Disclaimer: Twilight does not belong to me. Buffy: the Vampire Slayer does not belong to me. Copyright infringement is not intended. The first section, in italics, is based on a passage in Twilight, and some lines are direct quotes from the book. Again, copyright infringement is not intended.
A/N: If you can’t follow everything, don’t worry. All will be explained later.
Summary: Dawn and her Watcher, Xander Harris, move to Forks, Washington to keep an eye on a growing population of wolf shapeshifters. Of course, Tuesdays tend to go wrong for the Key, and a type of vampire soon becomes her problem – romantically, that is. AU, Twilight/Buffy x-over. Dawn/Jasper.
When you fight demonic-induced vampires and other nasties all of your life, you expect to die at a young age, and probably violently. Actually, there’s no probably about it. You spend a lot of time thinking about your mortality in this line of work, and I’m no exception to that rule. They had me only in training until I was fourteen, but after that… well; I was Slayer age, wasn’t I? I was made for this, they told me, and I wanted to do it. I wanted – no, I needed, chose – to help. They would have made me, but I had made it my decision long before that. If it meant my death, for the lives of others, so be it. Even running scared, it was an acceptable fate. I would die. Everyone dies, eventually.
I never thought it would end like this, though.
He had given me a reason. Forks had made me happy in ways that I can never describe, but he gave my life purpose. It was beautiful, the brightness of his light, and if it hurt my eyes that didn’t make it any less so – both figuratively and literally. Ironically, he seemed more human than I could ever hope to be.
I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me.
I was doing this for him. Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.
I knew that if I’d never gone to Forks, I wouldn’t be facing death right now; later on, maybe, but not now. I would be safe in bed, not having drawn attention. I was more at peace with myself than I had ever been now, though. I was frightened too, of course. But, terrified as I was, as I always was, I couldn’t bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s just unreasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.
The hunter smiled in a friendly way as he sauntered forward to kill me.
Alexander Harris, Xander to his friends, flipped through his book idly. It would have surprised people from high school, but he was actually quite smart; he just hadn’t had the self-confidence back then. A jokester’s mask had hidden his hurt, and he hadn’t liked to show his intelligence in class, but the truth was that he had never needed Wills’ tutoring. He had wanted to boost her ego, and it had worked to some extent, although she still had her shy moments. Willow worked for the American government doing secretive work now. Still, he had never shown Willow his papers because they were all A’s. The Principal, a man named Flutie, had wanted him to skip grades. Xander had very politely declined, more than once, but had accepted in the end. Without other students, even his Willow, knowing, he had been a teacher’s and library assistant most of his time in high school, while he worked on his combined demonology and mythology degree – and of course, for after, a teaching degree. With those under his belt he had gotten into Oxford, while Willow went the Harvard route. There he had taken classes, mostly just for his own enjoyment, that had drawn the attention of one organization in particular; the Watcher’s Council. At twenty-two, he was acknowledged as one of the best.
Xander had been going to Oxford for degrees in Psychology and Psychiatry, actually, the career path he had finally decided on. It had landed him in good stead in the eyes of the Council members; he knew how to manipulate them well. It also helped him with the Potentials, Seers and other beings, as well as Black Ops and Secret Ops teams. He could relate to all of them. After all, Xander had lived in Sunnydale.
His first vampire staked had been his best friend. His second had been the boy’s Sire. Xander had, without his friend’s knowledge, been a hunter all through high school; it was no wonder that he “slept in class” sometimes, not that he was actually sleeping, the teachers well knew. It allowed him to get a better feel for the area. Still, above all he was a watcher of people, in any form they came.
Xander was given the most difficult ones; late starters, the stubborn and the near burnout cases. He was given the damaged, the wounded, the prideful and the “damned”, and he fixed them all. Because what was watching, if you didn’t do anything about the people in pain? That was the reason he’s stayed, after he found out the Council’s real nature. They kidnapped children; Potential Slayers, Seers, Prophets, yes, but still children to his eyes. He had been raised knowing that he would long outlive them, after all. So he stayed for their sake. It was quite a surprise to him when he found that the Key was sister to a Potential, though he never mentioned to the Council that the two were related. If the girl had been meant to be Called, she hadn’t been, and Dawn was safer in his care – although he did tell her, the two didn’t get along at all. Xander let it be. Frankly, he was sort of glad that Mr. Giles was stuck with the brat. She’d been the annoying Californian cheerleader type. He liked Rupert, but not enough to take Buffy (and what was their mother smoking?) off of his hands.
Xander sighed, picking up a different book.
Vampiro Scintillando, the Sparkling Vampire, is a rare breed in that they can only be killed by dismemberment and burning thereafter. Unlike any other type of vampire, they show amazing amounts of strength, speed and hearing sensitivity put together. They can eat human food, dissimilar to others of their category, but seem to find it akin to what a human would think eating live toads. The Sparkling Vampire –
Xander sighed, placing the book aside. He knew this already. They were a type of vampire that even Slayers were warned away from; a fight they couldn’t win. There were demons had the strength to rip them apart and burn them, but only a few, and generally they just steered clear. Oddly, it was mostly pacifists that had that type of strength. It was magick that worked best on them; strong witches on the payroll took care of interfering Sparkling Vampires. After all, Slayers tasted as good to them as other vampires.
Dawn lingered by the stairs off the side of the building. You had to go through the math class to get to them, but the teacher was nice, and she had it last period anyway. She saw Nikki’s car and sighed in relief, heading diagonally towards it – only now, she was in full view of the front of the building. He caught her eyes in a hard stare.
This wouldn’t be the last.
Not that she had expected it to be, but she’d hoped, at least, that they could avoid fighting on school grounds. In that she had gotten her wish. She couldn’t answer Nikki as they slowly pulled from the curb. Her jaw felt like it was held together with rubber glue; impossibly elastic and hard to peel off. Her eyes kept his, just as determined and hostile.
Shaking her head, she turned to her warily curious friend and launched into an animated account of her day. It helped to get her mind off things… but far in the back of her mind there was still the thought that –
She was relieved, that it wasn’t right now. He was a good fighter, she could tell by his body language, his almost graceful, steady gate; he knew what he was doing. She needed more time before she could fight him; not that she wasn’t good enough, but her self-confidence wasn’t the best, and that was necessary for most wins. She would need to psych herself up a bit beforehand, like she always did. No, this wouldn’t be the last.
It never was.
The Dark Gifts
It was bound in pure white leather, only making the words more starkly striking in their darkness. Taking it carefully from the shelf, although he could feel the preservation magick, he sat back on the nearby couch (just for that purpose) and read. Surprisingly, it was typed, but more in the fashion of a typewriter than a computer.
Table of Contents:
Chapter One: Telepathy (Hearing/Mind)
Chapter Two: Empathy (Heart/Feeling/Color)
Chapter Three: Visions (Eyes/Sight)
Chapter Four: Psychometry (Touch/Sight)
Chapter Five: Diviners (Sound/Sight/Color)
Chapter Six: Mystics (Soul/Blood/Everything)
Chapter Seven: Necromancers (Soul/Death)
Chapter Eight: Automatic Writing (Touch/Soul)
Chapter Nine: Channelers (Soul)
Several other chapters followed, but these looked the most interesting of them; for his own sake, went straight to Mystics, skipping all others.
Mysticism, like Divination, is difficult to describe. It is a category encompassing anyone who reaches to the Higher Realms for knowledge, particularly the Akashic Records, on a moderately regular basis. Most people fall into the Minor Mystics category without ever realizing. True Mystics, however, are fully aware of their metaphysical actions. They may even be possessed by spirits or angels at times, when the need calls for it.
As children they are described as “otherworldly”; as adults called “dreamers” or “odd”. They are Indigo and Crystal Children, Possibility Children and Balancers. They can be telepaths, seers, empaths and more. These people are Other, and may come off as too cheery, naïve, cold or indifferent – depending on how they deal with their “gift”. Before medications, people with this ability often used alcohol or drugs to cope, and many still do. They can be magical or mundane, and are diagnosed with mood disorders such as ADD/ADHD, Manic Depression/Bipolar, and Depression often. Some have schizophrenia or MPD/DID.
Mystics are also –
“Hey Xan, we’re home!”
“I’m in the living room Dawnie!”
There was the flop of a backpack hitting the floor followed by the thump of heels being kicked off. He chuckled. All was normal in the land of Dawn, then. Nikki was far more quiet in her entrance. She slipped her shoes off and came in to kiss his cheek.
“Have you finished your reports yet?”
“All four of them,” he nodded, “and I’ve updated the Council on Dawn’s progress with magick. What do you want for dinner tonight? We have chicken or steak.”
“How was work?”
“Mr. Travers seemed really impressed with my work. He may promote me to a Senior Watcher position, if I understood his implications.”
“Nikki, that’s wonderful!”
So went the rest of their day; normally. Three weeks later, they would be in Forks, Washington, Dawn enrolled in the high school. It seemed a perfectly normal town, boring town, but the Council wanted to keep tabs on local wolf shapeshifters, skin walkers, in the area. Dawn was to be his magickal backup if any of them became out of control. The shifters’ population had suddenly increased, after all. They wanted to find out why as well, the reason documented. It seemed like it would be a boring assignment. Just goes to show that you should never assume.
After so long as a vampire, life just bores you. Oh, his family was great, but it just wasn’t enough to satisfy. He needed… something. So when the chance came to get out, away from everyone for a while… well, he had jumped at it. There was no such thing as privacy in the Cullen household, and he appreciated the change.
Straight brunette hair bounced underneath a light blue knit skullycap, he noticed out of the corner of his eye. Turning fully, he took in her form; B-cup with some meat on her bones, but not enough to be called fat by any means, she wore a short-sleeved shirt in bright neon blue with a layered skirt of a midnight and bright yellow that swirled around her ankles as she moved. He was sure it would spin if she did, and seconds later he was proven right as she easily, cheerfully spun to avoid an oblivious young couple. She was a good, bright soul; positive. He felt himself smiling at the gypsy even as she disappeared into the crowd. She just had this… aura about her.
I had slipped. Again. I was crying, I knew (so much as a vampire could cry), but no one came to comfort me. Esme hadn’t come back yet, Carlisle was trying to work out setting up our new identities, and Alice… well I didn’t expect the comfort. Alice and I had been drifting lately, and I knew that this was the last straw. There was no going back; this was it. Rosalie and Emmett were out hunting still, thank God. I was feeling enough disgust rolling off Edward and pity off of Carlisle; I couldn’t handle their emotions too. Alice felt defeated; she was packing up with Edward. I sobbed again, tearlessly.
She was a pretty little thing; vibrant and bold despite her size. She fended off the three attackers the best she could. Two of their size, I could tell, she’d be able to handle easily, but three was too much. I rushed in to help after a moment’s pause. It was best to get a lay of the fight first. The skirts of her dress flaring out around her as she spun, the blonde was beautiful. A splash of their blood marred her black dress, but I held together. Then the third guy’s knife tore her stomach open. She was dying already, but I just lost it. Edward only caught the end. I didn’t bother trying to explain that the carnage was mostly another’s as she smiled her sweet goodbye.
Hi. My name is Jasper Whitlock and I’m a monster.
Rosalie and Emmett shared a look, before entering the house. Carlisle was on the phone, which was fairly normal, but it sounded like two people were putting things away in boxes; Alice and Edward, by the sound of it. What the Hell?
“Jasper slipped,” Edward explained, voice showing nothing.
His back was to them, but his face was doubtlessly as blank as his tone.
“Who’s with him?” Rose gasped.
“No one,” Edward said simply. “Alice is packing and Esme’s out.”
Rosalie’s eyes were wide with shock. Jasper had slipped and Alice was packing? What the Hell was wrong with her? This was her husband, for God’s sake! What was wrong with Edward, for that matter?! Rose had never seen him so cold, and this from the self-proclaimed bitch queen herself.
She rushed up the stairs, Emmett close behind, and held Jasper close while her husband rubbed his back. She rocked him gently, trying to calm her brother’s desperate, tearless sobbing. It wasn’t helping, but Jasper would reluctantly admit that it didn’t hurt either, if asked later. Edward was angry, his wife had given up on him, and Carlisle, no matter how hard he tried to hide it, was disappointed. The worst part was, to his mind, that they had a right to feel that way. They should have felt worse. This wasn’t just a drug like heroine but human lives.
The second she heard the sobs, Esme rushed towards the house and straight up to his room. She paused outside the door, realizing that it was Alice and Jasper’s room, but walked in anyway. Rosalie was rocking Jasper while Emmett rubbed his back, and Esme knew exactly what had happened the moment she entered. She hugged her baby tightly to her as he cried tearless sobs. Apparently, they were moving again; but it was far more important that her baby was hurting. Maybe Alaska would be good for him.
Forks officially sucked eggs.
I didn’t like Forks; it reminded me of London; soaked before you knew it was raining. We’d lived there in a Council building when I was little. The Watchers were nice what few times I bothered to talk to them, but really, they’d examined me like a specimen in a zoo. Trying to teach a four-year-old magick? Yes, I could do a little by that time, but it was mostly floating candles. I really wouldn’t miss it that much.
“Are you sure about this sweetie? You could always come with me.”
Nikki looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines. I was pretty sure it was a magic thing. Actually, I knew it was; I’d done it purposely. I felt a spasm of panic as I stared at her wide, childlike eyes. How could I leave my loving, erratic, hare-brained “mother” to fend for herself? Of course she still had her brother Dante there to help, so the bills would probably get paid, and there would be food in the refrigerator, gas in her car, and someone to call when she got lost, but still…
“I want to go,” I lied. I couldn’t be that bad a liar, except that I was. I’d been saying it so frequently that it almost sounded convincing now, though.
“I’ll see you soon,” she insisted. “You can come home whenever you want – I’ll come right back as soon as you need me.” But I could see the sacrifice in her eyes behind the promise. I wouldn’t be calling home, I knew. She’d enjoyed our gypsy life, and had been antsy the whole time we’d settled in Arizona.
“Don’t worry about me,” I urged. “It’ll be great. I love you, Nikki.”
She hugged me tightly, and then I got on the plane, and she was gone.
It’s a four-hour flight from Phoenix to Seattle, another hour in a small plane up to Port Angeles, and then an hour drive down to Forks. Flying doesn’t bother me; the hour in the car with Xander, though, I was a little worried about. He seemed genuinely pleased that I was going to live with him instead of going with Nikki, but I’d miss having a girl around. He could do girl talk, sure, after years and years of practice, but it just wasn’t the same. Nikki had bridged the gap between us; she acted as a mother while Xander acted the part of a father (although he isn’t really too much older than me). He’d already gotten me registered for high school and was going to help me get a car.
When I landed in Port Angeles, it was raining. I didn’t see it as an omen – just unavoidable. I’d already said my goodbyes to the sun.
Xander had gone ahead to move in the furniture and fix up the new house; it had needed some repairs, but she had no doubt that there were none left. Xander had worked construction at one point.
“It’s good to see you again, Dawnie,” he said, smiling as he automatically caught and steadied me. “How’s Nikki?”
“She’s fine. It’s good to see you too, Xan.” I only had a few bags. Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable for Washington. I’d bought some good things from a thrift store, but I wasn’t much of a fashionita anyway. I wore what I liked, not necessarily what fit in with the current fashions. It was still gypsy style at this point; we’d traveled with a gypsy troupe, taking care of demon problems along our route and occasionally breaking off to handle rituals and more dangerous magick problems nearby.
“I found a good car for you, really cheap,” Xander announced when we were strapped in. “Billy Black down in La Push is in a wheelchair now, so he can’t drive anymore, and he offered to sell me his truck pretty cheap. Don’t worry, Dawn, the thing runs great.”
The thing, I thought to myself… it had possibilities – as a nickname, at the very least. “How cheap is cheap?” because I had plenty saved up.
“Well honey, I kind of already bought it for you. As a sweet sixteen gift.” Xander peaked sideways at me with a hopeful expression.
“You didn’t need to do that, Xan,” I said, tone showing my gratefulness. “I was going to buy myself a car.” Nothing grand, most of the money was for college.
“I don’t mind. I want you to be happy here.”
No need to add that my being happy in Forks was an impossibility. He didn’t need to suffer along with me. And I never looked a free truck in the mouth – or engine.
“Well, now, you’re welcome,” he mumbled, smiling.
We talked a while about my classes, the suckiness of digital cameras, and career options I was perusing – which was anything but acting, at this point, and I said as much. He suggested, helpfully, actually, other options in the arts. We stared out the windows in silence for about the last fifteen minutes, though.
It was beautiful, of course; I couldn’t deny that. Everything was green; the trees, their trunks covered with moss, their branches hanging with a canopy of it, the ground covered with ferns. Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves.
It was too green – an alien planet.
Eventually we made it to Xander’s. He lived in a small, two-bedroom home that he’d bought with Nikki in the early days of their marriage – which they’d rarely lived in since. There, parked on the street in front of the house that never changed, was my new – well, new to me – truck. It was a faded red color, with big, rounded fenders and a bulbous cab. To my surprise, I found that I loved it. I didn’t know if it would run, but I could see myself in it. Plus, it was one of those solid iron affairs that never gets damaged – the kind you see at the scene of an accident, paint unscratched, surrounded by the pieces of the foreign car it destroyed.
“Wow, Xan, I love it! Thanks!” I exclaimed, hugging him around the neck. My horrific day tomorrow would be just that much less dreadful. I wouldn’t have to walk two miles in the rain or accept a ride from Xander, which would be totally lame.
“I’m glad you like it,” he smiled again.
It only took one trip to get my bags upstairs. That was fine. I took my time getting unpacked, trying not to think about having to share the bathroom with Xander. One isn’t enough. I’m a teenage girl – what can I say?
Forks High had a frightening total of only three hundred and fifty-seven – now fifty-eight – students; there were more than seven hundred people in my junior class back home. All of the kids here had grown up together – their grandparents had been toddlers together. I would be the new girl from the big city, a curiosity, a freak.
I didn’t relate well to people my age. Maybe the truth was that I didn’t relate well to people, period. Even Nikki, who I was closer to than anyone else on the planet, was never in harmony with me, never on exactly the same page. Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes the rest of the world was seeing through theirs. Maybe there was a glitch in my brain. But the cause didn’t matter.
Here I go….
“Can I help you?”
“I’m Dawn Harris.” I was expected, a topic of gossip no doubt. Sister of Xander Harris, small town repairman/construction worker, coming home at last? No way there wouldn’t be gossip. I’d just have to hope that none of it was bad.
“Of course. I have your schedule right here, and a map of the school.”
It was a small school – I doubted I’d need the map – but I thanked her anyway. I went to move my car to the student lot. Luckily, a lot of cars here were older like mine; the only one standing out a shiny new Volvo. Still, I didn’t want to draw attention, and I cut the thunderous engine quickly. Okay, I could do this – but I didn’t relax much.
I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me.
The classroom was small. I took my slip up to the teacher, a tall, balding man who identified himself as Mr. James. He gawked for a moment at my name – not encouraging – but luckily sent me to the back of the class. It was harder for people to stare at me that way (though somehow they managed to) and I didn’t want the attention. I looked down at the reading list to stop a panic attack. It was fairly basic: Brontë, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Chaucer. It was comforting; I’d already read everything. Boring, too, but I’d thought to bring all my old essays and schoolwork, so this was one class that should be easy.
A nice girl with a camera, who I think was named Angela, walked with me to Government with Jefferson. She was shy, thankfully, and didn’t talk too much – we were the first ones there. No being late in a school this small, I suppose. I was on my own for finding Spanish, but immediately a girl came and started to babble my ear off. I counted to five hundred in Spanish in my head, and then again just for kicks; she didn’t take the hint from my silence. Then it was lunch.
“Who are they?” I asked – Jessica, I think it was.
They were gorgeous, obviously – vampires – but their eyes were different from what I’d been told they’d be. Then again, it would be sort of hard to run off with a pretty little snack without notice in this town. It was too small. Maybe they fed off animals, and that was the difference? The book had said that it was possible, but that vampires were too evil to do it. I thought that was ridiculous. If all vampires were too evil to feed off of animals, then how did Watchers know it could be done? They may be rare, the ones that did, but I though it perfectly likely. Knowing my luck, I had run into a group of vegan vampires; in the most boring town in America, too.
The one – the blonde one, quiet looking type – looked over at us, his dark eyes flickering first to Jessica and then to me. Jessica giggled in embarrassment, flushing and looking down at the table. I held his gaze for a moment, then casually looked away as a gleam of curiosity lit his eyes. I was the new girl; of course I was a curiosity.
“Them? That’s Edward and Emmett Cullen, and Rosalie and Jasper Hale. The one who left was Alice Cullen; they all live together with Dr. Cullen and his wife.”
“They are… very striking,” I struggled with my understatement.
“Yes!” Jessica agreed with another giggle. “They’re together though – Emmett and Rosalie, I mean. And they live together,” she added in a whisper as if this was some big, terrible secret. If I was honest, though, it would have invited talk even back in Phoenix.
“Which ones are the Cullens?” I asked. “They don’t look related….”
“Oh, they’re not. Dr. Cullen is really young, in his twenties or early thirties. They’re all adopted. Rosalie and Jasper – the blondes – are brother and sister, twins – and they’re all foster children.”
“That’s really kind of nice – for them to take care of all those kids like that, when they’re so young and everything. Not many people will do something like that.”
“Yeah,” she said reluctantly; probably jealous, from the way she looked at them. “I think it’s because Mrs. Cullen can’t have kids though.”
Dawn’s gaze grew icy cold.
“The next time you plan to say something rude like that, think of who else might find it insulting.” Because the likelihood of Dawn having children was around nil.
She stood up and stormed out to her truck.
“Shit,” Jasper whispered, shuddering like it was winter. He clutched his chest.
End Chapter One