It Began With A Vision
Strength In Numbers
Ch. 1 – It Began With a Vision
Summary: What happens when a group of people are cornered and think they have no allies? What if they do have allies that they just don’t know about?
Note: I was inspired by a recent Dark Angel marathon on SciFi and that I began reading a story that was DA/BtVS, but then found out that Alec wasn’t going to be a part of it, so I had to write my own. Here’s what you need to know – This starts right before the siege on Terminal City, when the tensions between the population and the transgenics were really getting high. But, I had to play with the time-line a bit because I want Dawn to be relatively close to the age of Max, Alec, etc. Therefore, in my little world, the events leading up to the siege take place about two years after the destruction of Sunnydale and the Pulse was a regional phenomenon, not a national one, as the people in the region are being led to believe. Also, you’ll see that I really liked two characters, one from DA and one from BtVS, both of which died, so I fixed one of them, which then allowed me to fix the other one.
Pairings: Dawn/Alec, Faith/it’s a secret
Disclaimer: I definitely don’t own any of these characters.
One by one, the wooden doors that lined the hallway that housed the Senior Slayers at the Cleveland branch of The Academy opened and then quickly closed again, a flurry of action hidden from view. It wasn’t the sound of bare feet slapping against the hardwood that woke them, but the call that reached into their minds as Cassie Newton, their resident psychic/witch, made her way through the halls and down the three flights of stairs to Central Command. She didn’t stop to talk to anyone, knowing that she only had a few minutes to get to the computers before the vision faded from her. She dropped down into the chair in front of the main terminal and placed a modified motorcycle helmet over her head. The apparatus had been Andrew’s idea after watching one of the X-Men movies, only instead of technology and mutant abilities, their version of Cerebro was 100% Willow-certified magic.
A map of the United States popped up on the screen instantly and the pointer, crystal-shaped, of course, began to spin wildly as she focused on her vision. Knowing that the computer was recording the information now, she delved back into what she had seen, reliving the pain and suffering of the young man she had seen beaten to death and then strung up for the entire city to see.
Before her eyes, as sometimes happened, the map disappeared and a message from the Powers appeared on the screen materialized, Save him,
before dissolving to reveal the location she had used the computer to magically scry for.Seattle? What the hell is in Seattle?
She could feel the helmet disconnect itself from the computer as its job was now complete, so she hung it back on its pedestal and turned to face the crowd of young women that had gathered in the room during the ten minutes she was ensconced in finding out as much as she could about their latest mission.
Dawn Summers, her best friend and the Watcher currently on duty, knelt down beside her and used a gloved hand to brush the unruly blond strands away from her face. Cassie knew that she had to look like crap – visions of impending death at two o’clock in the morning do not leave one feeling refreshed – but they had all seen worse. If she ignored a vision from the Powers until morning, the vision would just play itself over and over in her mind until she was trapped so deep in it that it took an entire Coven plus Willow to pull her out. Lesson learned – she now knew to send a ‘read receipt’ to the Powers as soon as a vision ended.
She accepted the slippers and robe that the girls brought to her with a tired smile, motioning for one of them to go get the printouts and start working on whatever parts they could in the middle of the night. It had been just over a year since Cassie accepted the choice given to her from the Powers to serve their Champions in exchange for the opportunity to live again. Even at times like this, exhausted both mentally and physically, she never regretted her decision. She had helped save countless lives and that made her own discomfort irrelevant.
It took them a few months to figure out how to respond to the visions, but between Dawn, Andrew, Willow and herself, they managed to pull together a protocol. They already had the location and one of the Slayers, Janie, noticed a tattoo in the shape of a barcode on the back of their victim’s neck, so several of the girls went to work on finding out what that meant, so that left the rest of them to figure out when their victim was going to need rescuing. Finally, it was when Dawn looked at the weather forecast for Seattle that they had a countdown of just under thirty-six hours to get to Seattle and stop the murder.
Thirty-two hours later, The Academy was buzzing with activity. They had initially hit some major roadblocks with the tattoo, which told them that there was something to be found. Finally, the information that they found when they called in TJ, one of the younger Slayers who was actually afraid of blood, but seemed to just instinctively know her way around a computer, had brought back horrible memories of The Initiative for Dawn. They were certain that they were still not getting the full story, even with everything that TJ managed to dig up, but the young Slayer told them that the rest of the information would take a few weeks for her to fully recover from the damaged systems of Manticore.
With basic knowledge of the truth behind the news that had been generated by the government-controlled media about the transgenics, they had determined that a small raiding party would be sufficient for this mission, so Faith volunteered to take point, selecting two older Slayers, Callie and Taylor, as her back-up, with Dawn running Comm and Cassie handling their transportation to and from Seattle.
They arrived at the location with an hour to spare. Unfortunately, Cassie had only seen their victim clearly, so they were not able to identify the attackers. Armed with a nasty little drug cocktail that Willow had come up with in order to deal with some people who had thought they would make some money by selling out the Slayers to the media, Faith crouched down in her perch and waited for the action to begin. At T minus fifteen minutes, a trio of men came to stand near her location and after just two minutes of their ranting, she was pretty sure that they were the ones that would be carted off for psychiatric evaluation by the day’s end. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group,
she smiled in satisfaction as she imagined the thump their bodies would make hitting the ground, their incredibly ignorant mouths silenced for once.
“Showtime,” Faith heard through her earpiece. Callie’s voice interrupted, “I see him. He’s coming in from the southwest. He’s got sector police on his tail. I’ll take care of them.”
“Meet us at the rendezvous point when you’re through. Taylor, with me,” Faith confirmed, bracing herself for action.
It didn’t take long. The transgenic looked around, visibly calming when no sector police could be found. He didn’t realize that the three humans had recognized him from the news bulletin and were closing in on him. They moved faster than Faith had expected them to, but she and Taylor were able to grab two of the three weapons before they made contact with the man. The third man was never able to land another blow as Faith viciously kicked him away. Noting that the transgenic, although hurt, was moving, they moved efficiently, injecting their quarry with the hallucinogen that no blood or urine test would ever pick up, and helping the young man under the cover of a nearby doorway.
Taylor quickly examined the transgenic’s neck and shoulder where he had been hit and nodded to Faith, the look on her face more worried than Faith would prefer. He’s fit to travel, but not for long, then.
He tried to shrug them off, but they held tight to him. Faith whispered, “Stop. Listen. There are more people coming. They want to hurt you. We’re trying to help, so just let us, okay?”
“Who are you people?” he demanded.
“Later,” Faith told him as she scanned for a way out of the alley. The voices were getting closer and she knew that they would be cut off quickly.
“Hey! Up here,” a voice called.
Looking up, they could see Callie motioning to them, providing them with their egress. Faith nodded in the affirmative and told Taylor to go first. She turned to the transgenic and asked, “How hurt are you? Can you get up there?”
“Yeah, I can make it,” he told her.
The fear in his eyes didn’t give her a lot of confidence, so as Taylor climbed up and over the building, Faith met his eyes and pressed him, “I didn’t just save your ass to let you die because you won’t admit to needing help, so be sure. Can you make it to the roof?”
She watched him assess himself internally and she was glad that he had accepted her leadership without question. Either he’s really hurt or he’s more used to following orders than giving them. Either way, it works for me right now.
After a moment, he met her eyes with a new determination and nodded.
“I can make it,” he told her, a lot more confident than the first time.
“Good, then get going. I’ll follow you up,” Faith ordered, realizing that the voices were getting well too close for comfort.
True to his word, although he faltered for a moment about halfway up the building, he managed to get to the rooftop before he collapsed from the concussion Faith knew he had to have.
Without knowing where his home was or how to get him there, Faith quickly decided that he would just have to come with them. It wasn’t Faith’s style to lecture, so she just made a comment to Callie about not following orders and told her to carry the man the rendezvous location so she would remember the next time. Callie grumbled, one small sentence slipping out about finding them an egress route when they were blocked off, but she quickly silenced herself at Faith’s impatiently raised eyebrow.
As usual, Cassie seemed to already know that they were going to be bringing their victim back with them. Faith was glad that she didn’t always know what the future held. She had seen such a haunted look in Cassie’s eyes from time to time that told her how difficult the Sight sometimes was for the younger woman. If the only visions she had were the ones given to her by the Powers, it might not be so bad, but the PTB deliberately picked her because of her already existent psychic abilities, which seemed to kick into hyper drive to handle the visions from the higher plane. She met Cassie’s gaze with a sad smile, knowing that the pained look on the psychic’s face was what she was feeling from the young transgenic’s wounds.
“Let’s get out of here,” Faith told her, grabbing onto Cassie’s sleeve-covered arm and placing the flat of her hand on their unconscious friend’s back. She instructed, “Right to medical.”
When Biggs woke up, his Manticore training kicked in and he scanned the room quickly to figure out where he was. The events from the alley came back to him quickly. He noted that he was not tied down, although he did have an IV sticking out of his hand. A quick glance at the bag told him that he was just getting fluids to keep him hydrated while he was unconscious. He vaguely remembered someone trying to wake him up before, but he had been unable to push through the fog to return to full consciousness. He took stock of his situation. His head hurt, but it was bearable.
“Hey, hey, hey,” a voice called as he tried to sit up. A young woman with long brown hair was standing in the doorway. She didn’t exactly scream military personnel as she rushed over to his bedside, but he couldn’t help but tense up as she reached for his bed controls. She continued speaking, even as she raised the bed into the sitting position that he had been trying to attain on his own, “It’s okay. You’re safe now. I’m Dawn. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
“Why?” he asked, not knowing how much information they already had on him and refusing to give more up until he knew exactly who they were. They might have saved him from an angry mob, but that didn’t necessarily mean that they were the good guys.
“Because it was my turn,” Dawn responded, then turned thoughtful, “Oh! If you mean, why was anyone waiting for you to wake up, that’s because all of us have been hurt at one time or another and one of our rules is that no one ever wakes up alone. That way, if you wake up and start talking to someone and they start talking back, you’re really awake and not a spirit that has left your body.”
“Huh?” Biggs was confused now. Maybe his concussion was worse than he thought. He thought he heard her say something about spirits, but that couldn’t be right.
“Anyway, we’ll get to that part once you’re up and at ‘em again,” Dawn reassured him. “For now, sit tight, relax and enjoy the four-star cuisine. I know it looks a little on the interesting side, but it tastes really good and is packed with nutrients to help you heal quickly. So, did the knock you took to the head shake your name loose?”
“What?” Biggs was sure he wasn’t meant to try to interpret the young woman’s fast words with a concussion. The sentences were moving way too fast and they just didn’t make sense to him. Did I miss something during Common Usage class?
“What…is…your…name?” Dawn dragged the sentence out slowly, the look on her face a cross between amused and impatient.
“Uh…Biggs. Call me Biggs,” he told her and she smiled at him.
“Cool,” Dawn replied, “Calm down, Biggs. It’s not like we’re from a secret government facility that decided to play Ares with a bunch of DNA…You know, Ares…God of War?”
Biggs smiled at that reference, realizing that it was pretty accurate. Either his genetics were making short work of the fog in his brain or he had managed to adapt quickly to her strange language patterns. He focused on her again when he realized that she was still speaking to him.
“So, the doctor’s cleared you of permanent damage a few hours ago, which was really good because Faith was taking her supposed failure out on the training classes and they were refusing to step foot in the gym with her. Now, she’s gone back to beating the holy hell out of the undead and all’s right with her world. So, are you feeling okay? You’re not going to hurl or anything, right?”
“No, Dawn. I don’t think I’m going to…hurl,” Biggs answered, testing out the word as it rolled off his tongue. He understood the implication, but never actually had the chance to interact with someone who used a lot of slang, so the word sounded strange to him. Realizing that the strangeness was also due to not knowing where he was or how he got there, he asked, “What is this place? How did I get here? Where are we?”
“Our med unit, one of the girls carried you in, and Cleveland,” Dawn answered succinctly, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. After a moment of him staring at her, she relented, “Okay, geesh, one little concussion and you transgenics are no fun.”
She must have seen him tense up at the word ‘transgenic’ because she rushed to continue, “Yes, we know about transgenics. Yes, we believe that you exist. No, we don’t want to hurt you, although we will stop anyone who is hurting others. We stopped a group of people from hurting you today…well, mostly stopped. According to our intel, they were going to kill you, then string you up for all of Seattle to see. We stopped that from happening, but you were unconscious before we could get you to safety and we didn’t know where to bring you, so we brought you home with us.”
“And where is home?” he asked, still a little skeptical, but realizing that they hadn’t hurt him in any way, so he was willing to give them a little bit of a chance.
“Cleveland. Home to the Indians, the Cavaliers, the Browns and a recently activated Hellmouth that makes attending any night games a gamble with your own life. But, darn it, those pretzels are just so tasty!” Dawn told him.
“I’m sorry…did you just say ‘hellmouth’?” Biggs questioned, latching onto the unfamiliar word. He may not know the other words, but they seemed to be sports related, so he focused in on the one that sounded dangerous.
“Yeppers. It’s a whole thing, but for now, let’s just go with this. There are people out there who fight against evil that the general population doesn’t even know exists. We’re those people. Sometimes we get a ‘heads up’ from a higher power that someone needs our help. Congratulations. You were that someone this time. We don’t necessarily know what it means or why you were so important that we were called in from halfway across the country, but you were and we were, so now we just need to make sense of it.”
“Okay, I see what you are saying,” Biggs acknowledged. “I’m not saying I really believe you, but who am I to judge? I didn’t exactly have the apple pie life growing up.”
“Personally, I think I know why we needed to save you, but if I’m right, we all have a lot
of work to do,” Dawn stated, all playfulness set aside, revealing a steel-like determination that he had only seen in few other people’s eyes.
Next Chapter: Out of Nowhere
End note: So, what do you think? Good? Bad? Bored to tears? Should I continue? If so, should I add the Winchesters into the mix?