A puzzle brings Dawn some unwanted attention, and leaves Methos with a puzzle of his very own.Disclaimer:
BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and co., Highlander belongs to Davis-Panzer Productions et al., and I claim no ownership of any copyrighted material.
Dawn was alone in the living room when the phone rang. After the fourth ring, when it was obvious that no one else was going to bother answering, she picked it up, along with the nearby pad and pen for messages. They all seemed to be taking a lot of messages lately. "Hello?" she asked, uncapping the pen.
"May I speak to Dawn Summers, please?"
A man's voice - older, not British. Dawn debated whether it was the right time of the month for a kidnapping, and the figured 'what the hell.' The new slayers could always use the practice. "This is she."
"Oh," the voice said, and that was definitely surprise in there. "This is Joshua Wilson, from the Journal of Classical Languages.
"Oh! You wrote that article on translating hypotaxis in the Koine. That was really helpful!" Dawn effused before she could stop herself.
He didn't seem to mind, though. "Thanks! Going in, I really didn't think they would be that different from Attic. Ha! What I wouldn't have given for a good parataxis!"
They laughed together, and with crashing self-awareness Dawn suddenly felt like the biggest geek in the world. Even Andrew, she was sure, had never yucked it up over linguistics humor. Aching to get off the phone before things got worse, Dawn said quietly, "I'm sorry, I didn't give you a chance to say why you're calling."
"Actually, I have great news! You were the top winner in our crossword contest."
"Yes, from our August issue."
"Oh, yeah." Dawn vaguely recalled the puzzle that had kept her occupied on the long plane ride back from England. "Gotcha. It's been so long that I forgot."
"Well, it took the other teams several months to get their replies in," he explained.
"Speaking of which, we need to know the rest of your team so we can credit them."
"Well, yes," he said, and maybe she wouldn't recognize the "duh" in his voice if she hadn't had years of Xander muttering in the exact same patiently exasperated way. "This was designed to be a team effort. There were too many diverse languages involved for one or two people to solve it on their own."
"Oh." Dawn had, in fact, considered asking Giles for help at one point, only to find him napping. Her voice was very soft when she asked, "Can you tell me who else entered?"
"Well, we had a team of graduate students from Duke and another from Yale. We also had groups of professors from various universities. It was an exciting response. Of course, yours was not only the most accurate, but it also came first by several months."
"Oh, I see."
"So, about your teammates' names..."
There was no way this conversation could end well. Before it got even more unbearable, Dawn took the only out that came to mind. "I'm sorry, I really need to go."
"Sorry, my sister needs the phone. Bye."
Dawn slowly placed the now-silent phone back on the table. She stared at it, at the pen still clenched in one hand, at the empty living room. Without thought, her free hand went to the cross around her neck. Holding it, head bowed, only one thought echoed through her mind. "Why didn't you make me a normal girl?"