Why did I agree to this?
Chapter One - Why Did I Agree to This?
- Dawn/Mini-Jack, maybe more as we go alongSummary:
Age does not protect you from love, but to some extent love protects you from age. Dawn is about to find out that walking away from one battle may have led her into another one. Disclaimer:
I don't own anything except for my laptop. Whatever Joss doesn't own belongs to those guys who own Stargate.Author's Note:
This story takes place mainly in the SG1 universe (although there may be a trip to Slayerville and will most definitely be at least one or two trips to Atlantis.) I know the whole Dawn and Mini-Jack thing has been done, but the whole 50ish guy falling for a teenager because they are sort of the same age kinda squicks me out. This story actually takes place when they are a bit older. Technically speaking, they're supposed to be about the same age, but I'm putting Mini-Jack's (forever known here as Jon) current age at 20 and Dawn's at 31. It should also be noted that I'm kinda hard on some of the Scoobs, but I try to shine the flashlight on some of the ugliness is every character. Doesn't mean that I don't still love them.
As always - let me know what you think!
As she passed through yet another security checkpoint at the Pentagon, Dawn Summers scratched nervously at the visitor’s badge that was clipped to her shirt. Had she known that she would have to wear it, she would have chosen a different shirt. But the azure blue, v-necked blouse was just tight enough to make the metal clip attached to the badge dig into her skin. That was so going to leave a mark.
She still hadn’t quite figured out what she was doing here. Well, she knew what
she was doing here. It was the why she had agreed to do it that still had her feeling a bit uncertain. Even though she hadn’t actually existed during that whole Initiative mess, the implanted memories she had were more than enough to make her nervous in the face of all of the military-ness going on at the Pentagon.
As she and her escort – Air Force, judging from the blue uniform - wound their way through one hallway after another and down several floors through the elevator, Dawn found herself hoping that her journey would soon come to an end. Though she could appreciate the need for all the extra security, Dr. Phillips had asked her to be there at 2:00. Looking at her watch she realized that this scenic route of the building had already made her about twenty minutes late. Well, crap,
Evan Phillips, in addition to being the Dean of the Linguistics Department at George Washington University, had been Dawn’s friend and mentor since the first day she had entered the program nearly fourteen years ago. It was only through his support and encouragement that she had made it through both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in linguistics and theology with honors. And so even though she had only been back stateside for about a day when she received his call, Dawn had instantly agreed to take the nine-hour flight to DC to come to his aid.
Well, technically it wasn’t his
aid. She was there to translate during the negotiation of amnesty for a small group of political refugees that claimed to have information of interest to the U.S. government. According to Dr. Phillips, the Pentagon’s regular translator for this area was out with the flu and the rest of the support staff were unfamiliar with the particular dialect that the Sudanese group of refugees were using. Knowing that Dawn had spent some time in the southern areas of the Sudan while working with the World Health Organization, he immediately suggested her as the best replacement.
One more hallway, two checkpoints and a partridge in a pear tree later, Dawn and the young airmen arrived at the conference room. Bidding her farewell, the man left her to return to his original posting.
Whatever scene Dawn had expected as she opened the door to the room, it certainly wasn’t what she found. Using instincts that had lain dormant for well over a decade, she just barely managed to dodge the heavy oak chair that greeted her. Instead of squashing her head like a ripe melon, the chair broke itself into pieces against the corridor wall.
Remaining on her hands and knees, she carefully looked around the open door to assess the situation. Although she wasn’t unaccustomed to violence, she knew better than to enter a dangerous situation without knowing what was going on first. She’d had to learn that one the hard way.
The room itself was painted that sea-foam green color chosen by hospitals and mental institutions for its ability to soothe. Dawn idly wondered under what circumstances anything the color of moldy bread could be considered soothing. Perhaps you had to be mentally unstable or dying to get it.
Lining the walls were flags from around the world, with the largest and most prominently placed flag belonging to the United States. Although the number and variety of flags said, “Every nation is welcome here equally,” the size and placement of the American flag clearly stated, “Just don’t forget who’s in charge here, kids.”
Central to the room was a rectangular oak table, large enough to seat ten people. It was surrounded by nine matching oak chairs with burgundy cloth seats. At the far end of the table was an open space, suggesting there had at one time been a tenth chair. Dawn supposed it was the one that was now doing a great impression of kindling out in the hallway.
Inside the room was a flurry of activity. Gathered at the far left of the table were three middle-aged men clutching each other in a mix of confusion and apparent terror. Judging from the deep ebony of their skin and the long, pastel robe-like jalabiyas they were wearing, Dawn could only assume that these were the Sudanese refugees. Though their mouths were wide open, not one of them was making a sound as they stared at the scene before them.
Following their line of sight to the right a few feet, she spotted three other men – two in camouflage uniforms and one in dress blues – all attempting to contain a fourth individual that Dawn could not see clearly. Their continued struggle was evidenced by the overturned chairs surrounding them as well as a spilled carafe of coffee at the center of the table. Miniature rivers of the dark brown liquid flowed easily over its surface, dropping in rivulets on the cream-colored carpeting of the conference room. Fearing that it was her mentor in trouble, she began to rise to her feet to intervene.
Dawn nearly jumped out of her skin when a hand clamped down on her left shoulder from behind. Turning to face this possible new threat, she was relieved to find that it was Dr. Phillips himself.
“Stay back, Miss Summers, he’s completely out of control!” Dawn couldn’t recall ever seeing her mentor this flustered before.
“What the hell is going on, Professor?” she asked as the collective of bodies surged to the right, knocking over another chair and setting loose a stream of expletives from one of the uniformed guards. “Who have they got there?”
“I don’t really know what happened,” he replied. “We had only been seated for a few moments, waiting for your arrival when he jumped up and started shouting and throwing his chair.” Though his right hand lay protectively over Dawn’s shoulder, she noticed that his left was using the back of one of the other chairs for support. As they spoke, a low rumbling could be heard coming from across the room.
“He who, Professor? One of the refugees?” Looking at the three other Sudanese men, it was clear that whatever was going on with their friend, they had no part in it. It didn’t make sense to Dawn. Who would be stupid enough to take on a room full of soldiers in a highly secure building without any immediate backup?
Dr. Phillips interrupted her inner musings. “I don’t know what set him off. But he’s clearly upset about something and it’s taking all three of those soldiers to subdue him.”
Across the table, it appeared that the uniformed men had finally gained the upper hand and managed to get the other man pinned into a recently uprighted chair. This arrangement gave Dawn a much clearer view of the man who had started all of the trouble. Tall and lanky, he looked far from imposing when compared to the men that surrounded him. Even seated, he continued struggling against his captors; his face twisted in hatred as he looked upon the rest of the room.
In studying the lines and contours of his expression, Dawn saw that his lips were moving. It was then that she realized that the rumbling noise she had heard earlier was coming from him. It had started as a low growling and was quickly working its way upward in volume. Soon the growls turned to words, but Dawn still couldn’t quite understand what he was saying. Dr. Phillips had said the refugees spoke a regional dialect of Sudanese, but it wasn’t any dialect she had ever heard. In fact, it didn’t even sound like Sudanese at all. The glottal stops and palatal consonants were all wrong, yet something tugged stubbornly at the back of her mind.
It was with a sudden start that Dawn realized where she had heard the language before. Although she had read it far more often than she had actually heard it spoken out loud, there was no doubt in her mind now that the angry man before her was speaking in ancient Sumerian.
With his hand still on her shoulder, Dr. Phillips surely had felt the shudder that ran through her body as she recalled under what circumstances she had come to learn ancient Sumerian. It was the life that she had left behind so long ago.
“What is it, Dawn? What is he saying?” Dawn’s body remained rigid even as he began lightly shaking her shoulder either to get her to relax or perhaps just get her attention. She was betting that there wasn’t much of anything that would make her relax anytime soon.
As the Sudanese man’s words grew louder, the timber of his voice began to change as well. It grew deeper and resonated like no human being’s voice ever could. And then, without warning, his eyes flashed a glowing yellow, cementing in Dawn’s mind the true source of the problem.
How long had it been, she wondered, since the last time she was faced with a demon? She hadn’t been a part of that world in a very long time; had hoped that she would never be a part of it again.
But a demon in disguise at the Pentagon? That was bad. And not an ‘I just robbed a bank’ kind of bad. This was more of an ‘Oh shit – how long til the apocalypse’ kind of bad. Damn it.
“Dawn, tell me. What. Is. He. Saying?” The realization of the situation had thrown her just enough that she answered her old professor without thinking.
“I am your God. Kneel before my power.”
Another involuntary shudder worked its way through Dawn’s body as she recalled the last time she’d had dealings with a god. Or at least a brain-sucking, fashion-challenged, slash-happy hell-goddess anyway. Her knees grew wobbly and Dr. Phillips ushered her into the chair he had used earlier to support his own weight. Although it was clear from the expression on his face that he was blissfully unaware of just how truly fucked they all were, she appreciated the kind gesture none-the-less.
“Rest here a minute, dear,” Dr. Phillips said. “I’m going to find out what in the devil is going on.” She felt rather than saw him leave as he headed off to who knows where to demand answers. Too bad he’d never really get them.
Peripherally she was aware that quite a few more uniformed soldiers had shown up to escort the confused trio of Sudanese men out of the conference room, while still more had dragged the demon off to be contained somewhere else. Realizing that she was the only one who knew the true danger of the situation, she began to rise up to warn them.
Before she could speak, though, another airman stepped into the room and interrupted her attempt.
“Miss Summers?” he questioned, although it was clear that he knew who she was already. “I need you to stay here just a bit longer.” He held up a hand at her look of protest and continued, “We need to re-secure the area; make sure the situation is contained.”
And without another word, the man left the conference room, shutting the doors behind him. Trying to catch him, Dawn moved quickly to the doors only to find two armed guards flanking each side of the entrance into the hallway.
“Ma’am, we need you to stay in the conference room.” the guard on the left said. When it didn’t look as if the man was planning to elaborate, Dawn got a bad feeling in her gut.
“So what am I – a prisoner now?” she asked; the challenge clear in her voice.
“No ma’am,” Lefty replied. “We just need you to wait inside for now.” And with a gentle yet solid nudge, he edged her right back into the conference room.
Maybe they already knew what was going on. It wouldn’t be the first time the military got involved with demons. And hadn’t that worked out just so well? Stupid Initiative. There was just no way to avoid it now. She was going to have to call Buffy.
As Dawn paced the room, she kept one eye on her watch, wondering just how long it would take them to get the situation contained. How long did they think they could keep her here against her will? She strode purposefully to the doors, fully intent on breaking the damn things down if she had to, when they swung open to reveal another man clad in the dress blue uniform of the Air Force.
This man was different from all of the earlier soldiers, though. He looked to be somewhere in his late thirties; closer to her age than the others, though still a few years her senior. He carried himself differently too. Dawn could admit he was rather attractive, but there was something else. There was a presence to this man. Cool and confident; comfortable in his own skin. And judging from all of the military flair on his uniform, he’d been around a bit too.
“Miss Summers, I’m Major Paul Davis, United States Air Force” he said while reaching out to offer his hand. “Sorry to keep you waiting, but I need to ask you a few questions about what you saw and heard here today. I’m afraid it’s a matter of national security.”
And because she couldn’t hold it in another moment, Dawn burst into a fit of bitter laughter.
“I’m afraid I don’t understand what you find funny about the situation, Miss Summers.” The poor guy looked like he wasn’t sure whether to be confused or pissed and so settled on an expression somewhere in between the two.
After a few seconds, Dawn calmed down enough to give her reply.
“It’s got to be a fucking Tuesday.”