"What the hell were you thinking?" demanded Dawn, first breaking his hold on her arm then smacking Jason on the shoulder. "Do you have any idea how stupid what you just did was?"
"No, but I'm sure you'll be more than happy to tell me," said Jason, not even bothering to hide the sarcasm-or anger-in his voice.
"Damnit, do you have any idea what you did? You followed me into an alternate dimension and I have no idea if I can even get you back!" Dawn took a deep breath and glanced around, trying to ascertain what sort of situation they'd landed in.
Her eyes widened there were blue trees and purple plants everywhere around them. Vaguely she could make out bits of a red sky through the trees. It seemed that Jason had seen the same thing as her, because he's begun to let out an impressive array of curses.
"Jason, shut up. I don't think we want to draw any attention to ourselves."
"I don't think I will. Not until you tell me who you are and what you were doing at that camp."
There was a stubborn set to his stance which made Dawn rather sure this was not something she'd be able to get out of. At least if she were going to spend any time around him. Of course she had no intention of doing that.
Dawn thought of the camp they'd been at minutes before, about the forest and the smell of the air-anything and everything she could think of about that place. And then she willed open a portal, hoping that she'd managed to open one where she wanted to go. The portal opened.
Before Jason had a chance to react, she pushed him into the portal. She took one last look around to commit this world to memory and walked through after him. Once through, Dawn closed the portal.
She fought the urge to wince at the thunderous look upon Jason's face.
"This should be Camp Chippewa," announced Dawn. "Let's get you back to camp where you belong."
"You're not gonna answer any of my questions, are you?" he said in resignation.
"Got it in one."
She was about to leave when she realized that something felt off. Dawn couldn't quite figure out what was wrong, but she wasn't going to abandon Jason here until she knew he'd be safe.
"Well," said Dawn. She began walking in the direction of the sound of voices. "Let's get you back and checked in."
"What, are you going to walk me back in there like a child?"
Dawn gave him a deadpan look which made it clear that if necessary, she would personally frog march Jason back into the camp. Jason let out a sigh before he picked up the duffle bag that had fallen off his shoulder in this most recent trip through a portal and began to walk as well. Jason was, she realized, practically bristling and one wrong move might set him off.
They slipped into the camp, weaving between groups of people with ease. Dawn had a feeling that Jason intended to keep her in his sights for as long as possible. At least this meant they wouldn't loose each other.
Dawn walked toward the lines where people checked in. She turned to speak to Jason only to realize he'd stopped short. She backtracked and found him staring blankly at the check in lines.
"What's wrong?" she asked softly.
"I don't recognize any of these people," he explained. Then he began to motion. "There were five check-in lines, not nine. The welcome banner is a different color."
"Crap," she muttered, taking a good look around. She reached out, asking what was different with her senses. The answer came immediately. "Let's see if we can get a free lunch off of the camp and try to figure out what to do."
"Free lunch?" Jason raised an eyebrow at her.
"Why should we pay if we can blend in with the campers and eat for free," Dawn joked. Then she sobered. "I don't even know if they use the same money in this dimension."
"I think I smell barbeque that way."
"Lead the way."
The duo found a set of tables with food laid out-typical barbeque food such as hotdogs and hamburgers judging by what Dawn could smell. They joined the line, both studiously avoiding looking at each other or speaking. Dawn grabbed some of everything, happily gathering enough food for two people. She wasn't one to pass up free, plentiful food, particularly after the year she and Buffy had had. It was rare these days that she had an opportunity to eat as much as she wanted.
At the end of the line she grabbed three birch beers. Birch beer was actually very similar to root beer although Dawn had to admit that she preferred it to the more common alternative. She decided that she would go back to the line and get a couple more birch beers before leaving and slip them into her fanny pack so that she could have the occasional treat.
She looked at the various tables, each of which sat eight and quickly made her way to a sunny, grassy spot several yards away from anybody else. Most were seated at the tables, but there were quite a few sitting on the ground as well. Dawn set out the food and began to put together a sandwich that Jason took one look at and blanched. Dawn sighed. Nobody ever understood her sense of taste.
"We're in an alternate dimension," Jason said, pitching his voice so that it didn't carry. "How the hell did you manage that?"
"Magic," she answered, before taking a bite of her sandwich.
"What? Can all wicca do that?"
"Actually, opening dimensional portals is more in keeping with the abilities of mages or sorcerers-there are dozens of different branches of magic, hundreds of different ways of practicing it."
"What do you mean?"
There was no reason not to educate Jason on this at least, decided Dawn. "Alright, so you know about the Justice Society of America, right? My school studied them and the other capes of that era as part of the section on World War II." At Jason's nod, Dawn continued, "Right, well that magician John Zatara is actually a sorcerer who uses words to shape his magic whereas that order worshiping lunatic Dr. Fate is a mage powered by order magic itself. I'm a wicca, which means that my magic comes from within me, and if I pray correctly to Hecate and other gods, depending upon the situation, they may augment my abilities for certain spells. Although I tend to avoid doing so unless I've no other choice-everything come with a price after all."(1)
"Order and chaos magic are as addictive as crack. I avoid them at all cost." (2) She paused, noting just how interested in the subject he was and then decided to go for broke. "Look, there are more things out there in the night than most can even dream about. Vampires, demons, they're all real. I mean, I know we see all sorts of things on the news involving capes, but people tend to dissociate themselves from the reality of the world, they try to pretend their life is normal, their world is normal. When I take you back, be careful at night-never verbally invite somebody into your home, if you can't feel a pulse, he or she doesn't breathe and they're ice cold get the hell out of there and behind a threshold. If you can't, crosses burn the skin, holy water acts like acid-garlic's useless. Either set the vampire on fire or a stake through the heart or trick them into going into full or partial sunlight or if you're really lucky, behead them. Don't bother with guns, bullets are generally useless against both vamps and demons."
"How do you know this? Is it just because you're a witch?"
"It's wicca," she growled. Buffy might be unconcerned about her "secret identity," but Dawn wasn't. However she needed some sort of legitimacy beyond that she had certain powers she'd worked very hard to control so she revealed something relatively harmless. "And no. My sister's a demon hunter. She specializes in vampires."
There was a look on Jason's face that made him look far older than he really was. Dawn stilled. He was, she realized, probably a street kid who'd found his way to a group home or a foster family. Camp Chippewa was part of a charitable organization run by Wayne Enterprises and all the teens at the camp were foster children or from group homes or on rare occasion from a family "disadvantaged" in some other way-Giles had pulled some strings to get her into the program. Jason had intimate knowledge of just how dangerous the supernatural could be, judging by the look on his face and on second thought the incident that had led to him following him through dimensional portals. Many street kids were more aware of supernatural dangers than others simply because it was a very real danger for them. Vampires, dark magic users, and demons preferred to prey upon them because nobody "important" noticed or cared what happened to them.
"I'm gonna go find a john," Jason said abruptly, before standing and leaving.
She let out a sigh. No wonder Jason acted the way he did. Maybe when this was all over she'd introduce him to Gunn over in LA. No doubt he'd be a good influence-one that understood everything Jason had been through.
Quickly, Dawn finished eating her food and then went back for seconds and to grab some extra birch beer. Dawn was a little surprised she was so hungry, at least until she remembered that she'd done a difficult memory spell and both opened and closed two separate dimensional portals. She likely needed to eat so much because of how much energy she had used.
After checking to make sure nobody was looking, Dawn pulled out her sketch pad and began to do a couple quick sketches of the camp itself, then the barbeque and finally Jason. Between taking bites of food she finished the basic shape of Jason's face and began to add more complex shading. It was only when she heard Jason's voice that she realized how long he'd been gone. She slipped the cans of soda into the appropriate pockets of her fanny pack leaving only her sketch pad, pencil and eraser out. She had two sketch pads with her; the one she was writing her comic in and this one. There was nothing incriminating in it, so Dawn felt relatively safe keeping it out.
Jason was talking and laughing with a group of boys by the sound of it. Dawn repressed a growl. She'd thought he'd really left to find a bathroom so that he could collect himself after Dawn had touched upon subjects she hadn't quite realized were so sensitive for him.
"Damnit Jason," said Dawn giving in to her temper. "It takes this long for you to find a bathroom?"
"What are you talking about?" demanded Jason in a tone that wasn't quite right.
Dawn stood and turned around, only to stop short. The first thing she noticed was the strawberry blonde hair. The second was that other than the hair, this boy was physically identical to the Jason she knew. The third was that his voice had been off because he didn't have a pronounced Jersey accent like her Jason.
"Sorry," Dawn said quickly. "I thought you were somebody else. You sound just like my friend, Jason."
"Hey Dawn, these guys botherin' you?" asked Jason as he ambled over, thankfully from behind the group of boys.
"No, no," she said eyes wide, hoping that this red haired Jason would not notice what was doubtless an alternate version of himself. "Everything's fine Jason. It was just a little misunderstanding."
"I'm sure," she agreed.
Red haired Jason's eyes widened as he heard her Jason speak. It seemed that he noticed how alike they sounded as well. This was, Dawn realized, not going to end well. And then the red haired boy caught sight of his counterpart.
"Hey, I'll see you later, guys," said red haired Jason. He waited until his friends left before saying, "I don't think I want to know but I'm sure there's an interesting story behind this that I think should hear."
"Oh my god!" exclaimed Dawn, putting on her airhead best valley girl act, generally reserved for dealing with Buffy or other members of the Scoobies when she didn't want to talk to them. "Jaaa-son, did you know your deadbeat rat bastard father had another son? I can't believe he has the same name as you. That's so uncool." (3)
Both Jasons blinked at her with identical expressions of stupefied surprise before a look of understanding crossed her Jason's face.
"Dawn, you know my father's always in and out of jail. I barely see him more than a handful of days every couple years."
"Like duh. Why do you think I called him a deadbeat rat bastard?"
"You're from Gotham, right?" said red haired Jason.
"My family was working with a circus in Western Europe from '67 to '73. Unless you mother was there, it's not possible for us to be brothers."
Then red haired Jason paused in thought before saying something that would have sounded Gaelic had Dawn not known the language. It took a moment for Dawn to decifer that he was asking her Jason what family-or was it clan?-he was from. He was an Irish Traveler, Dawn realized with a start. Irish Travelers were not Romani, though less informed occasionally mistook them for Gypsies. Like the Romani, they were historically a nomadic group that was scapegoated.
To her surprise, her Jason replied in the same language, explaining that so far as he knew, his father had left his family and had little to do with them, though his surname was Todd. Although, she supposed she shouldn't be that surprised, it seemed that they were alternate versions of each other. Maybe he had reacted to the supernatural as he had because of his ancestry.
Her Jason shifted awkwardly, then in English said, "Uh look, I don't really want to have much with my father's family."
"It would be for the best if you were to forget we were here at all," said Dawn, folding her sketch pad closed and slipping her pencil and eraser into her fanny pack. Best not to let him see anything overtly magical.
"Feel like getting out of here?" asked her Jason.
"Yeah. Let's go. Uh, it was nice meeting you, I suppose." She turned to her Jason. "Do you remember which way the road is?"
"Right," agreed Dawn. "Bye. Let's go."
The duo slipped away and headed toward the main road until the crowd was out of sight, then they slipped into the forest. Neither spoke until they were nearly a mile away from where they'd left the red haired Jason.
"Was that the me of this dimension?" Jason asked, his voice barely a whisper.
"I think so. I doubt we'll ever know for sure." She paused, "I heard you two comparing families, doesn't he have the same family as you do? I mean, I'm sure you lied…"
"Actually, I have no idea who his parents are," said Jason. "The family name was the same, the family history the same, but it's like he was describing completely different people with different names and different jobs. I mean, my grandfather and his family were aerialists with some circus that made the mistake of touring of touring in Poland in '39. My grandfather and one of his cousins was the only one to survive. In that case at least, the Nazis didn't make much distinction between Travelers and Gypsies."
"God," muttered Dawn. "Let's see about getting you back to our dimension."
She closed her eyes and focused, before opening a portal. "Let's hope this is the right dimension this time."
"Just walk through?" asked Jason.
"Yeah. You go through first, I follow, and close the portal behind us."
Jason ambled through the portal. Dawn followed him, a step behind. Only to stop short and mentally curse Jason Todd-any and all Jason Todds within the multiverse.
"Yes?" said Dawn, turning to look at the boy who'd grabbed her.
"What are you doing?"
"Not this again," sighed Dawn. "If you'll excuse me, I'll be going through this portal now."
With that Dawn shifted her weight and used a move shown to her by Spike to break his hold. Before red haired Jason had a chance to react, Dawn dove through the portal. Behind her she heard red haired Jason object to her actions, but Dawn really couldn't bring herself to care.
She reached out with her mind to close the portal as quickly as possible, in the hope that red haired Jason wouldn't follow her, only to realized, when she looked up that she'd been too late. Like his counterpart, he had followed her through a dimensional portal with little care for his own safety or well being. The worst part, Dawn realized was that the portal was completely closed and she wasn't at all sure she could send him back.
"Idiots!" she shouted. "The both of you are fucking morons! Have you no sense of self preservation? No care for your own safety and wellbeing? Are you trying to get yourselves killed?" She stood up. "Of course not. In your little worlds, following strange women through dimensional portals obviously makes some sort of deranged sense! Do you want to get stranded in a dimension not your own?"
Neither boy had the grace to look ashamed of their actions. Rather they looked at her in a way which made it clear that they were completely unapologetic.
"Never mind," she growled. "Obviously you idiots don't care how stupid you're being. Let's just get you back to your home dimensions and then I can forget I ever met you."
"Hey, uh, you get the right dimension this time?" asked her Jason, glancing around the woods.
"This time?" echoed red haired Jason.
"Last time we ended up in your dimension," he explained.
"What the hell are you two doing anyway?"
Her Jason shrugged. "I have no idea what she's doing, but I caught her doing some sort of spell and tried to stop her from going through a portal until she explained. 'Cept she dragged me through the damn thing with her. Is this my dimension Dawn?"
Dawn probed the dimensional barriers only to let out an impressive string of curses. At least, she supposed, she was getting better at reading what her senses told her.
"What's wrong?" asked red haired Jason.
"Wrong dimension, again," growled Dawn.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing?" demanded her Jason.
"Yes and no. It's complicated," explained Dawn "And it's not like you have any right to question me you jackass. I'm going to toss you back into your home dimension and you are going to forget this ever happened."
"But nothing. I don't care what's going through your mind, forget about it."
"I don't think so," protested her Jason while red haired Jason leaned against a tree, seemingly content to watch them argue. "Am I supposed to follow through dimension after dimension with no idea what's going on? You've already tried twice to return me to my dimension. That's two strikes. You fail a third time and I want to know everything."
"Fine! And you?"
Red haired Jason shrugged. "I'd like to hear that explanation as well."
"Alright." Dawn seemed to collapse into herself, thinking about the situation. "I will try to return you to your world one more time and then I'll try to return you to your dimension three times. If I'm unsuccessful, I will explain everything, but you two have to agree that you will spend the summer traveling with me from dimension to dimension, without complaint. When the summer is over I'll do my best to return you to your dimension. If that's agreeable to you two?"
"I can live with that," said her Jason.
"Me too," agreed red haired Jason.
Dawn brushed herself off and took a look around. "Is it just me or is there something weird about this place?"
"Does that portal scare the birds away?" asked red haired Jason.
"Not the last time we went through," said Dawn.
"Maybe we should leave," suggested her Jason.
"Yeeaah," she said stretching the word out.
Concentrating, Dawn reached out finding a world that felt right. Carefully, she pierced the dimensional barriers, forming a portal between the two worlds. The trio walked through the portal which Dawn carefully closed behind them. Something had been terribly off about that dimension they'd been in-beyond the missing birds-and Dawn wanted nothing to do with whatever was wrong.
"Well, let's see if this is the right place," sighed Dawn, heading toward the summer camp. Well, toward what she hoped was the summer camp.
The trio slipped out of the forest and into the clearing that should have led to the camp only to stop short. It looked like they were on the edge of a crater, though Dawn knew enough to know it was the result of an explosion. A very large explosion by the size of it.
"This is more than a couple hours old," said Dawn.
Red haired Jason nodded his agreement. "I'd estimate anywhere from a week to three weeks old, no more than that. If it was, there'd already be plant growth."
Both Dawn and her Jason turned to look at their companion. How would he know such a thing? But now wasn't the time to ask those sorts of questions, decided Dawn.
"We should leave," she suggested.
"What coulda caused this?" asked her Jason.
"I don't think we want to find out."
With that Dawn opened a portal, trying to keep red haired Jason in mind. When the trio went through, Dawn closed the portal behind her.
She blinked, wondering what Jason and Jason were staring at. Then the world started to tilt and the land rose up to meet her.
"Did she faint?" asked the dark haired boy with his name, his face.
"Give me a minute." Jason knelt to check on the strange girl. "She's fine, I think she just exhausted herself. How many of these portals did she open and close today?"
"There were two before we met this morning… five, that I know of. Maybe she opened some earlier, but I think she's from the same world I am."
"It seems to me that making so many portals would tire anybody out."
He'd only been Robin for a few short years, but Jason had met enough so-called superheroes, enough so-called supervillains to know that opening dimensional portals required more power than most could ever dream of. Part of him was terrified about just how powerful this girl was, but a good portion of him had to acknowledge that at least she wasn't trying to hurt them or abandon them in a world not their own.(4)
Jason had caught the tail end of the conversation between Dawn and the other Jason and had heard what he'd said about them probably being alternate versions of each other, about what had happened to the other Jason's family. He had to admit that the girl was probably correct. He didn't have much experience with alternate dimensions, but knew enough, through stories from Dick and Babs and Bruce that he could make a few educated guesses.
"You'd think she'd have a better idea of her limits," said the other Jason.
"Mm. Why's that?"
"She's some sort of witch. Well, she called herself a wicca, whatever that is."
"Wise women. That particular magical branch is native to the UK and Ireland. They're midwives and healers and generally some of the most balanced, mellow, magic users," explained Jason. "My cousin, she chose to be trained as one rather than to join the family business."
"Some, like mages can be real high strung."
"When do you think she'll wake up?"
"No idea." Jason paused, in thought. "I don't think Camp Chippewa is even over there."
"Neither do I," agreed other Jason.
"Right. I hear a river over that way, we can camp out there until Dawn wakes up."
His double nodded and picked up Dawn in a fireman's carry before Jason had a chance to do so. He picked up the duffle bag his black haired… alternate had dropped and led the way through the woods with practiced ease. Bruce had made sure he had more than the most basic of wilderness survival skills.
When Dawn awoke, it was to the smell of burning wood and cooking meat. Slowly, she opened her eyes. They were about half a dozen yards from a small creek. Jason and Jason were lounging side by side watching, Dawn realized, a buck drink from the creek. Dawn was under a lean to made mostly of evergreen branches.
Dawn waited until the buck left before clearing her throat. Both of the boys instantly looked over and Dawn was once more struck by just how alike they were.
"What happened?" asked Dawn.
"You fainted a couple hours ago," explained her Jason.
"There was no summer camp, so we just set up camp and caught some dinner."
Red haired Jason nodded toward the fire which had, she noted a skinned rabbit speared on a stick balanced above it, cooking. "The food should be ready in a couple minutes."
Carefully Dawn sat up. She bit her lip unsurely, then announced, "I've already struck out three times trying to get Jason home and I've struck out once trying to get you home. Do you want me to try again in the morning or do you just want to come with Jason and I?"
"What are you doing travelling through dimensions anyway?" red haired Jason asked, an intense, curious look on his face.
"If I tell you the basics, will that satisfy you both until you decide?"
"Yes," both Jasons said in unison.
"Right. I am a fully trained wicca, but I'm also… well I have an ability. I can open dimensional portals. I think… I think that at one point I knew how to control this ability, but if I did, I don't remember anymore. When my sister sent me to Camp Chippewa for the summer I thought it was the perfect opportunity to learn to control it, so I erased myself from the memories of everybody at the camp with that spell I you saw me doing so that they wouldn't report me missing to my sister. It doesn't work properly on a person if they see it cast, that's why you remember me. My plan is to spend the summer learning to control my abilities. These abilities are too dangerous for me not to know how to control them."
"How dangerous are you talking about?" asked red haired Jason.
Dawn closed her eyes, then looked at her hands. "About a year ago a hell goddess kidnapped me and tried to use me to open a portal to her home dimension, almost destroying the walls of I don't want to think how many dimensions." It was only when her Jason put his plaid shirt around her shoulders that she realized she was shaking. She weakly pulled the shirt tight around her. "The only reason our dimension and countless others weren't destroyed is because my sister closed it. It wasn't… it wasn't like the portals I've been opening for us. This was a portal made from my blood at the right time, the right place. It was only supposed to close when the blood stopped."
"Do you mean when your wound clotted or when the blood completely drained?" Red haired Jason's questions were too astute for her tastes.
"Yes." She showed them the ligature scars she'd received from straining against the ropes she'd been tied with. "She had her minions tie me to a tower and then this demon, I only knew him as Doc, cut me open." She wasn't quite sure how it had happened, but she was almost in tears. "Spike tried to save me but Doc pushed him off the tower. Then he cut me open and the blood dripped and then there was a portal opening bellow my feet. My sister fought the hell goddess and managed to get up the tower to me but it was too late. The portal was open and there was only one way to stop it; for the blood to stop. Buffy cut me free and tried to get me to climb down but the portal was only growing bigger." To her embarrassment she'd started to cry. "I remember a dragon escaped through the portal. I'd never seen a dragon before."
Red haired Jason handed her a cloth handkerchief. She gave him a weak, teary smile. "There was only one way to close it. I was going to throw myself into the portal to stop it before it tore down all the dimensional barriers. But Buffy wouldn't let me. We're sisters, we have the same blood. She sacrificed herself instead of me. God, she just dove into the portal and it closed, and then her body landed on the ground. She was dead. My older sister was dead and my mother was dead-she had died a couple months prior-and my father was in Spain somewhere with his slutty secretary. And my powers were gone.
"It was hard, but I'd always known Buffy was going to die young-demon hunters… they don't live long lives. Then, God, Willow and Xander got the bright idea to use the Buffybot-it's an android created for one of our… former enemies-to fool the local demon population into thinking Buffy was still alive and hunting them. It looked like Buffy, acted like Buffy, but it wasn't."
"Did they make you spend time with that thing?" demanded her Jason, clearly incensed. At Dawn's nod, he said, "That's fucked up."
"That's… that has to be a real mind fuck," agreed red haired Jason.
"The worst was that Willow and Xander and Anya used this very dark spell to resurrect Buffy a couple months later." Dawn let out a hollow laugh. "Willow thought Buffy was in a hell dimension. A simple spell, one damn scrying spell would have shown her that Buffy was in a heavenly dimension with Mom. But she never thought beyond her own arrogance. So she raised Buffy from the dead, pulled her soul out of heaven. They didn't even have the decency to unearth her casket. They thought the spell had failed so they left her to dig her way out and I was the one who found her on that tower, half insane and about to throw herself from it again."
"Who the hell does that sort of thing?" her Jason all but growled, not bothering to hide his fury.
Alternately, red haired Jason looked horrified. "A lunatic, that's who."
Dawn snorted. "You're right. We didn't know it at the time but Willow was becoming addicted to Chaos magic. She tried to stop, to learn to do magic properly, and then her girlfriend Tara was shot and killed about a week and a half ago. She went crazy, flayed the man who killed Tara alive, tried to destroy the world. She would have succeeded, if Xander hadn't talked her down. I haven't had the chance to watch the news, but you probably felt the earthquakes, even in New Jersey," she said to her Jason.
He nodded. "Nobody knew why the entire continent felt the earth move. There were small tsunamis in eastern Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, northern South America, Western Europe and Africa. They thought it was some new supervillain."
"God, I had no idea. Willow's been shipped off to some coven in Devon, England to learn to control herself properly." She wiped away her tears and blew her nose. "But we were talking about my powers. For a long time-up until a couple months ago, I thought my powers were gone and I was so relieved. Except then I cut myself sharpening a knife and opened a portal. I managed to close it, and figured out I could control these portals-at least somewhat-with my mind. I waited until now to experiment with my powers because I had school and Buffy would worry. I'm hoping to have a good idea of what I'm doing by the time the summer's over."
"And if you still can't control them by September?" asked red haired Jason.
"So be it. I knew what I was getting myself into."
"You don't need to take me back to my world until summers over," volunteered red haired Jason.
Her Jason nodded. "Me too. If ya don't mind my askin' how'd you end up with these powers?"
"I started out as a magical object," announced Dawn. "Until two years ago I was a semi-aware ball of mystical energy that could open portals that was called the Key of Dimensions. These monks that were guarding me, their monastery was under attack from the hell goddess Glory and before she killed off all the monks, they turned me into a human and sent me to Buffy to protect. Something she would protect, a little sister. At the time I'd no idea I was anything other than Buffy's sister. I thought I was just a normal fourteen year old. I had memories of my life as a human, a mind of my own, I have a soul-I checked, believe me." She cleared her throat. "Anyway, it's only since that portal opened a couple months ago that the memories of my time as the Key have started to come back. I don't remember much-just how I ended up in that monastery and why an entire order of knights were trying to destroy me, but I know I existed before then. I know that I was alive for a long, long time before them. I have flashes of memories in dreams. They're still so jumbled up, but they've been getting clearer as time goes by."
Her Jason shook his head. "That has to be one of the craziest things I've ever heard, but I believe you."
"I've heard stranger," remarked red haired Jason. "So, what next Dawn?"
"Tomorrow I'm going to open a portal. I'm not sure where. I think I'm going to try letting my powers lead me where it will. I only had a chance to do that with the first portal and I'd like a chance to do it properly." She paused, then mentioned, "If you want, I can do something about carrying that duffle bag everywhere. Do you have a fanny pack? I mean, I know it's totally geeky, but if I use a bag too big you only end up with lost items and rabid dust bunnies."
"What are you thinkin' 'bout doing?" asked her Jason.
"The Mary Popins-Carpet Bag Spell. I'm sure you can figure out what it does. Tara-she's the one who taught me magic-her grandmother figured out how to make the spell based upon that old movie."
"You know the strangest things," chuckled her Jason.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you what a normal day in my home town is like." She turned to red haired Jason. "I think you two will need to share clothes until we can go into a town and pick up some clothing. If they don't use the same type of money we do, I could probably hustle some poker or pool-although I'm better at hustling poker."
"Don't worry about it. I've hustled before," he remarked.
Her Jason gave him an appraising look. "I'm better with pool and darts, you?"
"I haven't hustled darts in a while, but I'm an old hat at pool." He motioned toward the rabbit. "Food's done."
"Thank you," smiled Dawn. "So obviously we'll need to say you're brothers or cousins or something. Cousins would probably work better for explaining why you've got the same name."
"You guys can call me Jay if that makes it easier," offered red haired Jason.
(1) If you've caught this then you've probably figured out by now that Dawn and the Jason from her dimension are indeed from the same pre-Crisis Earth as the JSA and other "Golden Age" comic characters, also known as Earth-Two.
(2) In the comic books, at least the recent ones, Chaos magic is shown to be addictive. It stands to reason that Order magic would be equally addictive. Given what Dawn has been through with Willow and Amy-not to mention Ethan Rayne-she'd be more wary than most of are of such magics.
(3) It almost seemed that Dawn was getting more immature as the series went by and this is my explanation why. She's intelligent enough to learn who knows how many languages, it stands to reason that she'd be intelligent enough to be familiar with correct grammar.
(4) "Red haired Jason," or "Jay" is the pre-Crisis Jason everybody knows and feels somewhat ambivalent about. You know, the little Dick Grayson clone from the tail end of the "Silver Age" comics, also known as Earth-One.
Author's Note: In the next chapter, the adventures really begin. I'm sorry it took me so long to put up this chapter, but you know how real life can get in the way sometimes. Anyway, this it the next chapter. Hope you enjoy. For those of you reading on TTH, I'll be adding this to a second category: Dawn-Multicross, because they'll be stopping in more than one familiar, non-DC world. I'm thinking they'll be visiting something a little bit creepy and kooky next. I'm sure you'll figure out where if you catch the hints I've left.