Intro and Prologue
Title: A Road Less Traveled
Universes: BtVS and Xmen [movieverse]
Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon; Xmen belongs to Marvel Comics
Rating: mild language, sexual situations, safe for general consumption
Category: Romance. Yes, I know. I never write Romances. Yet here one is, my way.
Summary: A grown-up Dawn Summers can’t escape her past when a magical mishap lands her in the laps of the X-Men.
Notes: Nicola on the Silent Obsession boards bemoaned the lack of Dawn in quality fics. I happen to agree.
Dedication: For Booster, a fan of Dawn and the X-Men. A gift: you consistently give some of the most wonderful feedback, and I think you deserve some thanks. Here you go!
~~~ Prologue ~~~
Dawn Summers was born on her fourteenth birthday, flashing to life in an explosion of teenaged angst and older-sister envy.
She remembers the time before, but knows it isn’t real. In the time after, her mother died, a demented Hell-goddess attempted to bleed her dry and her sister’s leap unraveled Dawn’s faith in the world. In time, Buffy came back. Dawn very nearly became a child bride in hell with a dancing demon, but thankfully he didn’t prosecute shoplifters and left her in relative peace. She was put through her own hell instead, watching her newly made family fall apart.
Dawn moved to Italy and discovered an almost preternatural gift with languages, soon becoming one of the most valuable translators the struggling Watchers could find. She began to think of a future outside of the world according to Buffy. Her linguistic work with the rebuilt Watchers Council was enlightening: there was magic in the world around them, harnessed for spells and incantations, but even the vaunted Council libraries knew only a fraction of the possibilities. Dawn saw the puzzle of plant-based magical substances and explored it with the same dogged fascination she’d shown as a child in hounding Buffy about her various suitors.
Later, she discovered that the magic that Glory had attempted to steal was still there, more or less. Dawn began a formal education in magic after accidentally transporting a slightly-used razor blade and pile of bloody herbs to Devon. While she knew she would never attain the level of immeasurable power that Willow possessed, she was competent, thorough and disciplined. This was the year that mutants first made headlines, their curious traits both fascinating and alarming the public.
Dawn began studying for a degree in pharmacology from the University College of London, paid for in full by the Watcher’s Council. Buffy had decreed that at least one woman in her family was going to have a normal life and shipped Dawn off to college. Eventually, Dawn accepted a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford to study the traditional remedies of the ancient Maya people in Guatemala. After a period of classwork she abandoned the stone buildings of rainy, cold England for the stone buildings of rainy, hot Guatemala and some old fashioned field-work. The day she left, bags in hand, the world was all abuzz with the news of a mutant attack at a conference in New York. She saw the Statue of Liberty swirling with light, nauseated by a niggling sense of familiarity, remembering only when she took her seat how the sky had lit up the night Buffy died for the second time. She spent the flight absently rubbing the scars still etched on her stomach.
When she was twenty six, the rest of her life began in a flash infinitely more dramatic than the one that thrust her into existence in the first place.