Dawn was in the library researching when a phone call came through for her. “They’re here,” a voice said.
“Was it your idea to have them call?” Dawn asked, glancing up from her book.
“They wanted to go to the mall to find you, but I thought a phone call here would be the better plan,” Ariel explained.
“I’d have to agree with you there. Willow’s still on edge after Castiel visited Sunnydale,” Dawn agreed.
The door to the library opened and Xander popped his head in. “Dawnster, you got a phone call. What’s he look like? Do I have to beat him up?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dawn answered, picking up the phone sitting on the research table.
“I’m assuming that this is who you’ve been spending most of your times talking to. So, is it Josh?” Xander asked.
“I’ll tell you in a minute,” Dawn said to Xander before pressing the buttons to transfer the call to the phone. “This is Dawn.”
“My name is Sam Winchester. My brother and I need to talk to you about something very important. Ariel said you’d be able to help.”
“She was right. Where are you now?” Dawn asked, glancing to where Ariel was standing, and back to Xander.
“She who?” Xander asked.
“We’re at the Days Inn on the edge of town,” Sam answered.
“Where is Castiel?” Dawn asked.
“I’m not sure, but if you want him here, we can get him here,” Sam said.
“I want the three of you here tomorrow for lunch. We eat at 11:30,” Dawn ordered. “Don’t be late.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Sam said.
Dawn hung up the phone and turned back to Xander. “I need you to gather the gang. It’s important that I talk to them about our new visitors.”
“What new visitors?” Xander asked, confused.
“The Winchesters and the man Willow met a few weeks ago,” Dawn informed him dryly.
“That man was powerful,” Xander cautioned.
“No, he wasn’t. He’s loosing his power because he’s cut off, and adopting human mannerisms. He’s gradually weakening,” Dawn corrected.
“He was powerful enough to set off Willow’s wards,” Xander challenged.
“He’s not a threat. I’ll explain as soon as you get everyone here.” Dawn’s tone stopped Xander’s protest.
“Okay then! I’ll set the meeting for an hour. That should be enough time to tell the others, and have them available.” Xander walked out of the room and closed the door, muttering to himself.
Dawn smiled to herself and went back to her research. Her abilities were coming back, and the two biggest pawns in the current game of life were about to walk into her hands, and they had no idea what they were stepping into.
Xander, Willow, Tara, Anya, Spike, and Faith were sitting around the big conference table forty minutes after Dawn got off the phone. “Did she say why she wanted to speak to all of us?” Willow asked for the third time.
“She mentioned something about visitors arriving tomorrow, and that they were important,” Xander repeated. “ She mentioned the one who went to Sunnydale would be coming too.”
“That man was powerful, though he didn’t set off the demon alarms,” Willow observed.
“Do you think she got into trouble?” Anya asked. “She gets into trouble a lot.”
“If she had, we’d already know about it,” Faith said, shaking her head.
“I’m not in trouble,” Dawn said, entering the room. “I asked you all here for another reason.”
“What would that be, Bit?” Spike asked, speaking up for the first time.
Dawn didn’t answer, instead she motioned to someone to come in the room. The woman walked in, not entirely prepared to come face to face to most of these people.
Spike and Faith were the only ones not surprised by seeing Ariel. Spike had a meeting with the angel shortly after Buffy’s death. He had been humbled when the angel related Dawn’s request, and took it to heart. He took the job seriously, and promised to keep the Bit as safe as he could.
Faith had been given dreams shortly before Buffy had jumped. Ariel had come to her and explained what was going on in a dream. The whole thing was a little nerve wracking for her, but she felt more confident in herself since the angel’s visit.
Xander, Tara, Anya, and Willow were stunned to silence for a few minutes.
“What did you do, Dawn?” Willow demanded, voice hard and full of power.
“I did nothing. Ariel has done nothing but followed my orders,” Dawn answered.
“What orders?” Xander shouted.
“How could you do that to Buffy?” Xander asked, tears in his eyes.
“You will refrain from yelling,” Ariel ordered.
“Who exactly are you?” Tara asked. “You don’t look like anyone I’ve met before.”
Ariel turned to look at the shy Wicca. “You would be correct. I’m an angel. My name’s Ariel. Who you knew as Buffy is still in here, asleep.”
“Why do you follow orders from a twenty year old mortal?” Willow asked sharply.
“I don’t follow orders from a twenty year old mortal,” Ariel denied. “Surely you all know who you’re protecting.” Ariel looked around the room. All but Spike and Faith had confusion on their faces.
Ariel glowed white before turning and walking to Spike. “Thank you, Spike, for everything. I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted me to be.”
“Buffy?” he asked, cupping her cheek.
“At the moment. Ariel is giving me a some time to complete some finished business. Keep up the good work, and never doubt that I care for you.” Buffy gave him a chaste kiss before Ariel took control again.
“You don’t deserve the honor of watching her,” Ariel spat.
“You will calm yourself, Ariel,” Dawn hissed.
Ariel bowed her head. “Forgive me, father.”
“Father?” Xander asked, incredulously.
“Yes.” Dawn’s simple answer wasn’t what the Scooby gang expected.
“Who are you?” Willow demanded.
“I have many names. Zeus, Jupiter, Ra, Odin, Mary, Yahweh, Isis, are examples. Wiccans call me the Goddess,” Dawn answered.
“You are God?” Spike scoffed.
“Yes. You have reached salvation at last, William.”
“Better late than never, yeah?” Spike asked. Dawn answered with a smile.
“Who are the Winchesters?” Xander asked, getting over the surprise of seeing his friend alive, sort of.
“The Winchesters are the true vessels of two of my sons. You may recognize them by the names Lucifer and Michael,” Dawn answered.
“Vessels?” Faith asked.
“Isn’t Lucifer the name of the Devil?” Xander asked, not noticing Anya’s pale face.
“Yes. Every angel needs a vessel, someone to possess, a in order to safely interact with humans. Each angel has a true vessel. Buffy was mine. Sam and Dean are Lucifer’s and Michael’s,” Ariel answered. “And yes, he is known as the Devil.”
“Why are they coming here?” Willow demanded.
“He’s free, isn’t he?” Anya asked, her voice shaking.
“Yes, he is,” Dawn answered. “I don’t want my world to end just yet, and you are the best people to help them stop my son, without either brother submitting.”
“You’re God, why can’t you just use your powers and make them stop?” Xander demanded.
“Just because I’m a god doesn’t mean that I am all powerful. I have a plan, I just need time to put it in place,” Dawn reassured the group.
“How far along are you?” Ariel asked.
“Farther than I expected,” Dawn answered.
“I’d like to ask a favor,” Ariel requested. Dawn nodded for her to continue. “Restore Castiel to full power. Michael cut him off when he realized that Castiel’s death was faked.”
“He has continued to show faith. When he visits, I shall.” Ariel bowed her head. “This meeting is over until the Winchesters are here.” Dawn waved her hand and everyone found themselves back where they were before the meeting was called.
Sam and Dean pulled into the driveway for the school at 11:00. They got out of the car and looked waryly up at the building they were in front of. It looked more like a mansion than a school building. “This is a school building?” Dean asked.
“I’d say so,” Sam said, pointing to a sign on the side of the building, next to the front door.
“Should we knock?” Dean asked.
“You nervous?” Sam asked, a small laugh in his voice.
“Sam, we’re about to meet a god, not just any god though. THE God! Why aren’t you nervous?” Dean demanded.
“I am, I guess I’m just not letting it get to me,” Sam shrugged. “Plus, she’s in the shape of a nineteen year old girl.”
“Clearly you don’t know how much pain they can give you.” Dean shivered, recalling an unpleasant memory.
“Dean’s right. Teenage girls are horrible,” a voice agreed. The two boys turned around and saw Ariel standing before them. “She’s happy you got here early. Where is Castiel?”
“I don’t know. I could call him?” Dean offered, reaching for his phone.
Ariel waved him off and snapped her fingers. Castiel appeared in front of Dean. “Are you ready?” she asked the three of them.
Dean, Castiel and Sam all nodded and followed Ariel through the front doors. She led them through a series of hallways and finally showed them into a large conference room. When they entered, the occupant looked up and smiled. “Samuel, Dean, it’s good to finally meet you. Please, take a seat.” Dean and Sam looked to where the woman was pointing and took their seats on either side of her.
Dean took a good look at their hostess. She was rather tall with long brown hair and bright blue eyes that shined when she smiled. “Ariel. Castiel. You both did well. Castiel, come here.” The woman gestured the angel to her side.
Castiel obeyed without a second thought and knelt in front of the woman. She placed a hand on either side of his head and whispered some words in a foreign language. Castiel glowed bright gold, filling the whole room. “Rise, my son. I have reconnected you with Heaven. Please accept this reward as a token of my gratitude,” the woman, who Dean and Sam belatedly realized was Dawn, whispered.
“Thank you, Father,” Castiel murmured.
“Ariel, call the others. I wish to do an introduction before we eat,” Dawn ordered.
“I will,” Ariel answered, bowing slightly before disappearing.
“I thought she didn’t know who she really was,” Dean hissed to Sam. Sam shrugged in answer, keeping all his attention on the woman.
“That was accurate until a few months ago,” Dawn answered. “I started remembering and regaining my powers shortly before the final seal was broken, around the time Castiel was reprimanded. Ariel came to me and helped me remember. She told me that I was going to be needed and that I would have to cut my research trip short. By the time the final seal broke I could access my abilities enough to get the two of you out of trouble, though it took a lot out of me to do so. I’m slowly regaining my abilities back.”
“Why did you bind your abilities in the first place?” Sam asked.
“I needed to live as close to a normal life as I could. In order to do that, I needed to become a normal human girl who knew of the supernatural. Becoming the sister of the greatest Slayer was the best way to fulfill those goals,” Dawn answered. “My plans were altered when Ariel found me and decided to help me if I needed it.”
“Father,” Ariel interrupted. Dawn, Dean, and Sam looked in the direction of the door.
Ariel stepped to the side and a group of seven walked into the room and around the table.
“So, what are we doin’ here?” Spike asked, glaring at Sam and Dean before turning his gaze to Dawn.
“You and the rest are here to learn exactly why I’m here, and what these two have to do to save the world. This may take a while. Please sit, Spike. Ariel will do introductions,” Dawn answered, gesturing Spike to sit in the chair beside Dean.
Dean and Spike studied each other before Spike sat down. Willow, Faith, Anya, Tara, and Giles followed suit. Willow, however, eyed the man standing behind Dawn’s left shoulder. “That’s the man who went to Sunnydale. He tripped the wards.”
Castiel lifted his chin and sent a level stare at Willow. “Yes.”
Willow began to gather her power, but Dawn raised a hand. “Please, Willow. Castiel’s on our side. There is no reason for a battle here and now against one of our allies. Please sit down.”
“He’s more powerful than he was three weeks ago,” Willow announced.
“I gave him that power. Please sit,” Dawn insisted.
“You gave him power?” Willow asked, disbelievingly.
“Yes. It used up my supply and made me irritable. Please sit down so we can bring all of you up to speed. I won’t ask again.” Dawn’s voice had a steely note to it and Willow sat, not taking her eyes off Castiel.
“Ariel,” Dawn said, taking her seat.
Ariel nodded and walked around the table, saying each person’s name and function as she passed by their chair.
“Dean Winchester: Michael’s true vessel. William Pratt: vampire and Dawn’s primary protecter. Tara McClay: White Witch. Willow Rosenburg: Grey Witch. Rupert Giles: Watcher and Grey Sorcerer. Alexander Harris: The man who sees all. Anya Jenkins: Vengence Demon. Faith Lehane: Rogue Slayer, currently the only one activated. Samuel Winchester: Lucifer’s true vessel,” Ariel recited before coming to a halt on Dawn’s right side.
“You are all here for a reason,” Dawn began. “The true Apocalypse is here. Lucifer walks free, and there are only three ways to stop him. One, Dean and Sam become vessels to their Angels and my sons battle. Two, Lucifer is killed by an Archangel, with the proper weapon and ritual. Three, Lucifer gets placed back in his cage, or something similar.”
“You’re not much help are you?” Dean scoffed. “We already decided to gank the devil!”
“I can’t be of much direct assistance when I am only at one twentieth my total power. I can help you with other things to get you to your goals. Castiel has his full Grace restored, which drained my reserves. While you are here, Ariel is going to unlock more of my abilities and I will slowly regain my full power. Until I do, I’m vulnerable. Willow, Anya, Tara, Giles, I will need every protective ward, charm, or amulet that you can make me. Spike, Faith, I need you at my side 24/7. Xander, I need you to help Willow and the others. Dean, you and Sam need to take Castiel and find Gabriel. Ariel will follow later,” Dawn ordered.
Dean, Sam, and Castiel were up and heading for the door when Giles stood up. “Excuse me if I’m being rude, but just who are you, and where’s Dawn?”
Dawn stood up. “I have many names, but the one that you might be most familiar with is God. Dawn never existed.”