For disclaimer see Chapter One.
Faith guided the car around the groups of teens that swarmed through the entrance to Forks High and pulled in the only space that wasn’t occupied by other cars or various adolescents who obviously had no respect for the big, black vehicle heading their way. Dawn chuckled at the other woman’s grumbling, watching as her expression darkened by the second. This was the first time Faith had driven her to school and so far it seemed the experience wasn’t one she’d be in a hurry to repeat.
“Relax. Bella’s back from her weekend in Phoenix so she’ll be giving me a ride tomorrow. I know you hate driving me right?” She smiled over at Faith who rolled her eyes.
“Of course I don’t mind driving you. It’s my duty as your babysitter, along with making sure you get fed and watered and don’t get kidnapped by anyone or anything. That’s if I want my Ducati in one piece when I go back to Cleveland.” She said in a voice that said the complete opposite.
“Oooh, threatening the bike? That was a low blow, even for Buffy.”
This had Faith chuckling.
“Actually I had variations of that threat from your sister, Giles, Willow and Xander. Also Andrew… although that one just had me giggling for about an hour.”
Dawn raised an eyebrow and turned in her seat to pin Faith with an incredulous stare.
“You… giggling? That’s like Spike doing ballet or Anya becoming a nun.” She laughed and wriggled out of the way as Faith reached over to whack her arm.
It was then that Dawn caught sight of Bella and Edward crossing the parking lot. She was about to jump out of the car and greet them when she noticed the intense look of hatred on Edward’s face and the concerned look on Bella’s. They both seemed focused on a guy who was standing next to a motorcycle parked across the lot. His expression matched Edward’s and as he moved up to meet them, Dawn couldn’t help but wonder if this was the ‘Jacob’ she’d heard mentioned. He was drop dead gorgeous with Native American looks and a killer body even with clothes on. If Bella didn’t want him, she wouldn’t hesitate to take him off her hands.
However, Dawn instantly felt ashamed at the route her thoughts were taking as she began to pay attention to what was occurring between the trio. They were obviously having a heated discussion about something although they hadn’t moved to full-blown-argument status just yet. She decided now was the time to step in on Bella’s side to try and defuse the testosterone fuelled tension.
“There’s Bella.” Dawn pointed her out to Faith. “I think she needs help of the gal-pal variety. I’ll probably get a ride home with her so you don’t have to worry about picking me up.” She made a move to get out of the car but was stopped by the vice-like grip of Faith’s hand on her arm. She couldn’t help but sigh.
“You know, one of these days you might actually just let me get out of the car without pulverizing my wrist.” She joked before she noticed the look of fury on the other woman’s face. Her gaze was focused intently on Bella and the guys, the look in her eyes enough to make Dawn fear for their safety.
“What is it?” She asked quietly. There was a tense silence before Faith answered.
“That guy, the one with the black hair, do you know him?”
Dawn shook her head and Faith continued, a little more relaxed now.
“Remember I told you about the wolves? How I saw two of them change into men.” Dawn nodded this time, afraid of what was coming next. “He was one of them.”
She simply stared at Faith, trying to make sense of the jumble of thoughts that were now running through her mind. ‘What if Faith was wrong? No, she wasn’t wrong when it came to something like that. But if he was the werewolf that she’d seen in the woods, what did that mean for Bella and Edward? Did they know? Was that what they were all arguing about? Or were they completely clueless about the whole thing?’
The ball of dread that was lodged in the pit of her stomach told Dawn that she really wasn’t that lucky. She ran her hands over her face, unsure of what to do or say. It was then that Faith let go of her hand and reached back to rummage in the bag of weapons she kept under the front seat.
“Stay here.” She commanded and Dawn instantly grabbed her arm to stop her.
“What the hell are you doing? You’re gonna go slay him in the middle of the high school parking lot?!” She exclaimed, causing Faith to look at her blankly. Obviously her slayer brain hadn’t thought further than ‘See Monster, Kill Monster.’ Dawn groaned and shook her head. “No, I’ll handle it Faith. Bella’s my friend and I owe it to her to give her the chance to explain what’s going on. I’ll find out about her furry friend and then we’ll figure out where to go from there. But until then I want you to keep the sharp, pointy objects away from large gatherings of teenagers, okay?”
She could tell from Faith’s expression that she was fighting the urge to ignore everything Dawn had just said but luckily her loyalty to the younger girl won out and she let out a controlled breath, clenching her fists in her lap. “Fine, but it doesn’t look like you’re going to get chance to talk to your ‘friend’ this morning.” The slayer nodded her head to where Bella had been standing. When Dawn looked up, she saw the other girl getting on the back of the bike with Jacob.
“I’ll handle it.” She assured her before diving out of the car. Rushing towards them, she called out Bella’s name but couldn’t make herself heard over the roar of the bike. She watched as they rode away and cursed as Faith peeled out of the parking lot too, obviously intent on following them. Dawn prayed to every god she knew that the slayer would control herself and not run them off the road or do something equally violent.
Turning back, she saw Edward standing and just staring at where Bella had disappeared with Jacob. Dawn felt a pang of pity for him before she realized that he was probably as much a part of this as Bella was. Stomping over to him, she managed to get just a few feet in front of him before he snapped out of his inner turmoil enough to notice her. She stood in his path, her hands on her hips as she fixed him with her scariest Summers glare.
“What’s going on Edward?” She demanded, annoyed when he shook his head, already turning away from her.
“Nothing you need to worry about, Dawn.”
“So I don’t need to worry that my friend, your girlfriend
, just rode off on the back of a bike with a werewolf?”
That got his attention. He spun back to face her, shock and suspicion evident in his eyes.
“What did you say?” He asked her, his soft tone doing nothing to hide his guilt. Any hope Dawn had harbored that they were innocent in this was destroyed with that one simple question. There was no disbelief at her statement, only surprise that she’d discovered it.
“You heard me. Now you’re going to tell me exactly what is happening in this town or I won’t bother with playing nice. We’ll just kill him and all his fluffy pals.” She spoke quietly, not bothering to sugarcoat her words as her anger at what she considered a betrayal of her friendship made her totally blunt. She folded her arms across her chest and glared. “So you want to protect your friend? Start talking.”
After that, the last thing Dawn expected him to do was laugh but that’s exactly what he did. She was a little unsure how to deal with that so she just stood there, looking at him like he had rabies or mad cow disease. After a few seconds the laughter ended as quickly as it had begun and Edward looked at her with a slight smile gracing his lips.
“You think he’s my friend? He just rode off with the love of my life pressed against his back!”
She stared at him in disbelief.
“That’s what you focused on in my whole ‘gonna kill him’ speech… that I called him your friend? Dude, who the hell are you people?” She looked at him in disgust.
Still smiling, Edward stepped forward until he was directly in front of her. Dawn couldn’t help but feel like a rabbit caught in the path of a ravenous tiger. She couldn’t back away; her stubborn streak forbade her from backing down so she shifted slightly into the stance her sister had taught her, ready to drive her knee between his legs if he made a move to touch her. The smirk on his face told her he knew exactly what she was thinking but she still faced him, a mutinous expression on her face. He nodded his head slightly and backed up a few paces, holding his hands at waist height. She relaxed a little though the feeling of being prey didn’t completely leave her. It was then that he spoke.
“I think the question is who are you, Dawn Summers? Are you just a girl who has left her hometown to escape and found herself in a strange town that’s getting stranger by the minute… or are you someone else altogether?” He spoke softly, almost as if he was simply wondering out loud.
“I guess we’ll find out… once you tell me what you know.”
“The things that I know are things you couldn’t even begin to imagine.”
Dawn stared at him for a long moment. Her mind was whirring again, a mess of half-formed thoughts and ramblings that she was fighting to make sense of. However, there was one thought that appeared to her quite clearly and was so certain that she couldn’t help but voice it out loud.
“You’re not human.” She barely whispered but the twitch of his eyebrow assured her he’d heard.
“Huh. Maybe you know more than I thought.”
It was Dawn’s turn to let out a bark of laughter. “Trust me pal, you have no idea!”
Edward cocked his head to look at her intently. “Then tell me everything Dawn Summers.”