Son of the Dawn
AN: Wow, it's been a while. I honestly don't know where this one came from. I've been working on FF.Net for a while and dealing with a crapload of family drama that I won't bother ya'll with. For those of you old enough to drink, kindly raise a bottle of Stella Artois to my godfather David who recently passed away from cancer. Oh, and if any of you want a clue for the mystery of this little chappy then search for the title of this chapter on Google, but wait until the end of the chapter, we don't want to spoil the surprise. Trust me, it'll pop right up and cover the first page of the search engine. Oh and I'll send anyone the artwork which inspired this story by request as soon as I receive permission from the artist to do so.
Disclaimer: Don't own Buffy or anything that you see in this chapter. Luke is an OC based heavily off of something that I also do not own. I am not making any money off of this. Now, please enjoy the story.
Dawn Summers was confused and, quite frankly, terrified. In the span of one week, the seventeen year old had somehow gotten pregnant and now appeared to be nine months along. The problem, other than the fact she had a child at seventeen? She hadn't had sex, except for that one time when she was fifteen. It was scary. The Scoobies had researched the entire thing to the point of exhaustion, convinced it was some demon's work or an equally freaky thing. Giles even paid for her to see a specialist who was able to take tiny samples of her unborn child and those DNA tests only left them more confused than ever. The baby was her's, as in one hundred percent her's with no father or any traces of someone else's DNA.
"It would seem that you managed to, erm, reproduce asexually." Giles stammered, cleaning his glasses with a handkerchief. Dawn glared balefully, not only upset that she was pregnant but angry that she hadn't even had the chance for lots of wild monkey sex. She had totally missed out on all the fun parts. "It's possible that this is due to your origins as the Key, but I haven't quite managed to find out anything, despite diligent research."
"I thought the whole 'Key-ness' was over? Ended, done with, el finito when Glory died?" Dawn did not question so much as demand, her voice carrying the hint of panic that she felt. Oh gosh, what were her friends at school going to think? She'd be the uncool teenage pregnant girl of Sunnydale High!
"Well, it would appear that we were wrong!" Giles snapped back, more than a little grumpy after fifty two hours of straight research. He sighed, "Forgive me, the stress must be getting to me. You must understand Dawn that we know very little about the Key, your history or even how old you really are. I do have a theory, but it's merely conjecture at this point. I have no evidence to back it up."
"Let's hear it." Dawn stated, crossing her arms demandingly. She suddenly touched her protruding stomach, a vague look of wonder on her face as she felt the child move. "Okay, that is freaky. Not bad, but....really freaky."
"From what I understand, you've existed in one form or another since the time when the Old Ones walked the earth. Maybe even before that and, um, being energy it is possible that, having no real mate, you reproduced in a similar manner." Giles answered, pouring over one of the Sumerian texts as he looked for any clue on the current situation. "I've been studying the sect of monks that sent you to us. It would seem that you were always intended to be incarnated in the flesh as it were, but Glory's interference forced them to incarnate you much sooner than expected. You were supposed to have full knowledge of your abilities, but obviously that did not happen as intended."
"Giles, that is all really interesting but I'm pretty sure my sister didn't just wake up and decide to be pregnant." Buffy remarked from her seat, rolling her eyes and looking very unhappy that her teenage sister was now with child. She was staying very close to Dawn, both to protect her sister and her unborn nephew/niece as well as ready to slay it if Dawn's child turned out to be some kind of ambitious evil demon lord-ish thing. The Slayer was really, really hoping that didn't turn out to be the case. Babies were cute, darn it.
"W-well..." Dawn spoke up hesitantly, looking bashful and like she had done something very wrong like the time she ate all of the peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips. Buffy turned an incredulous glare on her sister. "I might have kinda watched Look Who's Talking last week and sorta thought it'd be cool to have a baby, but, but I didn't mean right now!"
"And now we have a pregnant Dawn in addition to dealing with the First." Xander drawled, looking as tired as Giles did. His eyes were droopy from the long hours of research. "And I'm not going to say anything else, just in case I jinx us."
"To continue, I did come across an old reference to a Verdic deity named Ushas. She was worshiped and viewed as a benign goddess known for her beauty who also warded off all kinds of evil spirits. Her name is the literal translation of Dawn in Sanskrit, though admittedly I am a bit rusty when it comes that language." Giles admitted, leaning his head against the wall as he tried to get his sluggish mind to work faster. "She was worshiped in the Hindu religion as well."
"Let me see that." Dawn said, grabbing the book roughly in a way that caused Giles to wince at the mishandling of the ancient text. She rapidly flipped through the pages then stopped as she came across an old picture. "Okay, now I'm officially freaked out."
"What is it?" Buffy asked, appearing at her sister's side so fast that she may as well have teleported there. The blond glanced down at the picture and her mouth dropped. It was a painting of a beautiful woman wearing a faint purplish pink toga with long silky brown hair parted in the center and several stars encircling her head tightly much like a crown. The gentle seeming goddess looked back with a full mouth pulled into a slight smile, behind the goddess was the bright star Venus. "And now I'm freaked. She looks just like you."
"So, I'm this Ushas chick?" Dawn questioned, trying not to look too pleased at being some kind of ancient goddess renown for her great beauty though she felt more than a little fear, too. Most deities had some sort of ancient rivalry with freakishly powerful enemies.
"It's possible, of course, but only one of several possibilities. Sunrise goddesses are exceedingly rare in most religions." Giles stated, nodding his head a bit. "If Willow were here, the research would be going much faster. Alas, the Devon Coven hasn't finished her training yet. By the time she finishes, the child will already be born. I have been searching through my references for any prophecy that might have a connection, but so far my search has turned up nothing."
"Sooo, we wait?" Buffy asked, not looking happy about it.
"Well, there isn't much else that we can do for the moment." Giles shrugged, looking half-asleep.
Dawn laid in bed, holding her newborn son in her arms. She smiled warmly down at the cute baby in her arms, tickling him with her fingertips lightly causing him to giggle. To think that she had only given birth to him a few days earlier, but he was already so developed, able to gurgle and smile and all sorts of things that babies shouldn't yet be able to do. She was cool with that, even if it was a bit abnormal. Nothing was normal in her life, so why should her little boy be any different? "Good morning, Luke Summers."
"I still can't believe you let Xander name him." Buffy shook her head as she walked in, flopping onto the bed next to her sister so she could coo at her cute little nephew who beamed back at her with a toothless smile.
"Well, it does kinda fit him." Dawn pointed out a bit defensively, liking the name. "There's a lot of awesome people named Luke. Luke Skywalker, Cool Hand Luke, Luke Cage..."
"Okay, I get it. Luke is an awesome name, but you sooo know that he's going to get made fun of in school. Don't even get me started on the 'I am your father' jokes." Buffy quipped, nonetheless grinning down at the brown haired baby. He looked exactly like Dawn's baby pictures which made sense since he was pretty much a male version of Dawn genetically speaking. "I still can't believe how healthy this little guy is or how fast he's growing."
"Giles said that Luke will probably keep growing fast until he looks about seven or eight. Some kind of defense mechanism that kicked in due to danger so he won't be so helpless. Supposedly, a lot of godlings matured within a single day and a bunch of demonspawn mature really quick like Brachens. Maybe Luke senses he's on the Hellmouth." Dawn relayed the information Giles had given her. Giles had seemed pretty happy about Luke's rate of growth, well relieved would probably be a better description. "I don't care about the why's. I'm just happy that Luke isn't some kind of gooey monster brought on by, like, demonic pollen. Plus, it'll make potty training so much easier."
"True." Buffy acknowledged, poking Luke's little nose making the infant frown at her in confusion which brought on giggles from Buffy and Dawn. He was so cute. "Things are going to get really crowded around here soon with Giles bringing in all these Potential Slayers. I swear I'm going to strangle that girl Kennedy."
"She is a bit of a bitca." Dawn agreed, hugging Luke to her a little closer. His little hands grabbed the edge of her nightgown eagerly, making her sigh as she unbuttoned it and began to feed the little baby. It felt weird, but in a good way, a disturbingly good way. "Still, I think Willow kind of likes her. How's Anya?"
"She's puttering about town, looking up some of her contacts, but most of them have already gotten out of Dodge. I think she's just trying to stay busy." Buffy answered, looking sorry for the former vengeance demon before she brightened. "Oh, she did tell me that she's looking for a present for Luke. Something about getting D'Hoffryn to bless him. It's supposed to give him some extra protection from metaphysical evil like the First, so that's good."
"I guess. Uh, do we really want D'Hoffryn to meet Luke?" Dawn asked nervously, not wanting Luke to be put in any danger. Well, no more danger than he already was in anyway. "Not that I have anything against Anya."
"D'Hoffryn is a Vengeance Demon Lord or a 'Justice' Demon Lord. I don't think that he'll bother Luke since, y'know, he's a baby and therefore innocent." Buffy supplied, pretty much relating what Anya had told her earlier. "Besides, Anya wouldn't put Luke in danger. Oh, and I'll slay him if he tries anything."
"Good point." Dawn nodded, satisfied by that answer. After a moment, she turned to her sister and allowed her worry for Luke to show. "Buffy, what are we going to do about all this?"
"I really don't know. If things get bad, I'm sending you and Luke off to Angel in L.A. to stay until it calms down." Buffy stated, her tone unyielding. She expected Dawn to protest so she was surprised when her sister just nodded, accepting the answer easily. "I'll probably end up sending Xander along to help you out and look after Luke. He's the only one I really trust to do it."
Dawn was quiet for a long moment, just smiling down at her son as he suckled. She was a mother. It was only now that it was really beginning to sink in. Dawn was infinitely grateful to her own mother for providing her with a great example. She would do her best to live up to her mother Joyce, but it was a tall order. Gently, she stroked his chubby cheek as he fed and felt for the first time like a nurturer. The little bit of life in her arms relied completely on her, needed her in a way that made her glow with pride and worry that she might do something wrong. It had been an extremely easy birth, nearly painless which she accredited to the supernatural circumstances surrounding Luke.
"I'll, uh, just leave you two to bond." Buffy smiled, standing up and walking toward the door. She stopped and turned to her sister, "If you need anything, let me know. I'll just be downstairs setting up the training dummies."
"I will." Dawn answered softly, her entranced face still lovingly looking down at her baby. Buffy gave one more smile, then left them alone. Dawn hummed an old lullaby that she remembered her mother singing to her.
"So, that's him. The son of the dawn." Joyce's voice stated warmly, causing Dawn to freeze up and turn to see the First standing by the window wearing her mother's image. It caused her to glare hatefully at the being for desecrating her mother's form. "He's a beautiful baby. Too bad he won't survive to adulthood."
"Shut the hell up and leave us alone!" Dawn hissed, clutching Luke to her protectively. The First smirked at her, a cruel look that was alien on Joyce's loving face.
"Can't do. You see, that brat is more dangerous than you can imagine. You have no idea just what he is capable of, what he will be capable of." The First tsked, shaking it's head. "You know, I almost want to let him grow up just to see what will happen. Almost. I bet those annoying PTB's never saw this coming. In fact, they are probably pulling out their hair trying to figure out how to fix all of this. It won't be long until they start to think, 'hey, why don't we just remove the problem at the source' then the assassins will start crawling out of the woodwork. I feel sorry for you."
"Get the fuck out of my house!" She spat with loathing, green eyes flashing dangerously at the incorporeal being.
"Excuse me, young lady, but this was my house first." The First stated imperiously, cruelly using her mother's mannerism against her. "Well, if you really feel that way then I'll just leave. I can tell when I'm not wanted. Don't say that I didn't warn you, but for Joyce's sake I'll give you a little bit of extra information. It won't be long until those 'champions' you admire start coming for little Luke, then there's Wolfram and Hart who definitely don't want your precious little boy growing up. Well, I think that's enough for now. Ta-ta!"
With that, the incorporeal creature calling itself the First Evil disappeared, but Dawn wasn't so sure that it was really gone, if it ever was. She glanced down worriedly at her son, hugging him tighter to her as if to protect him from all the evils of the world.
"The son of the dawn. Y-You're certain that those were the First's words?" Giles questioned worriedly, rapidly flipping through his best research books. Dawn nodded. "That's maddeningly familiar. Still, we shouldn't believe anything that damned apparition says. It's bound to try to divide and deceive us. What better way to do that than to target the most vulnerable? Yes, I think that is exactly the strategy it is using. Fill us with doubts, use a vague reference...."
"But what if it was telling the truth, Giles?" Dawn asked, more afraid than she let show. Luke was cradled in her arms and currently was enjoying gumming his mother's hair. "What if the PTB's really are gunning for him?"
"We've fought against impossible odds before, Dawn. Should the PTB's turn against us, we will fight them off just as we have everything other obstacle." Giles assured her firmly, snapping the book closed. "You are a new mother, it is far more likely that the First is simply using your fears and doubts against you. It's rather obvious that it sees Luke as a future threat. It may be that he will grow up to be the one to vanquish it permanently. If it did not fear him, it would not be trying to stir up suspicions against him. In the end, Luke is a child. A very unusual child, but a child nonetheless and no child is born evil. It is a matter of upbringing and personal choice. With you as a mother, I dare say he has a far better chance than most other children of growing up to be a great man."
"Thank you, Giles." Dawn said, giving her father-figure a warm hug. Those had been exactly the words that she needed to hear.
He smiled at her happiness as she left, but the smile left his face as soon as she was out of sight. He stared down at a reference he had found, but had neglected to share with Dawn due to the fact that it more than likely referred to King Neberkenezer. Giles had other reasons, one being that even if it did refer to Luke it still meant nothing. If there was one thing he had learned in his time living in Sunnydale then it was that nothing was set in stone, even prophecy could be defeated. Buffy would not have gone into the Master's lair if she had not heard the prophecy, after all. It was best to keep such things quiet and not take them as fact or try to interfere, lest one end up causing it in the first place.
Of course, there had been 'signs' as there always were, in this case Venus being brighter at the time of Luke's birth than at any other time in the last three thousand years, but he had little doubt that those signs were capable of being manipulated by beings like the First to appear as they wanted them to. In his experience, nothing was as it seemed. Usually because most people tried to hide the truth, fearing it would be their undoing. It was very likely that the First or something like it was trying to turn others against the newborn in an effort to kill him before he grew to become a threat to the more powerful demons such as the Wolf, Ram, and Hart or other equally dangerous creatures. Any child born of the Key would undoubtedly grow to be enormously powerful in the future and Giles knew that even if there were a thousand prophecies against Luke he'd still believe the same way. He wasn't a man to make the same mistake twice.
"Bloody 'ell!" Spike cursed as he covered his face, staggering backwards out of the room and tripping down the stairs of the basement with several painful sounding bumps. After a moment, he managed to return to the top of the staircase but stayed protectively behind the door. "He's a bright little bit, idn't he?"
"Did that hurt?" Xander asked from where he was sanding down an iron wood stake, sounding a bit too happy about that. The carpenter glanced at Luke who was clapping his hands and giggling in Dawn's arms.
"The hell do you think, Harris?! Felt like someone strapped me into a tanning booth, it did." Spike yelled back, glancing around the door at Luke who smiled at him happily. Not even Spike could resist returning the smile at the baby for a second, at least until he caught himself doing it. "I think we can go ahead and check the 'radiates sunlight' box."
"Will do." Xander shot back cheerfully, jauntily making a note on the pad of yellow paper. "You know Luke, the more I learn about ya the more I like you."
"Gwah!" Luke cheered, bouncing slightly. Buffy grinned at her nephew from her place by the fridge. Dawn cooed over her baby a bit more, quite proud that he could fry vampires at such an early age and not a little bit relieved that he had some protection from the most common threat around. The baby flashed brightly again, apparently pleased with his new discovery. Luckily, Spike had spotted the dim glow before the infant built up the white flash of light and had ducked behind the door.
"Well, that confirms his abilities are celestial in origin. I don't know many demons capable of generating light and none of them are remotely human in appearance." Anya observed, causing Xander to quickly make another note on the pad of paper.
"It isn't magic. There's no draw on the local energies." Willow noted with a smile, poking Luke in the belly who in turn stared at her finger as if entranced by it. The redhead made sure he wasn't able to grab her finger and have a drool fest, having learned her lesson the last time he managed to cover her finger in saliva.
"Is it safe yet for those of us who don't tan well?" Spike questioned cautiously, peeking around the door at Luke who gave him a toothless grin. Spike narrowed his eyes at the baby and carefully crept forward, readying to bolt back to the dark safety of the basement at a moment's notice. Luke, in turn, kept staring at him with that big innocent grin as if daring the vampire. Spike took one step, then two more, then three, but had to dive back into the basement when Luke began to glow causing Luke to pout at losing his chance to make the silly man scream.
Xander couldn't hold it anymore and began laughing uproariously, his funny bone thoroughly tickled by the sight of the 'Big Bad' vampire fleeing from an infant. Even Buffy couldn't hide her giggling at the sight, though she at least tried. Anya smiled and eagerly said, "Do it again, Luke!"
Luke stared at her as though puzzled and went back to following Willow's fingers with a hungry gaze that reminded Buffy of Dawn when their mom used to make pancakes. He drooled in preparation, chubby hands trying to entrap Willow's fingers but the Wiccan kept one step ahead of him and her fingers far away from his mouth. Dawn decided to take Luke outside in the interest of keeping Willow's hands drool-free and Spike un-dusted, much to Luke's delight. She had found that her son loved being outdoors, not as much as he loved Willow's fingers or Mr. Gordo The Second but close.
Dawn watched the Potentials train for a bit or, rather, watched Kennedy bitch at the other Potentials as if she were an expert Slayer herself. Luke loved watching the girls train and Dawn was convinced he thought it was some kind of game, given how he cheered and laughed as they went through their katas. Most of the Potentials didn't mind Luke's presence, more than a few made silly faces at him when Kennedy wasn't looking which only made Luke giggle louder. Kennedy became more agitated as the training went on and Dawn knew it wouldn't be too long before the short tempered (and bossy, snooty, whiny) Kennedy snapped. Sure enough, she did.
"Excuse me, but we are trying to train here so please get that brat out of here, civilian." Kennedy demanded rudely in a superior sort of tone. Dawn narrowed her eyes at the Potential, not liking her tone one bit. She had lived on the Hellmouth for years and fought all kinds of demons, vampires, witches, and more than a few things that she couldn't even spell. As far as she was concerned, the newbie had no right to boss her around. Luke, of course, found the whole thing hilarious and, being the happy baby he was, laughed loudly while pointing at Kennedy much to the amusement of the other Potentials. Kennedy growled and snapped, "I said to get that freaky brat away from here!"
Luke seemed to finally realize that the Potential's angry tone was aimed at his mother since he did something that Dawn had not seen from him before: he actually glared at Kennedy who sneered back at him. Suddenly, Kennedy was thrown back harshly by an invisible force that tossed her a good eight feet through the air and when the Potential hit the ground she rolled backward for several more feet due to the sheer momentum. Dawn stared at Luke in shock, concerned when he began to lightly glow and a small crown of stars began winking in and out around his head. She quickly cuddled him close, whispering soothingly to him until the light dimmed and the stars stopped appearing.
Kennedy stood up shakily and began to angrily march toward Dawn, but Buffy's voice rang out sharply, "Kennedy! I don't remember giving you permission to boss my sister around, especially since she knows a lot more about surviving this fight than you do. If I ever hear about you trying to boss any of my group around again I'll throw you out of my house, then we'll find out just how long you'll last in Sunnydale at night. Do you understand me?"
"Yes." Kennedy gritted out, her fists clenched and her face red with humiliation. Buffy stared down the uppity girl coldly until the Potential looked away.
"Good. You are relieved of command, *civilian*." Buffy stated with a frown, then looked over the Potentials. "Rona, you're in charge of the training until I say otherwise. I want you all to remember something very important: you came to me for protection, you live in my house, you eat my food, and if you don't respect me or the people I've fought next to for the last seven years then you can just get the hell out. You need me, I don't need you. You all live due to my generosity, so don't push me."
END OF CHAPTER
AN: Please Review, even if it's only a one word review like 'awesome' or the Oz-ism 'cool'. I hope you enjoyed.