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The Hunter Chronicles

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Summary: Sam and Dean Winchester have gained a third Hunter in their time of need and she has become a vital member of the team. Note to Readers: my computer is broken but I plan to get it fixed and get the story back on track. I will continue ASAP!!

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Dawn-Centered > Pairing: Dean WinchesterEnchantedFaeFR18854,265193,5001 Sep 1231 Oct 12No

It Must Be Tuesday...

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wrote the story but the characters and their lives are someone elses.



She had gotten past that whole griping, I-Want-A-Normal-Life thing. She had more than accepted her supernatural existence and even dove into it head-first. Dawn had reacted much differently than her slayer sister, who only did as she must to save the always ending world from whatever demon-centered apocalypse was afoot. Dawn was not the same, weak girl she once was. She now took great pleasure in demon-hunting, much more than she had in her short attempt at college. It seemed Summers women were not college bound, they were meant to chase the things that go bump in the night.

Dawn had met the Winchester brothers when Castiel came searching for a way through the boundaries between worlds. She, of course, was the only key to crossing those boundaries and bringing down the walls that needed to be obliterated. Dawn had been the key to saving Sam from the hell place he was trapped in. He had been imprisoned in this other dimension because of some she-demon who had made goo-goo eyes at him, Sam had been weak enough to succumb to her charms. So Dawn had come to the rescue at Dean's and Castiel's request. She had opened the portal to the dimension Sam was trapped in, although it had not been as simple as before. This time, she had had to open a very specific portal which meant for an extremely painful experience, one she did not wish to relive. After the portal had been opened, the three of them had rescued Sam who was fortunately still alive, despite being in the clutches of the she-demon.

Once they had come home, “the Boys”, as she called them, invited Dawn to join them and she happily agreed. Her sister had not been ecstatic by any means, Buffy had mustered up quite the lecture about how Dawn was not ready for any of this and how she was still too young. Dawn had retorted with the fact that Buffy had saved the world multiple times, not to mention killed her own lover, by the time she had been Dawn's age.

Back in Sunnydale everyone had treated her like a child, even though she had just celebrated her twenty-second birthday. Not to mention an emotional break up with an ex-boyfriend who had been less-than-human. The chance to escape her past was something she had welcomed with open arms. This had been the perfect chance to find the place where she belonged, without anyone holding her back.



But welcomed or not, the past often had a way of tracking her down.



***

Dawn swung her right arm across her body, driving the crooked, wooden stake into the heart of the vampire who had his arms around her, ready to sink his teeth into her flesh. Before she could close her mouth to avoid the aftermath, she inadvertently inhaled a gasp of vampiric death-dust. She began coughing and cursing at the sheer grossness of the situation.

“Dammit!” She hissed in between breathy coughs. Nothing could be more disgusting than breathing in the grave-dust of a vampire. It was almost in some sick way like she was eating him...so gross!

“You all right?” A frightened Dean came running into the room, a look of worry in his eyes as he attempted to come to her rescue. He had such a presence in any room that it was impossible not to notice.

“You're...” *cough* “....a little late!” Dawn growled at him, as she was half bent over, trying to stop herself from hacking up her insides.

“Well I'm sorry.” He spoke with that crooked smile which always drove her insane. He had a tendency to get on her nerves even worse than Spike could. “What's with the hacking?”

“I inhaled vampire dust!” Dawn swallowed the hard lump in her throat as the cough began to subside.

“Come on, Dawn. I mean, I know it's about dinner time, but that's no excuse to start snacking on vampires.” He teased her mercilessly, which was nothing new. Their back and forth banter had become a comfortable part of their relationship.

“If I die of dust inhalation you are going to feel really bad.” She gave him a sharp glare, that could only be described as one of Dawn's iconic “looks”. She had a way of expressing powerful emotions with just one simple glance.

Dean peered at the pile of dust behind her. “One vampire gave you that much trouble?” He inquired, lifting one eyebrow suggestively.

“No!” She grumbled. “There were like ten vampires, for your information, Sparky!” She waggled an aggravated finger in his face.

“Whoa, whoa! Easy, Tiger! Don't get your panties in a wad! I was joking.” A playful smirk danced in his starry emerald eyes, as he forced himself to stifle a chuckle.

“Where's Sam?” Dawn asked a sudden air of concern in her voice.

“Probably playing footsies with some demon chick,” Dean shrugged. It was clear he was not at all worried for his brother. He knew that Sam was perfectly capable of handling himself and Dawn was just expressing her womanly duty to worry.

Dawn just rolled her blue eyes and huffed loudly. She felt a sudden relief when she caught a glimpse of an abnormally tall man walking into the room. The tall man, of course, was Sam. She had grown rather attached to the both of them, each in a very different way. Sam was the sweeter of the two, the one with which she had a close brother-sister relationship. She had taken to the role of protecting him in some ways. Dean and Dawn had a very different relationship, made up of witty comebacks and sexual tension. Although she worried for him just as much, it was just part of who she was.

“Sammie!” She smiled and tackled him with a warm hug. Sam just grinned and wrapped his long arms around her. “Dean thought you were flirting with a demon again.” She cocked her head to the side in a very smug manner, her long, brown hair falling in place upon her shoulders.

“Thanks for the faith, bro.” Sam shot Dean a sarcastic glance.

“Hey, she's the one munching on vampires.” Dean pointed to the brunette as if he were telling on her.

“You did what?” Sam wrinkled his forehead as he peered down at Dawn.

“I did not! I accidentally breathed in vamp dust because this one wasn't there to back me up!” Dawn gestured towards Dean.

“Alright, let's get outta here.” Dean spat as he began walking towards the door. “I want to get some rest before we---before tomorrow.”

“Okay, Dean-O,” she grinned.

Dean couldn't help but smile at the sound of his father's nickname for him. The three of them left the now empty building without any clues as to the location of Ruby, who had turned on them completely. She had caused quite the stir trying to get Sam on her side and the three of them had decided that ending her would be the best course of action this time. Dawn never had much of an affinity for Ruby, she had even grown accustomed to using Dean's nickname for her, generously reciting “bitch” whenever they met.

Within the time Dawn spent with the Winchesters she had learned the ins and outs of demon-hunting. She had become acquainted with most of their friends and even a few enemies. She adjusted to being a member of the gang in ways that she never had with the Scoobies. It had been over a year of being on the road together and any demon-hunter knows that a lot can happen in a year.



***

Dawn thrust out her hip in a very cut-the-crap manner as she stared down the demon hunter, who was sitting on her bed. Dean had answered the telephone and was trying to grill the person on the other line before handing the phone over to Dawn. She was not amused by these displays of trying to screen her phone calls for what he called “safety reasons”. Finally, she ripped the motel phone from his hands and gave him a less-than gentle, warning tap to the side of the head. Sam chuckled in reaction, from across the motel room.

“Ow,” Dean looked at her like a kicked puppy dog. If it had been anyone else, they would not have found that expression on his face, even for the gentlest tap.

“Hello?” The slender brunette spoke the greeting, waiting for a reply. There were very few people who would bother to call her anymore. Everyone she knew still had abandonment issues from her leaving Sunnydale. In their eyes everyone was supposed to live and rot there, they were what you would call lifers.

“Ello, Nibblet!” The thick English accent rang through the phone line, reaching her eardrum with a pulse.

“Spike!?” She exclaimed obviously excited by the sound of his voice on the other end of the line. Dean narrowed his eyes in reaction, still rubbing the side of his head dramatically. “I can't believe you're calling me!”

“Of course I am, luv. But I have to be honest with you, I have a strong urge to rip that Dean bloke's throat out!” Dawn swore she heard him snarl at the end of his sentence. This was clearly the same old Spike that she had known most of her life.

“He's harmless, I promise.” Her voice still clearly rang with excitement. Although she was fibbing a bit. Dean was anything but harmless. “So to what do I owe this pleasure?” She asked as she sat down next to Dean on the bed.

“I can't call my best friend without having an ulterior motive?” Spike had an obvious smile in his voice.

“Hmm- well you can, but you have that It's-The-End-Of-The-World sound to your voice,” she was painfully familiar with that particular tone. Dawn had heard that sound in the voice of just about everyone she had ever known. The world was always ending, and she was almost always apart of the gang that was intent on saving it.

Spike chuckled loudly at her awareness, she had always been the smart one. “Well, it isn't the end of the world, but I got wind of the mission you're on, Dawn,” He sounded very serious now. “I also heard some information about a prophecy involving you and the Winchester brothers. It isn't good Nibblet, and I hate to ask you this, but please just come home and forget about this ridiculous search to find yourself.”

“Spike, this is way more important than some search to find myself,” Dawn felt instantly hurt by what he had said. He was her best friend, he had always believed in and trusted her. “I care about them, this is my fight now, I don't belong with the Scoobies anymore...this is who I am.” She tried not to allow her voice to sound shaky and weak. “I have to go, Spike. I'll call you later.” With a click of the phone, she ended the conversation. Dawn clamped her eyes shut and put her face in the palms of her hands.

“Are you all right?” Dean asked, patting her narrow shoulders.

“Yeah, just a visit down Memory Lane.” She breathed in deeply, trying to regain control of her emotions. “So...I'm starving! Who wants food?” Dawn asked quickly changing the subject the best way she knew how to. Dean was always hungry.

“I can go pick up some food, you stay here,” Sam exclaimed, grabbing the keys from the end table beside the front door. Before either Dawn or Dean could protest, he was out of the motel room and opening the door to the Chevy Impala. He seemed to exit the room in an awkward, hasty manner- as if he were up to something- leaving the both of them completely befuddled.

“So what did your friend say?” Dean asked, letting his arm fall behind Dawn on the bed.

“That I needed to come 'home' because of some prophecy.” She shrugged. “I didn't really want to ask him about the details, I will tomorrow I guess.”

“Seemed like he said something to upset you. Want me to stake his ass?” Dean asked with that same crooked smile she favored. She had already told them both about Spike and most of the details about her past- most being the operative word.

“No.” She chuckled and shook her head. “I don't think that would be the best of ideas.” Even though Spike did not evoke the same emotions in her that he used to, she still loved him. She still loved all of the Scoobies regardless of the memories their faces bore.

“So what is the deal with him anyways?” Dean asked calmly. “I mean he seems abnormally protective...you guys never...”

“Hell, no!” She shouted her eyes growing wide with surprise. “He kinda had a thing with my sister.” Her face held a dull hint of amusement now.

“Oh,” Dean seemed instantly pleased. “So are you ready for tomorrow?” He asked changing the subject. He was not interesting in talking about some vampire friend of hers. Vampires as friends seemed completely absurd to Dean.

“I'm always ready,” Dawn perked up instantly, with her usual illuminating smile.

“You know, if you're afraid, you can tell me.” His face was serious as he looked at her with smoldering, green eyes.

“I know,” she nodded, licking her lips. “But if you and Sam are there, I know everything will be okay.” A smile of adoration spread across her face when she spoke about them. “I know that no matter what, you guys will find a way to rescue me if anything goes wrong.”

“We are certainly experienced in that department,” Dean assured her.

Dawn was right, neither one of them would let anything happen to her without doing whatever they needed to rescue her. She would do the same for either of them, because they were a team now. It was strange, adding a new member to the Winchesters hunting group. But with her, it was as if she had always been there.

“You're not gonna leave us are you, Tiger?” Dean used his customary nickname for her, his face painted with a halfhearted smile. He called her Tiger because of her constant need to be in control, and her ferocity when she was on a hunt. She liked the nickname, although she had never openly admitted to it.

“No, Dean,” she shook her head earnestly. “I'm not going anywhere.” She stared at him with her blue eyes glinting. She did not plan on going back to that Sunnyhell; this was her life now, as a hunter.

Dean looked down at her skinny pale arm that now rested on her leg. He allowed his hand to slide over the wide, bumpy, white scar that had become a permanent fixture on the inside surface of her arms now. It saddened Dean that she had acquired those scars to save his little brother's life, because he failed to keep Sam out of trouble. Dean had been slipping before Dawn had showed up and picked up the slack, like the champion that she was. It could not have come at a more opportune moment. She had become his hero in so many ways. She had not pitched a fit with Castiel when he had told her she would have to slice open her arms deeper than she would be comfortable with, using a rather scary-looking blade. Dean remembered that he had winced at the thought, of someone so beautiful being scarred so disgustingly. But she had barely even flinched when she heard the terrifying news. She had reacted, however, when Castiel told her that she risked death by doing this. But she had still decided to go through with it. Dean had admired her from that moment on, and the better he got to know her, the easier it became for him to admire her. He admired her, even when she made fun of him, maybe a little more.

“They're just scars, Dean.” Dawn's lips formed a tight, but gentle, smile. It was clear by her reaction, that his face was revealing the sorrow he felt at the sight of her scars.

Dean bent his head down slowly and pressed his lips against the scar, placing light kisses against the surface. As he brought his head back up, Dawn caught the gaze of his emerald eyes and lost all reserve. The walls she had been building up to avoid this exact moment, crumbled like a child’s building blocks. She allowed herself to lean in, dangerously close, until their lips finally met. What started as a gentle, affectionate kiss, turned into a fiery, passionate lip lock. His hands were in her hair, hers as quickly kneading the nape of his muscular neck. They seemed to have little control over their actions, mostly because they were enjoying this lack of control.

Moments later, they both heard someone at the door, fumbling with its knob, and they pulled away quickly. Sam swung open the door, holding two pizza containers, a brown paper bag on top of them. He closed the door behind him and placed the food on the table. He spun around quickly to see Dawn and Dean, sitting awkwardly next to each other. Sam furrowed his brow as he looked at them, sitting in silence. It was not like the two of them to shut up for more than two seconds.

“What's going on?” Sam asked, looking at the two people he knew best in the world, as if they were strangers. He had never seen them acting so out of character before.

“Nothing!” They swiftly exclaimed in unison.

“Alright then,” Sam chuckled, brushing his shaggy hair from his face. “I picked up pizza and some drinks.”

“Mmm...” Dean jumped up from the bed, hurrying to the smell of the food. He grabbed a slice from the steaming pizza box and stuck it in his mouth. With the wedge of pizza still clamped between his teeth, he caught Dawn's sudden glare as she sat on the edge of the bed. He stared at her with wide eyes.

“Ahem!” She cleared her throat in a very demanding manner, making Sam chuckle.

Dean gulped down the food in his mouth and rushed to grab her a piece. He handed her the slice of pizza with a square white napkin. Dawn teased him constantly, it was all part of her firecracker personality. She was not about to change the way she acted with him just because they had kissed. That was something she was afraid to lose. Granted, Dean acted differently with her than he ever had with anyone else.

When they were finished with their dinner they went to bed early, at least early for them. They had plans for the next day and they needed their rest, especially Dawn. If they wanted to get their demon, they needed the right weapon and that was exactly what they planned to get. They always gave Dawn a bed to sleep in, usually one of “the boys” slept in the other bed and one took the couch, or they would share with each other. It was more of a kindness for risking her life for Sam before she even knew him, than it was anything else. They didn't treat Dawn like she was weak, they knew what she was capable of.

In the morning Dawn was the first to rise, and she decided to let them sleep a few extra minutes while she jumped in the shower. Before walking into the bathroom her eyes were drawn to Dean sleeping on the couch. There was something about when he slept, maybe it was the fact that she could gaze at him without it being awkward. His long thick eyelashes made her smile, and she giggled when she noticed his face in a puddle of drool. She walked into the bathroom stifling her giggles the entire way there. After Dawn was finished in the shower she did her makeup and hair while still inside of the bathroom. When she was finished she wrapped a white towel tightly around her body before she went back into the motel room to get her clothes. When she walked into the other room both Sam and Dean were awake and getting ready themselves.

“Good morning,” Dawn smiled at them both, her attitude clearly chipper. She walked over to the dresser where most of her clothes were folded neatly. They often didn't have enough time to unpack their things, so when she could Dawn took advantage of the opportunity to put her clothes into a dresser or closet.

“Mornin',” Dean said staring at her. His eyes were jetting quickly up and down the length of her body. The towel was small and showed most of her long toned legs and of course hugged her tightly. Strangely enough he was caught off his guard since normally she would not have come out in such an indiscreet lack of clothing.

“Dean,” Sam beckoned. “Close your mouth,” he said with a strange but amused look on his face.

Dawn just giggled as she looked through her clothing. She grabbed a pair of jean shorts and a cute flattering red tank top that hugged her body and showed some cleavage. It was nice wearing something that wasn't intended for kicking monster ass but just to look cute and lets not forget comfortable. Monster fighting clothing was not the most cozy of attire, it was mostly efficient and had to be able to carry weapons, lost of weapons.

When they were finished getting ready they all piled into the Impala together, Dawn riding in the back while Sam and Dean sat up front. As usual Dean had his classic rock blasting from the stereo, which Dawn didn't mind since it was her preferred genre as well. When they finally got to their destination Dawn felt a sudden nervousness in the pit of her stomach, which was unusual for her. Normally, she would face whatever lay in her path without looking back, but this morning she felt uneasy. Dean and Sam got out first and Dawn followed, she stared up at the big broken down looking building and cringed. Why did it always have to be old broken down buildings that were nearly falling apart like this? Of course, it just had to add to the creep factor.

“You alright, Dawn?” Sam asked turning around to look at her. Obviously she was not hiding her anxiety very well.

“Yah, I'm good,” she shook her head feeling slightly foolish as she caught up to them.

“Don't worry, Tiger,” Dean put his muscular arm around her shoulders and rubbed her arm playfully. “We've got your back,” he pulled her close to him. Dawn felt a strange comfort with him holding her so close. She relaxed into his grasp and let out a deep breath she did not realize she was holding.

“Everything is going to be fine, I promise,” Sam stood at the other side of her and wrapped his arm around her waste. With the both of them at either side of her, protecting her, all of her worries faded away.

“Thanks,” a bright grin spread across Dawn's full lips.

They walked through the front door of the abandoned building together. When they got inside there was a sudden waft of a disgusting musky odor which only added to the buildings natural appeal. They spotted Castiel who had his back to them, he was bent over drawing something on the floor. Dawn felt an inner chuckle at the site of Castiel in his fancy attire. The angel spun around, he was holding a strange looking open book in one hand.

“Are you ready?” Castiel spoke in monotone, a serious look on his shockingly handsome face.

“Hold on,” Sam nodded at him and then turned to face Dawn. He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her so that she was facing him. “Listen, I promise you no matter what happens we are both right here with you every step of the way.” He looked down at her with his warm hazel eyes. They were eyes that held a deep and hidden strength. “If at any point you want to stop, just tell us. We can find another way, you don't have to do this.” Sam gave her a reassuring nod and the warmth in his gentle face washed over her like the warmth of the sun.

“It's okay,” Dawn nodded assuredly. “I can do this.” She stood up on the tips of her toes and gave Sam a peck on the cheek. Dawn spun on her heel and started walking towards Castiel. Before she could get very far she was jolted back by someone grabbing her arm and pulling her around. When she looked up she was faced with familiar green eyes.

“I-I,” Dean tripped over his words as he looked Dawn in the eyes. “Just, don't get yourself killed,” he demanded hoarsely.

“Okay,” the boundaries of her lips began to twitch as she tried not to smile. Dean was never good with expressing emotion, but it was clear that he was worried for her. She pulled herself up by grasping his shoulder, and placed a lingering kiss on his cheek. This was clearly different than when she had kissed Sam, and it did not go unnoticed.

Dawn turned around and continued towards Castiel and the strange white chalk circle that was drawn on the cement floor. She stood in front of him and awaited his demands. She tried to hide the fact that she was just a little bit petrified, as she always did. They all knew her as the strong girl from the hell-mouth, the girl who could withstand any crisis, the girl who could conquer any fear. She had to maintain that strength in front of them now, she was not going to be the weak kid sister anymore. Her posture was steady and confident, big blue eyes awaited their fearful fate.

“Go sit in the center of the circle,” Castiel commanded, his raspy voice was almost intimidating.

“Yes Sir,” Dawn winked playfully and walked into the circle. Dawn realized that nothing good ever came from circles drawn with chalk on the ground. At least it isn't drawn in blood, she thought to herself, and then chuckled. “Indian style?” She raised one eyebrow looking back at Castiel.

“Sit on your heels,” he suggested nodding. Castiel was not as stiff as he sometimes seemed, but this was not a time for jokes in his mind. Dawn and Dean were both the type of people who used humor to feel better. Humor was just another road to escaping the things they did not want to face. They both internalized everything to a very unhealthy degree.

Dawn did as she was told and sat down on her heels in the center of the circle. She closed her eyes and breathed in the air around her. The anxiety stung deep in her chest and she feared if she opened her eyes the room would close in around her. Why did it always seem like she was the one in the center of these frightening little spells?

“Both of you sit next to her around the outside of the circle,” Castiel gestured to the two frightened looking brothers. They both did as he said, Dean sat down to the right of Dawn and Sam knelt down to her left. Dawn felt instantly relieved that they were both much closer to her

“What's next boss?” Dawn inquired her voice slightly shaky.

“Alright, now both of you hold one of her hands.” As Castiel spoke, Dawn could feel that this was the next step before the scary part began. She stretched out her arms and instantly felt them being grasped at each end. Both the hands that she was holding onto felt very different. To the left she felt long fingers covering hers completely, while to the right a smaller yet stronger and slightly sweaty hand held onto hers.

“Ready Cas,” Deans voice cracked as he looked over at Castiel. He swallowed the lump in his throat and tried to maintain his calm.

“Alright,” Castiel walked around to the front of where Dawn knelt. He reached into his pocket and placed a small hand gun in front of her inside the circle. Her eyes widened and then she breathed in deep. It was an old looking gun with a fancy design on the brown grip. “Dawn, you have to repeat my words in English, I am meant to tell you the Latin words while you translate them into English as direct as you can,” Dawn nodded at him to continue. She could understand Latin, ancient Sumerian and a few other languages that were considered “dead”. “Ego Key, offerre interiorem lux ad cudendum telum omnium arma. Reliquum vitae periculum et ad conservandam pacem.” Castiel stood awaiting her translation, a slight presence of anxiety on his face.

“I the Key,” Dawn let out an exaggerated breath. She was tired of being 'the key' it was the reason she was always stuck in these situations, but it was also the source of her power and partly gave her a sense of pride. How could she hate something that had brought her to Dean and Sam, and had saved Sam from a hell-dimension. “Offer my inner light to forging the weapon of all weapons. I risk my life in order to maintain the balance on earth,” she closed her eyes and squeezed both the hands she was holding. Both Dean and Sam grew uncomfortable at the sound of the words 'risk my life' the very moment she spoke them.

Castiel continued to recite the words in Latin and then awaited her reply. He spoke with such clarity and assurance that it made Dawn doubt her ability to translate.

“Gather my light into this weapon, gather my strength, the key to worlds, the brightest light of all earthly lights,” a tear slid down her pale cheek and she bit her bottom lip. She felt the magic tingling at her and building deep inside of her.

“Iubeo ut ex verbis modo fiat,” there was a clear hesitation present in Castiel's voice.

“As I command, by my words, let it be done now!” Dawn tipped her head back and a bright light erupted from her chest and flowed all around the room. Although Dean and Sam tried to hold onto her hand, they were involuntarily tossed backwards. The only person maintaining his place was Castiel, clearly he had seen much brighter lights in heaven. As for the rest of them this was something they had never seen before, thankfully they were shielded from its brightness by the force tossing them backwards. The air was incredibly clear, almost like they were floating in the clouds. They couldn't be sure just how much time passed between the initial blast and when the calmness arrived.

When the dust settled and the room was free of the blinding, powerful light, Dean looked up to find Dawn laying completely lifeless in the center of the circle. He jumped to his feet without hesitation and rushed to her side. Dean lifted her limp body into his arms and began trying to jolt her to consciousness.

“Dawn!” Deans voice was filled with fear as he beckoned to the brunette in his arms. “Come on!” He continued to shake her but she remained completely unmoving. He felt her pulse but it was barely strong enough to feel at all.

“Dawn...” Sam wrinkled his forehead as he propped himself up. He was afraid to move, he almost appeared as still as stone.

“Wake up,” Dean cradled her in his arms and cupped her face with his hand. “Please, come back to me...” with his eyes closed he buried his face into the bend of her neck.

“That had to take its toll on her, she might just need time...” Castiel stood next to Dean inside the circle staring down.

“Come on, wake up Dammit!” He demanded as he held her close to him.

“Spike...” Dawn whimpered her eyes still closed. “Don't let me fall.” There was a fear in her voice as she started to touch consciousness. Her voice was almost too quiet to hear at all, she was still not fully awake.

“Dawn?” Sam quickly jumped to his feet and made his way to her side.

“Are you okay?” Dean asked, feeling relief wash over him as he held her in his arms. It seemed they experienced far too many of these little scares.

“Dean?” She opened her blue eyes slowly and looked up at him. She was still not completely aware of her surroundings, but still her lips curved into a delicate smile at the sound of his voice.

“Come on let's get you to a hospital,” Dean lifted her into his arms and in one swift motion had her off the ground.

“I'll get the gun,” Sam urgently turned around and reached for the weapon but was stopped by Castiel's hand.

“Don't touch it with your bare hand, it needs to cool off for a while.” Castiel tossed him a small white cloth and Sam caught it.

Sam wrapped the cloth around the gun and lifted it from the ground. He rushed to catch up to Dean who was already half way out the door in somewhat of a panic. Sam opened the door to the backseat of the car and held it open. Dean gently placed Dawn into the car and crawled in next to her, but not before tossing Sam the keys.

“I don't want to go to a hospital.” Dawn rested her head against Dean's firm shoulder. “Please,” she begged. Dawn had always hated the smell of a hospital. Whenever she stepped into a hospital the scent rushed her with memories of her mother, and how painful it was to lose her.

“But Dawn-” Dean tried to speak but was cut off by the sound of the key turning in the ignition.

“Let's just take her home for now Dean,” Sam suggested and Dean just nodded in response. It was clear that the last thing she needed was the stress of an emergency room. A nice warm bed was all she really needed.



***

Sam sat on the edge of the bed trying to bring a smile to the beautiful girls captivating features. Dawn was laying in the motel bed after the trauma she had endured. It was obvious she was going to be fine, she was already healing extremely fast and it had only been hours since the injury had occurred. It seemed the more she used her key powers the stronger they became, and somewhat speedy healing was one of the perks.

“You know you kinda scared the crap out of us,” Sam chided. They had been close friends since the day she saved his life, and that connection would never fade. “How about you avoid the near death experiences for a while?”

“I'll try my best,” she whispered, then gave him a subtle wink.

“Get some rest,” Sam patted her on the arm and rose to his feet. He walked across the small motel room and into the bathroom to take a shower before bed. Sometimes the feeling of the hot water helped him clear his head after a rough day. Although everyday they lived as hunters seemed to turn into a rough day.

Dawn sat up in bed, moving her legs to flop over the edge. She reached her hand up to tuck her long brown hair behind her ear. When she looked up from underneath her long eyelashes, those same familiar green eyes were standing in front of her. When she looked at him standing before her, she felt a smile tug at her soul.

“Hey,” Dean smiled but it quickly faded from his face.

“Hey,” her reply came out as a whisper, which was not her intent.

“How you feeling?” He asked her as he sat down on the bed beside her. It was obvious he was slightly afraid she was going to go into cardiac arrest at any moment.

Dawn looked over at him, he was waring a tight black T-shirt and jeans, he was never much of a fancy dresser. Dawn liked his wardrobe though, something sexy about the way his clothes hugged his skin. She had tried to fight thoughts like that a million times before, they seemed to creep up on her. She did not want to ruin this family they had, it meant everything to her, and her feelings for Dean threatened to ruin that. Fighting your feelings for someone is never easy, especially ones that were this strong. After the previous night all she could think about when she looked at him, were the way his lips felt against hers. Dawn sat next to him, fighting every urge inside of her that was telling her to reach out and kiss him.

“Tired,” she nodded looking down at her lap. She was wearing her sleep clothes now, dangerously short blue shorts and a thin white tank top.

“Can I ask you a question?” Dean's raspy voice sounded strangely serious. She fought the urge to look at him, just the sound of his voice made her breathing wild. Just the air in the room was suddenly thick. The two of them didn't have conversations like this, this was far too serious.

“Of course,” she rubbed her knee with the palm of her hand nervously.

“Earlier, when you were first waking,” he took a deep breath before he spoke again. “Y-you thought that I was...someone else.” Dean found it hard to find the right words, he felt like a fool.

“What do you mean?” Dawn turned her head to look at him now and wrinkled her forehead in confusion.

“Spike,” he nodded. “You said 'Spike', and then you said 'don't let me fall'...” Dean looked over at her. “Was it because you wanted it to be him?” His eyes held a look that she had never witnessed in them before. She cocked her head to the side and then shot back to look at her own shaky hands.

“I'm not sure, maybe in a way,” Dawn said honestly. “But I was dreaming, of something that happened a very long time ago, and that is why I said his name.” She reached for his hand and squeezed it gently. “When I opened my eyes, I was glad to see your face, I'm always glad to see your face.” There was so much emotion in Dawn's voice that Dean feared she might cry. Then in an instant she released his hand and brought it to the bridge of her nose. “I shouldn't be saying this,” she reprimanded herself. She needed to be the strong one, she needed to be in control.

“Tell me,” Dean grabbed her wrists and removed them from her face gently. His voice was urgent and pleading, he wanted to hear this, needed to hear this.

“I don't think I should.” Dawn squeezed her eyes shut in fear of what she would see in his face.

“Look at me,” he pleaded reaching his hand to cup the side of her face. He smiled at the feeling of her perfect smooth skin against his rough hand. In so many ways they were opposites, yet in so many ways they were exactly alike.

“No,” her voice was whiny as she felt the tears building up in her eyes. She didn't want to cry, she felt that would be unbelievably foolish of her.

“Dawn,” Dean held back the laugh that was threatening to force its way from his throat. He knew that if he laughed she would take it the wrong way. The reason Dean wanted to laugh was because he found her simply adorable. “Please,” he begged, holding her face in both of his hands.

Dawn pealed her eyes open nervously and was met with his gaze. His face was inches in front of hers as he stroked her cheeks with his thumbs. She couldn't combat the emotions building inside of her, their strength was overbearing as she looked at his face. She had fought this for far too long, and up until now she had done a pretty good job fighting it. Something about the way he looked at her now made her feel all kinds of awestruck. She could feel everything from her past and all the fears of her future fall away, there was only here and now, there was only him. Dean leaned in closer and rested his forehead against hers, both his hands cupped the back of her neck gently. Dawn could face any monster or life threatening situation that was tossed at her, but this moment made her want to run away screaming.

“I know you're afraid.” Dean's voice was gentler than she had ever witnessed before. “But I need you to be honest with me like you always have been.”

“But I can't lose the two of you.” Dawn bit her bottom lip and tried not to think of how terribly she wanted this. It seemed her life was filled with regrets that she could not change. The last thing she wanted was to face a fork in the road that led to regret no matter what path she chose. Regardless, there she stood, staring down the two roads and fearing that both possible regrets would be unbearable.

“You won't,” he promised. “This is your home, you belong with us. Nothing can ever change that now.” Dean pulled his face away from hers and ran a hand through her long hair.

“What do you want me to say?” She asked, sadness in her sapphire eyes.

“The truth...whatever it is you're afraid to tell me.” Dean needed to hear her reassure him so badly now. He felt incredibly threatened by this 'Spike' from her past, even though nothing had ever happened with him. Dawn had told them almost everything about her past when she first arrived with them, and the way her voice sounded when she spoke about Spike, made him jealous. Every possible man from her past who she cared for, made him shamefully jealous.

“I'm afraid to tell you everything,” Dawn took a lengthy breath. “Afraid to tell you that for a very long time, I have been fighting how I feel about you. That right now it is taking every small bit of strength inside of me not to kiss you.” Dawn thought about her admittance, she had been smothering these feelings so hearing them spoken from her own lips felt strange. The reality was always there, the truth lay in the back of her mind even though she condemned it.

That was all the invitation that he needed to hear, Dean brought his mouth to hers. What followed was a passionate kiss that completely prevented them from denying the truth between them. Then they were abruptly interrupted by the sound of the motel phone ringing throughout the room. The sound forced them to cease their lip lock, they both sat breathing heavily. After a few seconds Dawn hesitantly reached for the phone and lifted it to her hear slowly.

“H-Hello,” Dawn sounded clearly flustered.

“Hey, Nibblet,” the sound of Spike's accent on the other line shocked her.

“I-I-I,” Dawn couldn't seem to get control of her voice.

“Look, I'm sorry if I upset you yesterday, I am just afraid for you. This prophecy is not a good one, and I don't want you in the sodding middle of it,” there was a sincerity in his voice. “Please come home,” Spike begged.

“Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t,” Dawn replied finally finding her voice. “I wouldn't have a place to stay, Buffy and I aren't exactly on speaking terms.”

“You can stay with me,” Spike answered quickly, as if it were the answer to all their problems. “Besides, I know Buffy wants to see you, we all miss you, Love.”

“It's just not good enough right now,” Dawn hissed. “There is nothing pulling me there.”

“What about me?” Spike asked, an unusual sadness in his voice.

“What about you?” She asked confused.

“Little Bit, I am begging you,” his voice was deep and demanding. “I have something important to tell you, something I can't just say on the phone,” Spike's tone worried her.

“How important?” She asked concerned.

“It is important to me that you come. I know you once cared about me, if you still do at all, please do this for me.” There was a weakness in his voice that Dawn rarely heard from him.

“When I find the time, I will come.” Dawn promised reluctantly. She knew he would do the same kindness for her, so she had to for him.

“Thank you,” Spike breathed. “Please make it soon, Nibblet.”

With a click of the phone Dawn turned to look at Dean, who sat with a sullen look on his face. The sound of Spikes voice in her ear disappeared when she looked at his face. She felt an intense warmth and a paralyzing fear at the site of his green eyes staring at her, waiting for an answer. It was an answer she did not know how to give, she was petrified because she so desperately wanted him.

“Where are you going?” Dean asked.

“Sunnydale,” she replied. “But not-”

“Showers free,” Sam announced as he entered the room, steam following behind him. “Did I interrupt something?” He asked as he shook his wet hair off with a towel. He was wearing a pair of blue sweatpants and no shirt, his rather large physique showing. The three of them had grown far too comfortable with one another over their time together.

“Nope,” Deans tone was short, he got up from the bed quickly. He was obviously not pleased that Dawn had decided to go back to a place she referred to as Sunnyhell.

“Ugh!” Dawn made an exasperated sound and flopped backwards onto the bed.

“What's going on?” Sam looked back and forth between his brother and Dawn. They were both acting strange lately, and Sam was not as clueless as they thought he was. He had picked up on the tension between the two of them long before they were even aware of it themselves. All he ever wanted was for Dean to find any small bit of happiness he could, he saw that for him in Dawn. Sam knew that with Dawn his brother stood a chance of making something last. It was clear she would not give up on him and she belonged in the same messed up world that he did.

“Nothing,” Dawn replied. “I was going somewhere but I'm not now,” she shot Dean an annoyed look.

“Dean, what did you do now?” Sam tossed his wet towel at Dean, who grabbed it quickly.

“Just the usual idiotic behavior,” Dawn leaned her head backwards so that she could see Sam. Her lips held a subtle smile, on occasion Sam and Dawn enjoyed picking on Dean together.

“Why am I not surprised?” Sam shook his head sarcastically.

“Hey Sam, remember that time you let a vampire turn me?” Dean tossed the towel back at his brother, an irritated look on his face. “Let's try not to keep score, alright?”

“You can't bring that up every-time you do something stupid.” Sam chuckled and flopped onto the couch. “I mean we could go back and forth all night, dude.”

“I'm going to bed now,” the brunette shook her head as she rolled over in her bed. She was used to their back and forth banter by now. It was nice being away from the strange language of the scoobies, where everything ended in y.

After they finished saying “goodnight” Dawn drifted swiftly into sleep. Even though she was healing relatively fast, the previous days activities had certainly exhausted her. Normally Dawn would have struggled to fall asleep, her mind would have reeled through everything that had happened. The thoughts plaguing her would not be about the demon they were chasing, monsters were something she was accustomed to. She would be much more preoccupied with the most recent development between her and Dean. Now, that was truly something to be concerned about. She also had Spike to worry about. She had promised him that she would come see him. It felt like she was torn between two best friends, at the same time torn between her past and her future. She realized that turning her back on “the boys” would risk everything and she realized it would probably shatter whatever had happened between her and Dean. So she made the decision to stay, even though the phone call to Spike was going to be more than challenging.

Dean on the other hand, was having trouble sleeping. It was highly unusual for Dean to lay awake at night because of “emotional” problems, certainly not over a woman. He had not been much for serious relationships and even when he had, it was much different. With Lisa he knew it was doomed from the start, she lived a normal life and Dean didn't. It was evident from the very beginning that things could not last, no matter how desperately he wanted them to. Dean was not made for the cookie cutter, “apple pie” life, and no matter what, that would separate him from any “normal” relationship. It made it easier to let go, because reality told him it could not work, but Dawn was different. Dawn was different because she was not normal, she belonged in his world. She was not afraid of the things that go bump in the night, she hunted them just like he did. They both lived in the same world, because they were the same. He didn't have to fear for her life constantly, she was more than capable of taking care of herself. Dawn had grown up in this world, she didn't know anything else, she had never even been close to normalcy. She was even more wrapped up in the supernatural because she was apart of it, she was “the key”. Before she had been placed inside her human form, she was basically a ball of green energy that was almost as old as the earth itself. Dean realized that with her, he stood a chance of actually having something real, and that petrified him. He had a rather capable talent for screwing things up, especially when he really wanted them to work out.



***



“Wake up!” Dawn woke to the feeling of someone shaking her to consciousness. She peeled her tired eyes open to find Sam kneeling above her, worry written across his features.

“What's wrong?” She yawned and tried to force herself awake. There was nothing worse than being woken abruptly to the sound of a panicked voice in your ear. Although, truthfully it was not an unusual wake up call for her.

“It's Dean,” he answered. “He's gone!”

“Oh not again!” Dawn jumped up quickly and climbed out of bed. “What is it with you two? You get captured more than I do, I mean seriously, who is the girl here?” She tossed her arms into the air dramatically. Dawn hastily rummaged through her clothing until she found suitable hunting clothes, she tossed them onto her bed.

“I think it was Ruby.” Sam turned around quickly so that his back was to Dawn, allowing her to change her clothes.

“Of course it was Ruby!” Dawn growled, her voice oozing with sarcasm and dramatics. She began undressing as fast as she could and then dressed herself in black leggings and a simple black tank top. She grabbed her black boots, they were somewhat cute but were not designed for style. There was steel in the toe of the boots that made for a fantastically effective kick. “You can turn around,” she ordered and Sam complied. “So do we have any idea were to go?” She ran her fingers through her long dark hair and pulled it up into a tight high-pony-tale.

“No, but Cas might,” Sam suggested.

“Hello,” Castiel announced his sudden presence as he appeared in the room.

“Holy shit!” Dawn shouted grabbing her chest. “One of these times Cas, you are going to give me a heart attack!”

“Sorry, but it's the fastest way here.” Castiel stood in front of them wearing his usual long tan coat.

“Well you can say that at my funeral,” Dawn stood up and walked towards her weapons chest.

“Cas, we need your help,” Sam interjected. “Dean is missing and we think Ruby took him.”

“Well I'll need a few things,” his tone made it clear that he was leading up to something. “But if I just had a few drops of blood from the Key than I wouldn't need anything else, it would be much more proficient for our time constraint.”

“Of course,” she snorted.

The frail girl spun around and walked towards Castiel. She was finished getting together her weapons, so she tossed Sam his weapons belt. The angel grabbed a bowl from the table next to him and held it out in front of her. Dawn grabbed a small dagger from her boot and sliced her hand allowing the deep crimson colored blood to drip down into the bowl. When she was sure there was enough she grabbed a bandage that was also on the table and wrapped her hand as best she could with little time. She then wiped her blade on a towel and slid it back into its place in her boot. As Castiel worked on his spell, Sam and Dawn continued getting ready.

“You should take the gun,” Sam held out the weapon they had made the previous day. “It belongs to you,” he nodded.

“Thanks,” her full lips came to a fake smile. Dawn grabbed the gun and placed it in the thigh holster she was wearing.

“Found them!” Castiel declared from the other end of the hotel room.

“Let's go kick that bitches ass,” Dawn narrowed her eyes into dangerous slits.

In an instant Castiel was standing in between them his hands on both of them. The next site proved that Cas had teleported them to their destination before they could object.

“How about a warning next time you use your angel powers?” Dawn hissed.

“Where the hell are we?” Sam looked around the room, trying to get a grip on their location.

“I believe it is...I'm not sure but it seems like a house.” Castiel began walking into the seemingly nice house.

“Where are they?” Sam jerked his head around the room making sure they were not being watched. He knew from experience that things were not always as they seemed.

“Basement,” Dawn nodded assuredly. “It's always the basement,” she shrugged.

“I think she is right,” the angel peered over his shoulder to look at Sam.

“Basement it is,” Sam replied.

Castiel led the way down the long hallway and the other two followed. Dawn was pleased to notice that is was not the usual broken down, stench filled building. The scent of decay that was normally in the air made for a more uncomfortable situation than usual. Also the more Dawn used her Key powers the more they developed, and as of recently she had heightened senses. Whenever there was a powerful scent in the area it made it harder to focus.

“Looking for someone?” A dark haired man stood at the end of the hallway with a crooked smile on his menacing features.

“It's a demon,” Castiel growled. “You guys go ahead I'll take care of this.” The moment he spoke three more men walked into the room.

“But Cas-” Dawn whispered.

“Go!” He shouted over her before she could put up much of a fight. When Castiel wanted to be he was quite convincing, and extremely frightening.

Dawn did as he said and made her away across the room to where she the basement door was. Something told her where to go, something drew her towards the narrow door across from them. Sam followed behind her relying on her intuition, he had already found it to be trustworthy. Dawn reached for the door handle only to find that it was locked. Sam grabbed her arm and moved her aside, he bashed his shoulder against the door shattered the small wooden frame. They both hurried down the steps hearing Castiel fighting behind them. Dawn had faith in his ability to defend himself, she knew Castiel was safer than they were without him by their side. She was almost disappointed she didn't get a chance to watch Cas in action.

The basement proved to be much more dismal and odor filled than the rest of the house. Dawn shivered at the site of a gruesome looking spider crawling beside her head. She scurried quickly down the steps to find exactly what she expected. Dean was tied up to a large board with his arms behind his back, his face was bloodied and had clearly been beaten. Dawn grew instantly angry when she saw how Ruby had taken to treating him, she swore the bitch would pay for that. Ruby stood with a smug grin that Dawn wanted to smack clean off her obnoxiously pretty face.

“Hey blondie,” Dawn narrowed her eyes into hard thin lines, giving a fierce look that only she was capable of.

“Dawn? Sam?” Dean sounded weak as he peeled his sore eyes open to see his rescuers. Of course Dean knew they would find him, they always found each other. Always. They were family.

“Don't worry Dean were gonna get you outta here,” Sam promised. He felt an intense urgency, all he wanted to do was leap across the room for his brother.

“You sure about that Sammie?” Ruby raised one eyebrow, her high pitched voice was smooth and self-assured.

Dean had always been suspicious of Ruby, he knew never to trust the likes of a demon. No good ever came from ties between demons and hunters, there was a line drawn between them that Dean only saw trouble in crossing. Maybe it was just his old school mentality that made him so closed-minded, but mostly he knew it was from experience.

“Never trust a Witch,” Dawn shook her head. She was trying to control her anger, if she harnessed it properly she could use it to her advantage, if she let it get away from her it would only hinder her.

Since Dawn had been introduced to the Winchester brothers she had laid an irrational claim over them as the only woman in their lives that they could rely on. When she first laid eyes on Ruby she instantly felt that there was absolutely no reason to trust her, and she wanted her demon ass far away from her boys. She had made her feelings towards Ruby very clear, and although Sam promised her Ruby would not betray them, Dawn was not convinced. Ruby being a Witch in her human life made Dawn all the more skeptical towards her. Not that she was judgmental towards Witches by any means, but something about the connection between that and her deal with a demon certainly made her look suspicious. From her own personal experience the magic Witches carried came from a dark place and was intensely hard to grasp a firm control on. Even the strongest and purest of people had a hard time keeping their magic from drifting to darkness. She had witnessed Willow fail many times before, sometimes power was hard to control. She realized any kind of power was easy to fall victim too, it was part of why she wanted to distance herself form her Key powers.

“Just because you are the Key doesn't mean everyone is afraid of you.” Ruby sniggered and shot Dawn a contemptuous glare. Ruby was confident in her own personal power, she had little fear towards what she concluded to be a little girl dressed like a hunter.

“I predate you and most of your friends, maybe you should be afraid of me?” Dawn took a few slow steps towards the blond demon.

“Maybe it is three against one, but I can promise one of you isn't going to make it out alive.” Ruby practically sang the words with a dicey edge to them. “It's nice to see you again, Sam,” Ruby grinned flirtatiously averting her attention from Dawn to Sam. Sam gave her a compelling glare that was filled with hatred and disgust.

“Enough small talk,” Dawn charged towards Ruby, it was now or never.

Once the fighting began it all happened frighteningly fast, it was not trapped in slow motion like some presumptuous books might tell you. There was little time to react and even less time to catch sight of what your opponent was doing. Not only that but the adrenaline coursing through your veins caused a lapse with time and an inability to clearly remember what had just occurred even moments ago. A true fight was all about letting go of what was past and trusting your senses.

Dawn spun around with force, colliding her steel toed boot to the center of Ruby’s stomach. The demon slammed against the cold hard cement with a dreadful smacking sound. The blond quickly recovered and jumped to her feet with ease. Before Dawn could dodge her oncoming fists Ruby settled a punch square to her face. Dawns head wavered backwards, the taste of the blood in her mouth only infuriated her. In reaction the brunette crouched down to the floor and swiped her leg underneath where Ruby was standing, knocking her to the ground with another lovely smacking sound.

As Dawn held Ruby off, Sam made his way to Deans side to cut him free of his ropes. Sam looked Dean over realizing that his wounds were superficial, he was going to be just fine. They felt completely helpless as they watched Ruby kick Dawn in the chest sending her flying across the room and hitting the cement wall. As Dawn was pulling herself from the ground, Ruby swiftly reached for a knife that was sheathed at her hip. She cocked her hand back and flung the knife, sending it spiraling towards Dawn. Dean bolted towards the path of the knife flinging himself through the air. He was just in time to catch the knife in his chest and fall to the ground in between the cat-fight.

“Dean!” Dawn and Sam shouted simultaneously.

Dawn rose to her feet and pulled the gun from its holster, she pointed it at the blonde demon. Her face was hot with fury as she clenched her jaw tight aiming her weapon for the killer in front of her.

“The Lux?!” Ruby’s face was blanketed in complete terror, her eyes widened. She had never seen a true Lux before, she had believed it to be a myth.

Dawn pulled the trigger and the bullet whizzed across the room to meet its destination. She did not hesitate, she did not make a finale sarcastic remark, she just fired away. As the bullet hit Ruby it burst through her with a blinding light and then the light exploded though her entire body, enveloping the room. This light only momentarily blinded the onlookers and when it was finished Ruby was no longer there.

Sam and Dawn both rushed to Deans side without hesitation. The knife was still sticking out of his chest and Dean was gasping for air, although he was still alert. They didn't have much time and it was obvious, they were losing him.

“Sam what do we do?” Dawns blue eyes filled with tears. She felt instantly like the world would stop, like everything around her was a haze and reality had disappeared. If she lost Dean, if he died saving her life, there would be no coming back from that. Sam and Dawn would both stop living, they couldn't survive without him. It was almost like they were three parts to a really messed up whole.

“Castiel!!” Sam hollered with a shaky voice.

“I am here,” Castiel came running down the stairs. “Dean?” His eyes turned deep with shock. He quickly rushed to the group and knelt down next to them his face twisted in terror. “How did this happen?”

“He jumped in front of the knife to save Dawn.” Sam held his brother in his arms. He held onto a vain hope they would save him, because they simply had to.

“Cas, my blood!” Dawn felt her heart leap in her chest at the sudden realization that she might be able to save him. “Will my blood work?” She spoke with an intentional urgency.

“The ramifications are unpredictable, I have no idea what kind of portals it would open or what sort of problems it would cause in the future.”

“Will it save him!?” Dawn shouted, tears streaming down her face now. If he told her 'no' she wouldn't be able to hear it.

“Yes, it should,” he replied earnestly.

“Come on Cas,” Sam begged. “This is Dean were talking about.”

“It could kill you,” the angel explained looking Dawn directly in her crystal blue eyes.

“Do it!” Dawn ordered decisively. Her stern expression told him that she was not going to listen to anyone’s objections.

“Hold out your arms,” Castiel grabbed Dawns knife from her boot without asking. Dawn offered her arms out sacrificially. He met her eyes with his own and gave her a warning look, she knew what it meant. Dawn bit her bottom lip to prepare for the pain she had already endured once before. Castiel sliced down her already present scars in multiple aggressive swipes, which were much different than before. The blood splashed around them in the circle they were unwittingly forming around Dean. Dawn could hear Castiel reciting words in another language but she was losing consciousness and could no longer understand him. She felt herself screaming but she could not hear the sound as she tried to remain as still as possible. And then it felt like the very air inside of her was being ripped from her body, which was hanging by a mere thread. Dawn could feel her self slipping away and she could feel the powerful magic coursing through her body and enveloping her. There were so many other things that she was feeling that were foreign to her and were completely unexplainable. She fought to stay conscious as long as she could but soon enough she slipped away from reality.



***



When she finally woke her eyes were met with an astonishing and unexpected site. Her vision was overloaded with the presence of an unearthly blonde with unnaturally high cheekbones. Spike was sitting on her bed, looking down at her with a pained look on his pale features. Before Dawn could open her mouth to speak she felt pain crushing her down against the bed. She started coughing which only made the hurt all the more agonizing.

“Easy, Nibblet.” Spike handed her a glass of water and she complied as best she could drinking it down.

“Spike?” Dawn wrinkled her forehead. “Why-” was the only word she could assemble the strength for. Her thoughts were still working on catching up with her.

“I called, and the tall one told me you were hurt, you've been unconscious for a couple of days.” The sound of his familiar accent brought her a strange sense of comfort. “Which made it obvious to me that the prophecy had come true.”

“That was why you wanted me to come home? You knew I was going to get hurt?” Dawn asked. Her voice was raspy and alien sounding, even to her.

“Yes, but I thought you would come home before that.” Spike was clearly annoyed.

“Wait-Dean!?” Dawn sat up in an instant panic. She was still having trouble getting touch with reality, but the second she remembered Dean she felt the terror rise inside of her. There was an aching in her gut when she remembered what had happened.

“He is alive,” Spike said pushing her back down onto the bed gently.

“Oh thank God!” Her eyes swelled with tears which she refused to let fall. She rubbed her tired eyes and let out a sigh of relief. She felt the sickness inside of her fall away in an instant, everything was all right because he was alive.

“You risked your life for them twice now Dawn.” The vampires' tone reminded her why so many people were afraid of him. “I outta kill them both and take you home with me,” he snarled.

“Spike, he almost died saving my life- I had to,” her blue eyes were staring him down. He remembered that stare, remembered how no one could make you feel such emotion just by a simple look.

“So come home now, Nibblet,” he pleaded.

“I can't-”

“I don't buy that,” Spike raised one scarred eyebrow.

“They are family to me, I love them,” Dawn winced as another pain shot through her body.

“And I'm not?” His voice was uncharacteristically gloomy.

“I might be in love-” She squeezed her eyes shut in fear of his reaction.

“And the truth comes out.”

“I didn't know how to tell you,” she shrugged. Spike was the one person from her past whose opinion she still valued. It mattered to her what he thought of her significant other and she realized that Dean was not his favorite person at the moment.

“It's the short one, isn't it? The wanker with the attitude problem?” Spike scoffed. He knew her well enough to know what her taste in the opposite sex was. She had a thing for the criminally sarcastic, and often crude personality types.

“Yah, that's Dean,” Dawn couldn't help but chuckle. “And he's not actually short,” she corrected narrowing her eyes.

“Yah, well next to that Sasquatch brother of his, anyone would look short.” Spike held back a snicker.

“You're such a jerk,” she chided, a smile playing at the corners of her lips.

“I know,” the blonde smiled. “I guess I should be headed back to the hotel before sunrise.” Of course she couldn't forget the vampire limitations, if he didn't head out before sunrise he would be stuck there. Lately she was used to being around humans rather than vampires. In fact she was much less human than her usual company was now.

“Promise you'll call?” Her voice was soaked with an obvious sincerity.

“Of course, Little Bit,” he assured her. “Maybe you'll let me visit from time to time?”

“I would like that a lot,” her lips parted into a bright smile. “Wait- Didn't you have something important to tell me?” Dawn asked suddenly remembering their earlier phone conversation.

“Uh-” Spike looked suddenly nervous. “No, it's not important now.”

“Oh...okay,” she furrowed here eyebrows- slightly perplexed.

“Bye, Love.” Spike leaned in and placed an affectionate kiss on her forehead. As he turned around to leave the hotel room the door swung open, followed by the Winchester brothers. Spike barely acknowledged them as he shut the door behind him. The fact that they had put her life in danger, in his eyes made them worth very little. He saw her as needing to be protected, while they knew better, Dawn was far from helpless.

“You’re awake!” Sam was carrying a a few bags of groceries in his hand as he entered the room.

“Barely,” she said playfully.

Dean reached into one of the grocery bags and pulled out two bottles of beer. He cracked a bottle open on the edge of the table and it popped off with a fizzing sound. He handed the open bottle to Sam and then did the same with a second bottle for himself.

“You had us worried,” Dean walked over to her and sat down on the edge of the bed. The motion of him sitting on the bed sent a pain through her. This healing process was not going to be an easy one.

“Don't even get me started on worrying,” Dawn glowered at him. “If you hadn't gone all heroic on me and gotten yourself stabbed than I wouldn't have had to lose half of my body mass in blood.” Dawn cringed at the memory of nearly losing Dean, of looking at his near lifeless body in Sams' arms. She had been through seeing the ones she cared about hurt and she had even lost her sister before, but something about this was different. For once in her life she had the power to change the fate of the person she was losing. Even though she could have died and the world could have been ripped into another dimension-none of that mattered.

“Well I didn't risk my life for you so that you could nearly die yourself,” Dean retorted and brought his beer bottle to his lips, tipping it back.

“Cas, did go pretty psycho on her with that knife, it looked a little like a slasher movie.” Sam flopped onto the other bed and looked over at Dawn with concern. She was healing but they were still worried about her, losing that much blood would have killed most people.

“Thanks for the reminder, Sammie,” Dawns features twisted into a disgusted expression. Remembering Castiel slicing at her arms vigorously, made her feel a bit queasy. The smell of blood would forever bring back the harsh memory. “I think Cas enjoyed it a bit too much. He kinda looked like the cookie monster going all crazy on my arms,” the three of them chuckled in unison. She knew Castiel did not enjoy it, even in the least bit, but she joked about it nonetheless. The thought made her peer down at her arms which were cleaned and covered in white bandages. “And it seems like you came out of it pretty well,” she said gesturing to Dean.

“Completely healed actually,” Dean nodded sheepishly. He felt incredibly guilty seeing her so hurt because of saving his life, even though he had done the same thing for her. “Thanks to you.”

“Well, thank you for saving my life in the first place.” Her lips hooked into a smile so fragile, it appeared as if it would shatter.

“Anytime,” Dean shot her a playful smirk.

“Are you guys at all concerned with the potential trouble our little fun filled night might have caused?” Sam's voice bore a grave undertone, although he was not anymore worried now than he usually was.

“What do you mean?” The tenacious brunette quickly turned her head and gave a questioning look. No one had exactly filled her in on the ramifications just yet, mostly because she had been unconscious.

“Cas told us that we might still have some problems to deal with in the future. We can't be sure what happened when he used your blood to save Deans life, but it was powerful magic.” Sam took a relaxed gulp from his beer. He spoke as if he were reciting a list of potential movies playing that night, not the potential end of the world.

“Of course, nothing comes free,” Dawn sighed. She was used to having to pay a price for everything, she had learned that lesson from being with the Scoobies. It seemed everything they did came at some kind of a cost, some much greater than others. She was prepared to pay whatever price she had to, to protect the people she cared about, they would do the same for her.

“Oh well,” Dean shrugged his broad shoulders. “If we've got ourselves into trouble, that means it must be Tuesday.”
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