The Slayer School
“The one slayer or potential, one Watcher standard was much easier for the old council to maintain as they had an abundance of Watchers and there were only a few hundred potential slayers under the age of eighteen. They didn’t bother with any potential who had lived beyond the Calling age, in fact no one in the supernatural world did which is why we have so many slayers now,” Dawn told Brian and Sam as she gave them a guided tour of the slayer school.
“It was however, the one thing that they got right when it came to actually dealing with slayers. Slayers deal best with a Watcher of their own. Even if that Watcher is as much a student of the supernatural as they are, the slayer is still as much as fifty percent less likely to be killed or badly injured than a slayer without a Watcher. We’re recruiting like mad anyone who qualifies.”
“Which is where Sam comes in,” Brian said, amused.
“Don’t count yourself out,” Dawn told him. “You can read Latin and Ancient Greek thanks to helping your little brother study. Even if you are rusty and can’t throw a punch, we still need you.” She nodded at the classroom full of baby slayers that they were passing. “They need you. Researching the demons is half the job. We can get martial arts and combat instructors for any style practically anywhere; someone who can read the research texts we have and who can handle the supernatural – not so much.”
“William the Bloody said that your sister is a slayer?” Brian asked, a little unnerved at the idea that Dawn was trying to recruit him as well as his daughter as Watchers.
“When did you meet Spike?” Dawn asked, frowning.
“He ah, stopped in to have a talk with Black Jack last night just as we were getting back to the club,” Sam said.
“A talk,” said Dawn in disbelief; then shook her head. She’d deal with whatever mayhem Spike had inflicted upon them later. “Actually my sister is Buffy Summers. She’s the last slayer who was ‘the one girl in all the world’ as the old speech went. After she died the first time two more slayers were Called by the old system. Kendra was Called first and when she died a year later Faith was Called. Buffy and Faith are now the senior slayers.”
“When she died for the first time?” Sam and Brian chorused.
Dawn shrugged. “She’s been dead twice. The first time she drowned at the hands of the Master, a very old vampire who wanted to open the Sunnydale hellmouth and was revived by CPR. The second time she died in my place to keep every bit of reality in every dimension from being ripped apart by a crazy hellgoddess.”
She stopped when she saw their stares. “I was the sacrificial victim, but the good news was that eventually, what with it causing one disaster after another it eventually led to this.” She waved her hands around, indicating the school. “No slayer will ever have to fight to save the world by herself ever again. She’ll have a good Watcher at her back and her sister slayers at her side,” Dawn said with pride.
“No wonder they said you wanted to be just Dawn for a while,” Brian said, shaking his head. “My guess is that you’re neck deep in everything that goes on around here.”
Dawn nodded. “Pretty much. I’ve been researching demons since I was fourteen and I got into the fighting side of it after our mom died. I learned a little bit from everyone; fighting skills, ancient languages and how to research the latest big bad, even magic.
“Buffy’s been a slayer for ten years. That’s longer than any slayer on record. No active slayer has ever made it to her twenty sixth birthday but Buffy’s going to be the first in just a couple of months and she’s not going to be the last. Every single Scooby is determined to keep her alive as long as possible, including me and knowing that I can help with that helps me live with the fact that she’ll still die early no matter what anyone does. It’s just that by helping we both put that day off as far as possible and we help her to really live whatever time she ends up having,” she said.
“Scooby? Jack said something about Spike leaving you and your sister with the Scooby gang when Spike went to get his soul,” Sam said quietly. The sheer horror of what Dawn was telling her felt like a sword thrust through her heart. How could she turn down becoming a Watcher when she knew that Dawn wasn’t trying to manipulate her? The way she had said that about her sister, it was far too matter of fact and heart-felt for it to be anything but the honest to god truth. If Sam really could make that much of a difference in one of these young girls’ lives…besides, this way she could move to Cleveland and be a part of her uncle’s life again.
Dawn laughed, a little sadly and touched at the same time at the reminder that Jack did know who she was, but was pretending he didn’t simply because she wanted him to. “My sister was the first slayer who was allowed to have friends, mostly because they refused to leave her alone with her destiny and because they proved to her second Watcher right away that they could help. Xander and Willow met Buffy on her first day at Sunnydale High and were neck deep in stopping a mini apocalypse the very next night.”
“Second Watcher?” Brian asked.
“Buffy was what used to be called a lost slayer, one who wasn’t identified as a potential slayer until she was actually Called. Merrick was the first Watcher that the old council sent once they found out where and who she was. He died fighting a vampire that Buffy dusted a few nights later. We moved to Sunnydale soon afterwards and the council sent Giles to be her Watcher. He’s the best,” Dawn grinned. “He’s been a sort of dad-like guy for all of the Scoobies ever since.
“Xander was the one who named him, Willow and Buffy the Scooby Gang because they were a bunch of kids solving mysteries and slaying demons. I’m Scrappy because I’m the baby of the family and because I’ve always been the one who wanted to fight in any way that I could. She’s my sister,” Dawn explained, and really that said it all. There was no way that she could ever let her sister fight alone, even if she was the only one left who could pick up a stake and watch Buffy’s back.
She turned down a hallway and led them back to the parking lot. “Let’s get you two back to Jerico. I’ve got a vampire to set on fire.” Brian and Samantha exchanged glances and both could not help but wonder at the fact that their new lives had such things as a teenager happily making a threat to set someone on fire – and that, as long as it wasn’t Black she was talking about, they were actually perfectly fine with it.
Dawn really wasn’t going to set Spike on fire. She knew that. She was just going to threaten him for giving her boyfriends the shovel speech, and no doubt, scaring a few decades off of Black. She was a Watcher, sister to The Slayer, spawn practice subject for the late ex-vengeance demon Anyanka, and favorite human of Spike himself. She knew what being confronted by an angry Master Vampire over a century old would do to a vamp that had barely made master status; namely send him mentally right back to being a fledge. Spike was going to pay for that. What she didn’t expect was to find Spike leaning against a wall, looking like he was trying desperately to not laugh because he’d pass out if he did, and watching Black Jack giggling and trying not to fall off of their couch. “What did you do Spike?”
“Not me Niblet. That is all his breakfast’s fault,” Spike said, finally breaking down laughing. “Poor kids are higher than a kite. Weird though, she wasn’t high on anything that I could tell.”
“She must have had painkillers in her system,” Brian sighed. “Jack’s a real lightweight when it comes to painkillers. He can’t take anything stronger than a couple of Advil without reacting like that.”
“Then why is Black having problems?” Spike asked. “I thought he had his own body.”
“He does but they share a stomach, and because Black’s a vampire his body is a reflection of Jack’s so he has some of Jack’s weaknesses. You should know that better than anyone. You have William’s eyesight problems,” Dawn said, as she walked over and levered Black Jack off the couch. He practically fell onto her shoulders, still giggling.
“Yeah, yeah, I can’t read without switching to game face,” Spike said, with a shrug. There was no way in hell he was ever wearing glasses again.
“That’s why they sometimes say that they share the same body isn’t it?” Brian asked.
“Yeppers,” Dawn said, half carrying Jack over to the door to the bedroom. “I’ll see you guys later, and Spike,” she glared over the shoulder not holding up a blitzed boyfriend, “we’ll be talking later and if you’re not careful you’ll end up on fire.”
Spike grinned at the mild death threat. “That’s my girl,” he said.
“Ok Jack,” Dawn said as she helped him lower himself onto the bed. “We’re here.”
“You’re very, very beautiful,” Jack told her. He’d sprawled out on the bed, and was now trying to tug her down with him.
“And you are very stoned,” Dawn laughed softly. She let him pull her down and cuddle her like a teddy bear.
“You smell good too…like green,” Black said, and nuzzled her throat.
“That’s my magic,” she said patiently. ‘Wait a minute, magic.’ “Let Black take a drink Jack,” she told him as they had switched again. Neither one of them seemed able to stay in control at the moment; maybe her magic filled blood would help sober them up.
“Nope,” he said firmly, and tried to shake his head. All he succeeded in doing was rubbing his face against her skin and tickling. “We’d Claim you, and we can’t do that yet.”
“What do you mean claim me?” Dawn asked, thrown by the odd word. Somehow she didn’t think that he was using the wrong word because he was high.
Jack kept on talking like he hadn’t heard her. “It’s not fair to Black that I can marry you. So we’re not gonna do that. We’re gonna be good and we’re gonna wait.”
Dawn’s mind raced and put the two words together and came up with something that she’d never thought she’d ever get to see, much less be a part of now that her mother was gone. “You want to make me your Consort?” she asked Black.
Black grinned. “My Consort, his wife, our mageling,” he muttered as he tried to look up at her.
Dawn’s breath caught in her chest. She’d read about Vampire’s Consorts before in some of the Watcher’s journals. It was a very rare thing when a vampire fell in love. Generally speaking most of them weren’t capable of it. Spike was the one who had taught her that it really was possible. He’d loved his sire for over a century, and their relationship had only ended when she’d left him. Then Dawn had watched him fall in love with her mother. It was even rarer when that vampire fell in love with a human, but it did happen often enough that there was a way to deal with the situation. She’d looked that information up when she’d realized just how much Spike and her mother had loved each other.
A Consort was bound to their vampire mate by a special bite and a small blood exchange. This allowed the Consort to share in the vampire’s abilities; making them stronger, less prone to illness, and most importantly shared the vampire’s immortality. The Consort would not age past the time of the Claim. Suddenly Dawn was very grateful that Jack was putting the brakes on Black. The vampire wouldn’t care if she was eighteen forever, but she really didn’t care for that idea. As for the rest of what being immortal implied, well the Key probably was already and she’d rather be a human Key than a green blob of magical energy anyway. That added to the fact that she was falling for these two men very fast meant that she’d probably accept when the time came, but she’d have to let them know about the Key first.
“Thank you for waiting for me,” Dawn said and gave Jack a kiss. “Now let’s get you out of that shirt.” Jack ended up fighting her because every time she touched his skin he burst out in giggles; apparently he was ticklish. Dawn noted that for later use, and simply continued to wrangle Jack out of his clothes so she could get him to go back to bed and sleep it off.
That was going fairly well until she saw the bandage on Jack’s shoulder. Dawn took a small step and found the obvious conclusion. “Jack, what did Spike do to you?” she asked as calmly as she could through gritted teeth. Waking up on fire was too good for him.
“Would you really set him on fire when he’s sleeping?” Jack asked, grinning at the thought.
“A vague disclaimer is no one’s friend. Damned right I would. Now what happened?” Dawn demanded to know.
Jack snickered. “He was disciplining Black for not treating you right when I took over and told him to stop picking on my brother. He didn’t know about me and paid for it. I’m human enough to set off his chip. After he woke up and we explained what was going on, he adopted Black. You were right, for a vampire he’s really a nice guy.”
Dawn sighed. Now she couldn’t kill Spike. He’d gone and done something completely against his demon’s nature for her sake, and given Black something that he desperately needed - a sire. Vampires need that connection when they’re young, and Black hadn’t had it since before the botched chaos spell that merged him with Jack. “Yeah he is. It’s a good thing that more people don’t know that. He does have a reputation to maintain in the demonic world. It’d be totally ruined if people knew what a marshmallow he can be for the people he cares about. I mean, he even looks out for my sister and they couldn’t stand each other at all when he first got together with my mom…and you have finally passed out.”
Dawn got up off the bed and finished tucking Jack in. “Just because I can’t kill him now doesn’t mean that maiming is off the list,” she reminded herself cheerfully and checked the short sword under her jacket.