinois. She was the happy teenaged child of a normal human mother and mystical man, a human without the ability to stay permanently dead, yet still supposedly mortal. There were others from the bloodline that they might have chosen, but her half siblings were too old for this project so it had to be her. So they magically replaced the mother’s genetic material with the Slayer’s to change the child to a fully mystical one, because only a fully mystical person with a soul could house The Key.
Unfortunately, the one thing they couldn’t beg, borrow or steal was an untainted, living, disembodied child’s soul. This was why they had become kidnappers, the scum of all decent society. However they had cleaned up their own mess by removing all physical evidence of the child from the lives and memories of every person she’d ever met, except her father. It was not part of the plan that David Johnson (formerly John York, and soon to be John Amsterdam) remember his daughter. But they’d try to find a way to work around that little glitch, if they lived long enough.
The junior assistant pulled his mind from the memories of his deeds to the chanting which now required his assistance. The Key was now flesh and new memories were being created as they opened the portal sending her to Sunnydale, California to be the Slayer’s sister, even though daughter was more accurate.
The chanting continued clearing away all residual traces of the portal and the work they’d done that night. The junior assistant was the only one to escape from the slaughter an hour later.
He survived long enough to tell the Slayer the edited version of the tale a few weeks later, before following his brothers to his death. Ten years later
Dawn Summers pointed the movers to the various rooms based on the color of the sticker on the boxes. She thought it was self explanatory three weeks ago when she packed the container in London but one of the movers it turned out was color blind. As she was paying them by the hour, directing him was cheaper in the long run than making him ask the others.
After this she would walk the 3 blocks to the building that the Council had bought on her recommendation. It used to house Salinski’s Restoration and Book Binding
. Now the name on the front said Summers’ Restoration and Book Binding
The kind Mr. Salinski frequently talked to Dawn during her many acquisition trips to the occult book district near Greenwich Village and was one of the few who dealt fairly even when they heard it was for the Council. Many others started at a kingly price and barely haggled when they learned the old venerable institution was involved.
When he expressed a desire to retire she took a proposal to the Giles. Within weeks Mr. Salinski was on his way to Florida with a healthy and very fair profit and the Council was about to begin operations in New York.
Dawn remembered standing in front of them, the whole Senior Council, pleading for the creation of the New York group. The lights dimmed and she’d used the projector attached to the laptop for the presentation. ----- “We’ve been reactive to situations for more than ten years. It’s time we did a little proactive planning. Step one New York City. Not a major hot spot but there is an established demon community. There are a couple of localized portals that reach specific dimensions, mainly for the food for the previously mentioned demon community. “I want us to set up a hub in New York. One of the bookbinders in the occult district wants to retire and he owns the whole building, four floors so let’s talk about that first. He’s been living in an apartment on the top floor. There are two others up there. I say we keep those for Council use. One dedicated to the Council, the others as accommodations for special guests. It will be cheaper and safer than a hotel. “The building currently has office spaces set up on the second and third floors. Those leases are up in two months. We could give notice of non-renewal immediately with the possibility of a month or so of flexibility. Keep the second floor as offices but turn the third floor into a dorm with living space for resident slayers. There is also a very nice basement with ten foot ceilings and no vermin. We could make that a workout space for the slayers. It already has sound proofing.” Dawn tried not to fidget. The projector lights, besides being very hot, made it impossible to see the faces of the others in the room. Unfortunately, they could still see her clearly. The images on the screen changed from photos and blue prints of the building to her plan for the binding business. “Mr. Salinski has three very competent assistants. I want to offer them jobs to keep the business running. Now why keep the restoration business? For two reasons, it keeps up a front for the neighborhood and provides access to some really old texts and manuscripts that we may have lost in the bomb. We’ll know who has what if it is dangerous and could possibly copy some of them for our own use, though we’ll have to be really careful. Oh and bonus, income. “And why keep the second floor office spaces? Simply stated I want the space for translators. Currently all our translators are here or on an active hellmouth. This will not do. We were really vulnerable when the bomb blew. It killed most of the Senior Council members and over 80% of our translators. We cannot stay in one place anymore. I recommend at least four places besides an active hellmouth or here. If we spread out we’re less vulnerable. Are there any questions?” She paused to ask as the room lights were turned on. “You keep referring to spaces for the slayers. How many are we talking about?” Giles asked rather hesitantly. “Four initially, with one of those being a senior team member. I would prefer them all to be moderate to experienced level slayers who are old enough to handle pressure. This is not a hellmouth but it is still New York. Eventually I suspect we will need to increase this to as high as twelve, but not just to serve New York. I see this as a reserve pool. For instance if Boston or Cleveland or Birmingham needed help we could be there without pulling slayers away from other active situations. “I also don’t want this to be another school. We have twelve of those now. If any of the slayers we have are underage then New York Public School or home schooling will have to be arranged, and we’d need parental consent or guardianship in case of medical emergencies. Does that make sense?” She asked. “It does and it sounds like a good plan to me,” Giles said to voice his approval. “I’m in. Though it will be a couple of months before Jenny is ready to take over Phoenix, I’d love to have the New York senior space,” Faith jumped in before another slayer could call dibs. “I’m free in about a month,” Xander offered, “Why don’t I meet you there with my trusty tool belt and we’ll see what renovations you might want to make.” “Oh and I can do that nonviolence thing that Lorne loves on the business part of the building so that it is protected,” Willow began to babble. “And general protective wards…” “So it’s a go?” Dawn asked looking hopeful before Willow could continue. Giles looked around the room and asked officially, “All in favor?” The vote was unanimous. -----
“That’s the last box Ms. Summers,” the color blind mover declared.
Dawn directed him to the kitchen then signed their paperwork and the check.
“Thank you, gentlemen, for your hard work today,” she said following them out and locking the door.
A short walk in the chilly spring air and she entered the store.
“Hi Xander,” she called out as she entered. Only two of the binders had accepted the offered employment and she yelled a greeting to them in the back room as she hung up her jacket.
Xander finished installing the last shelf for the bookstore side of the business. They were not going to carry commercial offerings but would strictly sell antiques or manuscripts. The refurbishing side would be the main income but this would supplement it as well. They were going to have hungry slayers to feed after all.
Not that they had to have the income, but Dawn remembered living with more than twenty in a three bedroom house. Frugality was a lesson she had learned well.
“So anything new,” she asked returning to the front.
“Not much,” he said giving the shelf one last wiggle. He descended the ladder and put the tools and the toolbox in the back room.
“Are we ready?” she asked as Xander placed books on the top shelf.
“Dawn, give me two minutes to put the ladder away then you can flip the switch and the sign. Then we will play a rousing game of hurry up and wait,” Xander quipped noting that it was a full five minutes earlier than the announced grand opening.
Three minutes later the sign was flipped and they were officially open for business.
Detective John Amsterdam left the crime scene feeling wrung out. These were the cases he hated. The father was dead because he tried to protect his child and best friend from kidnappers. The mother had been in DC on business and was on the next flight. His latest partner, Edward or something, was on his way to meet the mother. This was not news you gave over the phone and the best they could hope for from the press was to hold the story until 11 p.m.
These were the days he thought about her. Dawn Marie Johnson, his own child, who had vanished without a trace. Annette did not even remember carrying the girl in her womb. And all his photos were gone, even the ones he normally hid in his workshop. After ten years he should be able to deal with it better. Damn, these were the days he wished he still drank.
He’d settle for food instead. CSI would be at least another 2 hours. The A/V lab was working on traffic cams to try to trace the van. His partner would be back in an hour and a half. He would definitely have a sandwich. Wasn’t there a deli about 2 blocks over near all those odd booksellers?
Half an hour later he finished off the Rueben, checked with A/V- not done yet, and decided that he needed to walk and talk to people. Maybe the merchants saw something. Doubtful, but at least he was ‘canvassing the neighborhood.’ Manes Made Tame
had not seen or heard anything. Neither had Dagwood’s Deli, Darkside of the Moon Music, or Sharon’s Slips to Shrouds.
Then he walked in to Summers’ Restoration and Book Binding
and his world tilted literally as he found himself hanging upside down. “What the hell?” he exclaimed.
“Excuse me, Sir. We don’t allow weapons in our shop,” a red haired woman said looking a little smug.
“I’m on the job. The force requires me to carry it,” John impatiently explained.
“Oops,” said the woman hopping off her seat and taking his hand. “Enter,” she commanded.
Suddenly he was back on his feet and in the shop. “May I see your badge for a moment?” she requested.
“Ok,” he agreed hesitantly and watched as she studied it for a moment her lips silently moving, then she handed it back to him.
“As long as you have the badge with the gun,” she said grimacing on the last word, “you will be allowed entrance without the topsy turvy effects. The same will apply for all other official officers.”
“Thank you. Ms. Summers?” he asked.
“No actually she’ll be back in a moment. I’m Willow. I was just reinforcing the less conventional security when you walked in. I’m afraid I don’t like guns much,” she confided.
“Thus the, as you say, topsy turvy?” John asked and Willow nodded. “John Amsterdam,” he stated offering her a hand.
The bell on the door rattled as Xander walked in followed by Dawn. John stared at her unconsciously holding his breath.
Xander noticed first and asked, “Willow, who is this and why is he staring at Dawn?”
“A policeman. John … er…Holland, I think. And I have no idea. Is he breathing?” Willow replied.
“I remember you,” Dawn whispered, “your face at least. And a pink bicycle with purple tassels and strong cold winds.”
“Um, Dawnie, your bike was red,” Willow started to say.
Dawn started shaking her head with a smile of wonder. “Willow, these are real memories. Before the monks interfered,” she emphatically replied.
Xander’s eyes grew wide as he comprehended the true meaning behind that statement. “That means they took you from another family to put you in our care. Is this your brother?”
“Yes they took me from a family but I was the only child. This is my father,” Dawn clarified as she took a step closer to John.
“But he’s so young. And… it’s daylight,” Willow babbled.
“Are you truly Dawn? Dawn Marie Johnson? I was upside down but I don’t think I hit my head,” John interrupted almost afraid to believe his eyes. His right hand twitching like it wanted to reach out.
“I think I am. I remember you. And it’s the first real memory I’ve had of anything prior to puberty. You have to realize the other memories are very clear but I know they aren’t real. They feel forced now that I have something else to compare them to,” she answered forcing her arms to stay by her side as she fought the temptation to just touch him.
“Why am I the only one who remembers the true you? Everyone thought I was crazy,” he asked.
“I don’t know how you still remember, but I’m glad you do. I do know that some lame monks claimed to have made me and they did change the memories of everyone around me in Sunnydale, where they sent me. So maybe they changed those where they got me from too. I suspect a soul is needed to keep someone alive and as clever as those monks in the Order of Dagon were, that wasn’t their specialty,” Dawn started pacing.
“What, keeping people alive?” John asked.
“No, well, not that either since they all suffered from an acute case of death shortly after, but I meant creating souls, that was not their job,” she stated. “So why haven’t you aged?”
“That is a mystery,” he stated enigmatically.
“But you aren’t a vamp because you’re outside in the daytime, so if you look this untouched after ten years, are you aging at all?” Dawn asked pointedly.
“No. I have to change names and professions every few years. It gets to be monotonous,” John answered honestly.
“And that makes you?” Xander asked
“Roughly 400 years old,” he declared.
“Damn, term life must be a bitch,” Xander joked.
And for the first time all day John Amsterdam laughed. “And none of you are freaked out by that. Nor do you think that I’m lying. Amazing.”
Xander answered for the rest, “After SunnyHell and all the stuff since? This is barely a blip on the weird shit-o-meter. Xander Harris, by the way,” he offered his hand to the detective.
“John Amsterdam.” As John shook his hand it hit him, “Oh my God, they sent my daughter to the freaking HELLMOUTH? Why would they ever do that?”
“Oh you see the irony, too,” Dawn laughed. “They were idiots. Dead idiots now, but we didn’t have anything to do with that. Dawn Summers, by the way,” she said taking his hand finally allowing herself the impulse to touch him.
“It is so good to see you again,” he said pulling her into a hug he’d waited more than ten years to give.