A Bad Day All Around
Haha! I had a sudden bout of inspiration today and wrote this entire chapter in one day! I'm so proud of myself. I should probably have gone over it to do some editing, but quite honestly, I'm just excited to get another chapter of this up, so that's what I'm doing. There's not a lot of action in this chapter unfortunately, but it's definitely coming.
Hope you enjoy it!
Buffy glared angrily at Giles as he and Faith glanced at each other, both completely lost. Willow and Xander flanked both sides of Buffy, but stayed quiet, glancing back and forth between Giles and Buffy.
“Buffy, I'm sorry,” Giles apologized, “but with all the things going on, I have a hard time keeping track of all The Potentials. I didn't realize one meant this much to you.”
“That's not-” Buffy started only to be interrupted.
“Buffy, don't worry,” Willow soothed. “We'll find her. Maybe she just got lost on one of the patrols.”
“Yeah,” Xander agreed. “I bet one of the other Potentials might have an idea-”
“SHE'S NOT A POTENTIAL!” Buffy snapped angrily, now rounding on Willow and Xander. “She's Dawn!” She glanced around the room at her three closest friends and the only other person who could come close to understanding what being The Slayer meant. “Dawn!” she shouted again, as if the name itself should be enough to freshen their memory.
“Buffy, I'm sorry, but we have absolutely no idea who Dawn is.” Giles stepped forward and lowered a comforting hand on her shoulder.
Buffy knocked it off and marched to the other side of the room. She swung around and stared at all of them. They all looked nervous. They had never seen Buffy like this.
Suddenly, something changed. Buffy's eyes moistened and her bottom lip fought against the trembling. She took in a deep, slow breath. “Dawn,” she tried again, “is missing and none of you remember her?”
They all turn to Faith who had been standing to the side, her eyebrows scrunched together in confusion. “Lil sis,” she stated easily, turning her eyes to the three Scoobies. “How can you guys not remember B's sister?”
“Sister?” Xander looked taken aback. “Buff's never had a sister.”
“Buffy, you're an only child.” Willow looked extremely nervous and turned to Giles for help. “Giles...?”
“Buffy...” Giles shook his head and straightened his glasses, “we've never met any sibling. As far as we know, you've always been an only child.”
Buffy overfilled with frustration. She looked as if she was going to pop. “Yes, you have!” She stopped a second, a deep breath went in her nose and out her mouth. “You all remember Glory, right?”
“Of course,” Giles answered as the other two nodded.
“You remember how she had to use The Key to open the portal?”
“Yeah,” Xander nodded. “And lightening shot out everywhere, and you died. Buff, what does this have to do with your imaginary sister?” At Buffy's look, Xander quickly corrected himself, “Or non-imaginary sister. Non
“What was The Key?”
“I'm sorry?” Giles frowned.
“I don't understand the question...” Willow mumbled.
“The monks!” Buffy shouted. “They transformed The Key and gave it to me. What did they transform it into?!”
The three looked confused as they shot glances at each other.
“Buffy,” Willow said, “you wouldn't tell us. All you said was that you had it and you had to protect it.”
“Woah, wait a minute!” Everyone turned to Faith who was looking around the room wide eyed. “You sayin' lil D was this key? Not human?”
“She is human.” Buffy turned back to her friends. “She is
my sister! Why else would I have killed myself?! To save my sister, who is now missing and the only other person who remembers her is Faith, who probably spent the least amount of time with her!”
Xander stepped forward. “Buffy-”
“She had a crush on you until Glory showed up and she started hanging around Spike. You and Anya babysat her all the time! She's the one who invited Harmony into our house!”
“We're just trying to figure this out, Buffy.” Willow nervously pulled Xander next to her.
“After mom died, you let her stay with you and Tara so I could see Angel. When I died, you two moved into my house to help keep an eye on her. You started up the Buffy-bot so she wouldn't be sent away to live with my dad!” Buffy glanced desperately between the three of them. “You have to remember!”
“Did D say anything last time ya talked?” Faith spoke up, catching Buffy's attention. “Did she seem nervous or scared? Was anything different?”
“Of course something was different,” Buffy muttered quietly. The fact that someone in the room was willing to ask her these questions seemed to calm her down. “She moved to Oxford, she left the Scoobies, she was moving into an apartment.... she was on her own. She was nervous and scared at what that would mean.”
“OK...” Faith seemed to think a moment and leaned back against Giles' desk. “You said Dawn's this key thing, right?” Buffy only nodded. “Could someone have taken her because of that,” she glanced at the three Scoobies and shrugged, “maybe cast a forgetfulness spell or somethin'?”
“That's possible, I guess,” Willow answered. “I mean, a spell to make everyone forget about someone is a humungo spell. If for some reason the spell wasn't completed, it's possible they only got around to erasing some people's memories.”
Buffy nodded, liking Willow's explanation. Then, she shook her head in disagreement. “But The Key?” She crossed her arms. “After that night, it should have been over. She wasn't The Key anymore.” Buffy turned her attention to Giles. “Right? It could only be used at one time in one place?”
“Well, I don't know about her not being The Key anymore,” at Buffy's sharp look, he continued, “You can't just change a thing's, or a person's, origin, Buffy. If she was The Key before and after she was human, she'll most likely be The Key for as long as she's alive. However, I highly doubt that the energy could be tapped into again for quite some time. At least, not in any of our lifetimes.”
“Well, maybe somebody missed the memo?” Xander supplied helpfully. “Maybe they think they can still access the mojo?”
“No.” Buffy shook her head. “The only people who knew about Dawn are standing in this room,” she paused and then rolled her eyes, “and Spike, but he wouldn't have told a soul. I mean, Glory tortured him for hours and he never told.”
“But that was when he was still trying to, you know,” Xander wiggled his eyebrows, “get on your good side.”
“No,” Buffy stated firmly. “It wasn't that, or it wasn't just
that. Spike cared about Dawn. He was with her when she found out she was The Key, he stayed in Sunnydale to help take care of her after I died.” Buffy shook her head again. “No, he wouldn't have told anyone. Not even Angel.”
“Well, this Glory knew, right?” Faith asked, tapping her fingers against the desk. “Anyone else at all?”
“Those knights!” Willow suggested, excited that she remembered them. “They chased after us that day! They wanted to destroy The Key!”
“But then, wouldn't this Dawn just be dead?” Xander asked. “I mean, if it was them, why would they go through all the trouble and erase our memories?”
“It's not just that,” Giles popped in, "they don't know enough magiks to do a spell of that size.”
Buffy kept silent as they discussed the possibilities among themselves. She replayed those few days before she died, something she rarely ever did anymore. That's when realization hit her. Who would still know about Dawn? Who could bend reality enough to change people's memory?
Who could bend reality...!
“Giles.” Buffy turned to her mentor, who looked back at her. “The Monks. They're the ones who bent reality in the first place, the ones who sent me Dawn. They're the only ones I know of with the ability to bend reality like that.”
“I suppose it wouldn't hurt to look into it.”
Jack had been in a bad mood all day. He snapped at the soldiers in his way, he blatantly told Daniel to shut up on several occasions (he really wasn't in the mood to listen to the linguist go on about what a major break through the something-or-other was), he rudely told Teal'c he wasn't in the mood to answer questions about Earth, and he even told Sam to go back to her hideaway lab.
Why was Jack in such an irate mood?
Simple. He was living with a teenage girl. One that made him call up his ex-recently-remarried-wife to have a huge argument on whether or not Dawn should be allowed to stay with him. It hadn't ended pleasantly. Plus, it didn't help that he had to get Dawn enrolled in the local high school and that she had to be difficult the entire time they were talking to the principal.
It had been just all around a bad two days. Normally, he would go and have a boxing match with Teal'c whenever he was in a cranky mood, but he wasn't too keen on the idea of getting his ass handed to him today. So, instead, he just hid himself in his office away from people.
He had been in the middle of reading a report (Yes, he was actually reading it! He was a little surprised at that too), when a knock caught him off guard. He glared at the door, but verbally granted the visitor access to his office.
Daniel poked his head in, a hesitant look plastered on his face. “Jack?” he asked as he slipped in and shut the door.
“Something I can do for you, Daniel?” The question was dismissive, as if Jack didn't really care of the answer one way or the other.
“Actually, I was wondering if there was something I could do for you?” Daniel slowly sat down in the chair in front of his desk.
Jack lowered the file on his desk and stared at Daniel for a good five seconds before responding. “And why would you be wondering that?”
“Well, um...” Daniel's brow creased. “You've been kinda... well, hostile today.”
Jack sighed, but didn't deny the accusation. Instead, he closed the file completely and pushed it to the side. “Dawn popped in yesterday.”
“Ah!” Daniel now understood.
Dawn had always been a sensitive subject for Jack. After the incident with Charlie (which Dawn had witnessed, having been playing upstairs with her brother at the time), Jack had still gone through the stargate with no intention of making it out alive. When he did, he realized he had helped build a wall between him and his daughter. He had been somewhat disgusted with himself for nearly abandoning his other child who needed him now more than ever.
To the unknown observer, the two seemed just as close as any father and daughter were, but to be honest, there were still some overly high tensions between them. Mainly because Dawn wasn't stupid. As she got older, she realized he had originally held no intention of returning from whatever mission he had been asked to go on and it was quite a while before Dawn was willing to talk to him again (which had made his weekends with her very awkward until then). It didn't help that Jack refused to tell her what the mission had been and what he was working on now.
Daniel always wondered how upset she was at the weekend visits that were canceled because her dad was off on other worlds.
“Yeah.” Jack frowned.
“I didn't realize she was visiting this week,” Daniel said. Normally, when Dawn visited, Jack enlisted Daniel's help to keep her entertained, either by borrowing books or by letting the archeologist come over and talk with the kid. The girl had an insatiable fascination with history and languages. Where that came from, no one really knew.
“Neither did I,” Jack clipped out, landing an annoyed glare on Daniel.
The archeologist's eyebrows shot up. “Oh.” His eyes jumped back and forth as he tried to piece the situation together. “So, she just showed up? No warning or anything?”
“And Sara was OK with that?”
Daniel's eyes widened. “Ouch. No wonder you're in such a bad mood.”
“Yup.” Jack sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. “She wants to stay with me.”
“What? Why?” Daniel asked immediately, only realizing his mistake when Jack glared at him. “I mean, she knows you're out of town a lot and she has friends back at school. Why would she want to move here?”
“She had a fight with her mom,” Jack explained, waving a hand in the air dismissively, “thought I'd be more understanding or something.” He twirled his seat way to stare at a wall for a few seconds before twirling back to Daniel. “Did you know she puts honey on her spaghetti?”
“Uh... no.... What was the fight about?” Daniel questioned, trying to keep Jack on the subject.
“She wants to join the Air Force.”
“And go to Oxford.”
“Wow.” Daniel sat there for a moment in silence. “God, Jack.... what're you gonna do?”
“I haven't figured that out yet.”
Dawn sat in the back of the classroom, doodling in her notebook. She was eternally thankful that this school seemed to be one that didn't enjoy putting new students in the spot light, because not one of them asked her to stand up and introduce herself.
She wasn't quite sure why, but she hated school. Not just because it was boring or because she didn't get along with most of the other students, but she was almost always anxious when she turned a corner. Almost as if she was expecting something to jump out and attack her. But that was silly. Nothing had ever jumped out and attacked her at school before.
Socializing with the other students had always been difficult for Dawn. Her therapist pinned it on watching her brother shoot himself with her father's gun. Yes, she had a therapist – or did have. Her mom made her go, so her hope was that her dad wouldn't. Plus, once the kids at school caught wind that you had to go see a therapist, they stopped being nice. Even teachers started treating you differently – patronizingly.
Of course, that wasn't the only reason Dawn had trouble with the other students. She could never put her finger on what it was, but they just made her feel... odd. Like she didn't belong with them. Of course, her mom and dad always told her it was just part of growing up. Even her parents' friends did, but... oh, whatever....
It didn't matter.
What mattered right now, was convincing her dad that she could be trust to stay at his place alone while he was out of town.
She frowned as she gave her doodle its finishing touches. The drawing was of a man with a deformed face with sharp teeth poking out of his mouth. He was dressed all in black with a long black coat. Dawn debated on whether or not to color in the man's hair to make it black, or leave it white. Ultimately, she decided to leave it as it was and turn to lookout the window.
The sun was bright and the grass and bushes looked impossibly green. It was all around what one would classify as a beautiful day.
That's when she saw him; a strange man wearing a red baseball cap walking by the school. He was dressed normally, a pair of slacks with a blue button up shirt and a black leather jacket. There was absolutely nothing distinct about him... except for the three other men that appeared behind him, dressed the exact same way.
Dawn wasn't sure why, but she felt a knot growing in the pit of her stomach.