Title: Christmas ShoppingAuthor: ArjenLength: About 41.000 wordsSummary: The Christmas break has started, and while Dawn goes to LA to do some shopping things keep happening in Sunnydale as well.
Pairings: Nothing that isn’t canon.Rating: This story might not be suitable for young children.
The Day After
Dark, Darker, …
Unforeseen Consequences: Heart of Darkness
Unforeseen Consequences: RevelationsDisclaimer: All characters and other recognizable things are property of Mutant Enemy, ADV films and whoever else wants to lay claim to them. Everything that I thought up is made using their property so I can’t really claim that either.Feedback: Preferably constructive criticism, tell me what I’ve done right and wrong and I’ll be happy. Flames I consider as written by five years old who according to that ridiculous rating system aren’t allowed to read this.I want to thank Era for his hard work, acting as my beta. Without him this story wouldn’t have been nearly as good as it is now.Background: Dawn was created early and the monks weren’t stupid enough to lead Glory directly to her. During Halloween ‘97 she was possessed by Kirika from Noir. Afterwards she retained the memories of this assassin and had gained knowledge of the supernatural. All this came at a price though, as she lacks the assassin’s control, and the only thing keeping her sane is the watch that came with the outfit. A watch that had been turned real during a strange dream.~~~~~~~~~~~~ indicates a change of POV Chapter 1
Freedom. Finally, she could enjoy some freedom. No mother demanding that she followed the rules of her grounding, no teachers to tell her she couldn’t leave until her detention was finished, nothing but blessed freedom.
Dawn smiled as she shifted a little in her seat; she had managed to convince everyone that it would be best if she went to see her father during the first couple of days of Christmas break. Hah, she had even managed to arrange it so that she could leave immediately after her last class. No detention on the last day of the year for her. Of course, the groveling that she’d needed to do wasn’t something she liked, but, when it was necessary, she was more than capable of acting like the innocent little girl people thought she was.
Oh yes, she had been the perfect student during the past month, no fights, paying attention in class, listening to the teachers, everything. Hell, she even did her homework on time. As a consequence her grades had gone up, and she was pretty sure that, if it hadn’t been for the fact that the bullies in the school still walked clear of her, the teachers would have started doubting the unfortunate incident had actually taken place.
Only her mother couldn’t be fooled by her behavior, except during that brief time with Ted. Thinking about that robot put a damper on her mood though. Sure, the guy had seemed nice at first, and as he had come into their lives so soon after the whole Teraka deal, it meant he was a useful distraction for Buffy. Add to that the fact that he’d managed to get her mother to ease up on the whole grounding thing, and it became obvious he had been very welcome.
Of course he had seemed far too intelligent for her taste. Not that she had something against intelligent people; she just couldn’t use one as a father while she still lived at home. He had even been suspicious about how much she had known about computers! And that wasn’t exactly that impressive, it wasn’t as if she even had a clue about the conversations he had with Willow.
On the other hand, Dawn did know of herself that she was more than capable of hacking into some secure systems. After all, if you can find one of the best assassins in the world some normal hacking is barely a challenge. But that wasn’t something other people were aware of.
Looking around the bus she noticed there wasn’t anyone near her so she opened the window for some fresh air. Well, as fresh as the air could get on a highway. With the cold wind running through her hair she thought about the part of the whole robot thing. Those damn cookies and other foods of his had affected her.
She, the best assassin on this entire planet, had been beaten by a couple of drugged cookies and mini-pizzas. And because of that she had been so close to spilling her secrets to the creature. In fact, if Buffy had taken any longer in killing him everyone would have known what she was, what she’d done, and what she was still planning to do.
Dawn could just imagine how the conversation with her mother would have gone. ‘Hi mom, I know I haven’t told you this before, but I’m really an assassin. I’ve only killed two people so far—three if you count the little boy, and have only used a knife. But Mireille always said that’s a little messy, so would you mind to go and buy a gun for me? I can pay for it, I took the money from one of my targets.’ And then her mother would reply. ‘Sure honey which kind do you want? Just remember you can’t go out and kill anyone while you’re still grounded.’
Oh yeah, that would have been a wonderful conversation, and for once she was really grateful for her sister’s temper. When she had no longer been on a diet of Ted-specials Dawn had regained control of her own mind, or was it minds? Anyway, once that had happened she had almost wished that Buffy hadn’t killed him, because that would mean she’d have the chance to do so. Not that she knew how to kill a robot using only a couple of knives, but the attempt sure would have felt good.
Of course, that entire situation had also proven to her how the others thought about killing humans. She was now certain that none of them, with the possible exception of Cordelia, would in any way react well to the fact that she was an assassin. But despite that, she still wished she had been home when the bastard had returned. He dared to threaten her family. And nobody who threatened those she cares about was allowed to live.
It took her a moment to identify the feeling, but the sudden pain came from her right hand. Lifting it up she was surprised to see her hand trying to crush the watch. Which reminded her of the other thing that had messed up her life these past weeks. It had to be magic—someone was using magic on her while she slept and she had no idea who it was.
She really wanted to find out who it was that sent her to those different worlds. Some of them she actually recognized—from TV or books and stuff like that—while others she had no idea about. But what those worlds were didn’t matter.
The fact that someone was sending her there, for whatever reason, was what mattered. And nobody, nobody, used magic on her without permission, not even if it meant she now had a fully functioning watch. Remembering the watch brought back the pain as well and she lessened her death grip on it. But even putting the watch back in her packet didn’t lessen the memories of those strange worlds.
She had no idea what to do about the dreams, she couldn’t tell anyone without having to spill about who she was as well. But they came almost every night now, and they were far too real for her taste. After all, Dawn reasoned, usually when dreams end you don’t wake up carrying the scars of whatever fight you’ve been dreaming about. Especially not when the cursed dream took place in the future. What use could scars have if they belonged to fights that happen twenty years after she woke up? It was just too complicated for her.
Taking a swig from her water bottle she kept the cool liquid in her mouth for a moment before swallowing. On the other hand, some of those dreams were very nice. She couldn’t contain the smile that crept up her face as she remembered some of them. The only ones she was certain were magically induced were those that left evidence, but she hoped that some of the others were real as well. At least she considered them to be since they were nice. Very nice.
Her favorite dream involved Xander, naturally, and had nothing to do with any shooting, stabbing or other fighting. It was a beautiful dream of their wedding. She could remember walking up the aisle to join her future husband at the altar. And there was nobody who tried to ruin that perfect moment, nobody who wanted to kill either of them. Just them, the priest and all the wedding guests. She sighed in happiness as she thought about it. That was exactly the way she would want her wedding to be.
Calm where it came to being attacked, but busy where it came to partying. After all, after the wedding itself there was the usual party where everyone would congratulate them and stuff. And after that... Even with the way her cheeks felt as if they were on fire, Dawn could feel the smile on her face widening as she was thinking about the wedding night that had come next in the dream. A wedding night that had shown her more than any sex-ed class would ever be able to.
Now that had been something she really wanted to do again. The smile slipped a little as she looked in the barely reflecting glass next to her. Well, she’d do it again once she’d grown up a little. She might be able kill people in her current young body, but certain other activities just weren’t really possible with the body of a twelve-year-old.
* * *
“Daddy!” She shouted as she exited the bus and spotted her father. Dawn ignored the looks of her fellow passengers—who had also bugged her about the open window, as if it was actually possible for it to be cold in California—and ran to him.
“Dawn. It’s good to see you.” If she hadn’t been able to read his body language she might have actually believed him. But, while hugging her father in something close to despair, she finally realized that the gap between them had just grown too large. They had barely spoken since she had moved to Sunnydale and it was obvious her father was no longer used to having a little kid around.
Whining about it wouldn’t help though, so she just pretended not to notice. It wasn’t as if she didn’t pretend on a daily basis anyway. She was disappointed however, and for a moment she considered fleeing into the emotionless state, but, despite the security blanket it represented, she decided against it.
He might not know her as well as he once did but he would notice if she suddenly turned into a different person. And if he did he might actually tell her mother about it, which would bring all sort of badness down on her. She had ended the year with being grounded and she had no intention of starting the next in the same manner.
“I’m happy to be here too.” And technically that wasn’t a lie. The reason might not be that she once again had the chance to spend time with her father, but she was still happy to be in the City of Angels.
“Wonderful, have you got everything? Good, let’s go then.” And with that short statement her father started to lead her to where his car was. Walking a little behind him she studied the way his body moved—it was amazing how much people actually said without using their mouths. Her father wasn’t happy, but that she part had already figured out. With an impending feeling of doom she started to realize however, that maybe it wasn’t just because her arrival had messed up his plans.
He wasn’t happy with her, whether it had to do with the scene at the bus stop, or if it was because of her grounding, she didn’t know. But his unhappiness had to do with her. He might not be as important to her as he once was, but she wasn’t looking forward to the lecture he was undoubtedly saving for when they weren’t in public anymore.
Feeling the uncontrollable hatred starting to rise inside her, she quickly grabbed hold of the watch. Calming down wasn’t that hard, but did make her realize that lacking emotions might be a good thing right now after all. Her father might notice there was something strange about her, but at least she wouldn’t hurt him. And hurting members of her family would really be crossing the line. Wouldn’t it? She shook the thought of, morbid thoughts like that weren’t something she wanted to contemplate right now.
While her father loaded her bags into the car she stared at what little she could see of the city. She was here for one reason, and one reason only—to finally get her hands on a gun. Then she’d have a way to deal with people like Ethan in a way that wouldn’t risk a repeat of how he had died. And she would have been able to deal with Ted as well. No matter how many redundant systems the robot had, some well-placed bullets in its brain would have taken care of it.
* * *
“Dawn.” Ah, immediately after getting into the car. She had hoped that he’d wait until they had arrived, but unfortunately the lecture was going to happen immediately. “I’m really disappointed in you.”
Oh great, that was how he’d started before they sent Buffy to the nuthouse; she’d better not let anything slip about the supernatural, or she’d be visiting there as well. “Daddy?” If you’ve got nothing to lose, try the teary eyed and innocent, yet hurt, look.
“Don’t try that Dawn, you know damn well what I’m talking about.” Not fair! That look had worked all her life! “I understand that you probably look up to your sister, but there are some things that you don’t need to copy from her.”
This was getting better and better, now she was even being accused of trying to emulate Buffy! Didn’t the man understand how only being the blonde’s sister was enough to cripple her social life? If she’d actually try to be like her she wouldn’t even have anything resembling a life. “But daddy, I’m not.”
“You’ve been fighting at school, just like Buffy has been doing. Who knows when you’ll start burning down buildings and using vampires as an excuse,” her father sighed, probably in an attempt to stop himself from shouting, before he continued in a calmer tone of voice. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, you know I love both you and your sister, but I don’t want to see you destroy your life the way she did.”
“But daddy, I was only defending myself.” Okay, she might have gotten carried away a little, but why wouldn’t anyone ever believe that it hadn’t been her fault?
“The boy had to go to the hospital, and what I was told about his wounds didn’t sound like any self-defense I’ve ever heard of. You’re lucky it was your mother who set your punishment, you wouldn’t have gotten off that light with me.”
Alright, that was it. He was starting to go too far, and unless she did something now he would undoubtedly keep harping on it until she’d lose her temper, and do something at least part of her would regret. “DADDY!” Dawn wailed, while allowing tears to stream down her cheeks. No man is able to withstand the tears of a twelve-year-old girl, especially when it’s his own daughter.
“Oh shit,” her father cursed under his breath while the fake tears continued to fall. “I knew I should’ve waited until we were home. No, I should’ve waited until tomorrow, or even Sunday.”
She pretended not to have heard how he cursed himself, she was after all supposed to be immersed in her grief, but she couldn’t just let it go either. “I’m already really sorry about what I did, and my punishment isn’t light. Why do you have to make it even worse?”
Dawn noticed him hitting the steering wheel and couldn’t stop a feeling of satisfaction. Hah! Feel the guilt, sucker! “I’m sorry honey, I didn’t want to start your stay here like this, but I’ve had a bad day and...” She didn’t even listen to the rest of the flimsy excuse, her mission had succeeded and she couldn’t care less about the story he’d concoct to justify his behavior.
While the rest of the trip passed in near silence, her father broke it once, to tell her that he would have to work the next day, so she’d be alone. He hoped she didn’t mind, as she probably already had plans to go shopping anyway, but there hadn’t been anything he could do about it.
She didn’t answer him, instead opting to just sniffle a little more, and enhance the guilt he was undoubtedly feeling, but she was actually happy about it. Tomorrow, this mask of emotions could be dropped, and could go out to find her own kind of people.
David “Dave” Boyd was a man with aspirations. Now, fourteen year old, he might still only be a pickpocket, but he was planning to move up in the world. He had spent the last couple of years getting to know everyone in LA, well, obviously not EVERYONE, but everyone who mattered.
He knew the best fences, he knew where to go for certain information, and he knew where you’d have to go to buy your stuff. And everyone knew Dave; they might not always have a high opinion of him, but he could live with that—as long as they knew who he was. Once he’d achieved the status that was rightfully his, they could always come to apologize.
Of course, so far nobody had actually come to him in order to use his knowledge, but he was certain that anytime now he would have his big break. Until then however, he was still on pickpocket duty. But a man’s got to do, what a man’s got to do.
Walking towards the nearest shopping district he did wish that he could have afforded a warmer jacket. It was getting a little on the chilly side when the wind came from the sea, so, stuffing his hands in his pockets, he hunched up a little. If only he’d spot a good mark soon he might be able to get out of here without wasting too much time in this blasted weather.
And then he saw her. He had no idea what a little girl like that would be doing around here, but he did have a good idea of where she came from. Fine looking clothes, attitude to match, and probably a lot of money. He shook his head, if you took into account her age, which couldn’t be over twelve, thirteen at most, it really was taking candy from a baby. However, if she was foolish enough to come to his turf, instead of staying in her own neighborhood, he wouldn’t pass up on the easy mark. Hah, even if he did she would get mugged within minutes by someone else, so he didn’t even have to feel guilty about robbing a little kid.
He started following her, the current street just wouldn’t do for what was needed. It wasn’t crowded enough to get lost among the other people, but there were still too many people to be able to make a clear run for it. Sooner or later though, she’d make the mistake of walking into the wrong street and he’d have his chance. This was turning out to be a good day after all, an easy mark minutes after he started. Life, as they say, was good.
* * *
What happened? Desperately trying to keep still, Dave tried to reconstruct the last couple of minutes before he found himself in his present position.
He had been following the mark, check. There was no sign he’d been spotted, check. Police hadn’t been near them at all, check. The girl had turned into an empty street that would lead her straight to the turf of the Poison Blades, check.
He should’ve known that might lead to trouble, but he had been certain he’d be able to get her before she was noticed by any of the Blades. So he’d looked her over and spotted the slightly heavier part of her jacket, where she was probably carrying her wallet, check. The backpack was a possible target as well, but he wasn’t sure if he should risk that there.
His mouth dry, but not in any hurry to swallow he remembered what happened next. He’d made his run—it would be a simple shove and run. Shove the little girl to the ground, gently of course, wouldn’t want to hurt her, take her money, and run like hell. Nothing wrong so far. When he had been about to shove her though, the mark had suddenly turned around and, with a move he couldn’t see, she had ensured that he’d been the one doing the falling. That’s what had gone wrong. Unfortunately, looking at the emotionless eyes belonging to the little girl who was now holding a sharp knife to his throat, that hadn’t been where it ended.
Strangely enough, the foremost thought in his mind didn’t come from the part of him that was scared silly. No, the most important thing running through his mind was the desperate wish that nobody would ever find out about the fact that he’d been taken down by a little girl. No matter how good she might be, his reputation would never survive something like that. Well, it was more like he’d never even gain a reputation besides being the one that had been ambushed by a twelve year old girl. And no matter how much he wanted one, that was the wrong reputation.
“Hi, what’s your name?” The chirpy sound didn’t match the eyes at all, but he did recognize the command for what it was.
“D-david.” No, only his mother called him that, before she died. And he wasn’t at all happy with the shaky sound of his voice either, so he tried again. “I mean Dave. My name, that is. I’m Dave.”
Better, but the nervousness was still far too present in his voice. The perky voice spoke up again though, while he couldn’t take his eyes off hers. “Great, Dave it is. Now tell me Dave, were you really going to try to rob an innocent little girl?”
Innocent girl? Had she really managed to get that out of her mouth? There was probably only one way in which she was innocent, and that wasn’t something he had any intention of finding out about. “Ehm, what would you do if I said yes?” See? He hadn’t admitted anything while being threatened. He was the man!
The girl didn’t reply though, and only pushed the cold metal of her knife a little deeper into the flesh of his throat. Okay, that had obviously been the wrong answer, but he wasn’t sure which one he should give. Well, he figured she’d want to hear the truth, but if the truth ended up killing him he wouldn’t be happy. On the other hand, he realized that she wasn’t the kind of person you could lie to and expect to survive. “Yes, I was going to take your money.” His voice squeaked a little, but, as he could feel the blood dribbling down his throat, he felt that this was the kind of situation you’d be allowed to panic.
“Pickpockets these days.” The little girl sighed as she said this, but pulled her knife back a little. Not that he wouldn’t be killed anymore if he so much as moved, but at least he could breathe without having to look like an extra from Highlander. “You’re a little young though, don’t you think kid? What’d they do? Take you from your cradle?”
Kid? Young? Who was she to talk? She was younger than he was, and, while she was far too comfortable with how to use that knife, pride overrode caution. “What the hell? I’m older than you are.”
Although he was still focused on the girl’s eyes he noticed that her lips turned into a smile. However, he also discovered that the smile didn’t reach her eyes. “Ah, so you do have some spirit after all. You know, I really should kill you for trying to steal from me. But maybe you can be of some use to me.”
Kill him? For being a pickpocket? That was rude, he’d never hurt anyone in his entire life and now this girl was thinking about killing him. The waiting expression on her face however, made him remember she had said something else as well. She had offered a way for him to survive. “I can help, I can do anything. Just tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it.” With some exceptions he didn’t dare mention, out of fear that she’d kill him for doing so.
“Good, I hate to leave messy bodies lying around.” Thank you god, Dave prayed. He might not actually be a religious person but in this case he didn’t mind believing in a god, any god actually. “Now that we’ve established the fact that you’ll help me, I’d like you to remember what’ll happen if you try to mess with me, set me up, or do something else that would have unpleasant consequences for you.”
After once more pushing the knife a little into his flesh, she put it away. The meaning of her actions had been clear, if he’d try to pull something the knife would be back, and this time it wouldn’t stop before killing him. Caressing his throat with his hand he felt the stickiness that he should have expected, and when he lifted his hand in front of his face he could see, and smell, the blood on it. Feeling a bit safer he decided to take a small risk. “Before we do something though, would you mind if I cleaned up a little?”
* * *
Now, despite the unfortunate incident, which the girl—Dawn—had promised never to tell anyone about, he had come to realize that it might just be his lucky day after all. From what she had told him, Dawn worked for someone who was new to LA, and she had been sent out to collect supplies. Which was what she had been doing when he had made his move, or tried to make it anyway.
But, after first interrupting her business, he was now actually starting to prove his usefulness to her. And that, he decided, was a good thing. The girl herself was probably one of the most dangerous people he’d ever met, and that was counting some very heavy dudes, but he was more than happy if he’d never have to meet this boss of hers. Who knew what kind of psycho that would be?
“So, where’re we going now?” Dawn asked him.
“Tony. You said you needed weapons and Tony’s the best when it comes to that.”
A thoughtful look crossed her face. “He won’t have any trouble with selling to a twelve year old?” So, she was twelve. He filed that piece of information away, as maybe one day it might prove to be useful.
“Normally he wouldn’t sell it to you, but that’s where I come in.”
“Good, I don’t like it when people are easy about giving away weapons to kids.” Okay, and what was she then? This girl was strange, one moment she’d demand that people sell her guns, and who knows what else she’ll come up with, and the next she appears to be some kind of gun control freak. Could he risk asking her about that? But no, the bitter taste of fear he’d felt when she’d been that close to killing him was enough to dissuade him from that course of action.
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that with Tony. He’s a good guy, I’m sure you wouldn’t even get anything without me vouching for you.” Hah, how ‘bout that? Let’s see how she’ll respond to a comment like that.
But the weird girl simply ignored it and the rest of the walk to Tony was made in silence, something Dave wasn’t happy about, and he cursed his cowardice for preventing him from learning more about Dawn.
* * *
“Tony, my man.” Dave greeted the older man as he approached the van that served as Tony’s primary shop.
“Dave, it’s been a while. Who’s your friend?” was the reply, as Tony nodded his head in the direction of Dawn.
“Ah, that’s Dawn. She wants to buy some weapons, and I thought let’s go to my good...” He trailed off as the other held up his hand.
“Dave, you know I don’t do children. Look at the rules.” Tony told him, while directing Dave’s attention to the note displaying the five rules that went with buying something from him.1. Nobody under the age of sixteen can buy a weapon.
2. Nobody under the age of eighteen can buy a firearm.
3. Everybody who buys a weapon must prove to be able to use it.
4. Payment in cash.
5. If you betray me to the cops, you’ll wish you were dead.
“Tony, she’s not buying it for herself but for her boss. Come on, don’t do this to me.” The pleading note in his voice wasn’t what he had wanted to put in there, but it did make the man reevaluate Dawn.
But he probably only saw the innocent front she projected. “Sorry Dave, but if this boss o’ hers wants something, he’d better come get it himself.”
Dave was about to try another argument when suddenly he felt something fly past his ear and a wooden thunk redirected his attention to the rules. “I don’t really care about those two,” came from behind him as he joined Tony in staring at the knife sticking out of the first two rules.
While the first thing Dave noticed was that this wasn’t the same knife he’d experienced before, all Tony seemed to care about was that someone had used a weapon against him. “How dare you!” And with a movement of his hands, that Dave had seen only once before, he summoned his guards.
Two burly men bore down on the little girl, obviously not feeling like extending any mercy on account of her youth. With a sick feeling of fascination he watched the scene as it unfolded before him. His stomach started rebelling when he heard the first screams, but he controlled it, while never letting his eyes stray from the massacre. Dave had never been into violence, he understood that sometimes there was a reason for it, but he always considered it as a last resort. Unfortunately not everybody thought about it like that.
After a particularly hard scream he looked at the white-faced Tony, who now seemed to understand the situation a little better as well. “I think you’re the only one who can make this stop, Tony.”
“Yeah,” Tony answered. “Yeah, alright. That’s enough. Stop it.”
Strangely enough, it actually seemed to work and Dawn stepped away from the two injured men, while returning her bloody knives to wherever they had come from. Looking into her eyes now, what he saw scared Dave even more than the emotionless orbs from before had.
The girl was bloodied, she hadn’t come out of the fight unscathed, but her eyes. He shuddered, whether in fright or disgust he couldn’t be certain, but the bright look in her eyes showed that she had loved it. And where the emotionless orbs from before had transmitted the message that killing him was something that didn’t matter to her one way or the other, the look in them now clearly expressed which option she preferred.
Only, this time they were focused not on him, but on Tony. “Now, can we do business?”
“Who the fuck are you?” Tony asked in a shocked tone of voice. A shock that Dave could more than understand. While the guards might not have been martial arts wonders, they knew how to fight. And they out massed Dawn by more than enough to offset the knives that had suddenly appeared in her hands.
“I’m Dawn, and I’m here to buy something.” Strange, he could see how putting her hand in her pocket was calming her down. The psycho seemed to fade away a little, and all that remained was the emotionless creature from before. Not that this one was any less dangerous, but still... If he had a choice he’d prefer the one who didn’t care if she killed him to the one who would enjoy it.
“Yeah, I got that part.” Was Tony suicidal or what? That tone of voice couldn’t possibly get anything of a nice reaction from Dawn. “What I wanna know is how the hell you did that. ‘Cause I’ve got a feeling you held back.”
Held back? She massacred them! Turning to the man he almost asked him what that was about, when Dawn surprised him by her answer. “I didn’t want to kill them.”
While he was starting to feel more like a spectator, watching a game where he didn’t understand the rules, Dave considered that comment. She had held back, which implied two things. She was capable of more than she’d shown, and that, despite the fact that she looked like some kind of psycho, she was able to stop herself from doing so.
“Why?” Tony had clearly been thinking about it as well, and had probably come up with some things Dave hadn’t.
“There was no need to.”
“No shit,” Dave muttered under his breath, but his comment was ignored by the other two, causing him to feel even more like a spectator.
The ghost of a smile appeared on the girl’s face after Tony had repeated his question, but she didn’t offer anything more of an explanation. And, after a short staring match, Tony gave up on his attempt to get information this way.
“Fine, we’ll do it your way. What are you looking for?”
Dawn approached the van, and, while tearing her knife from the wooden plank it was embedded in, she started talking. “A set of throwing knives, high quality of course. My boss also needs a small, compact gun. I was thinking something like a Glock 26, or 27.”
“I take it you’ll need bullets for the gun as well?”
“Yes, as well as a threaded barrel and silencer.”
And although Dave still didn’t understand anything about what had actually happened here, the two conducted their business, while ignoring the sound of a couple of hurt guards.
Well, she finally had her gun. And all she had to do to get it was terrify one little boy, beat up two people, and spend practically all the money she had taken from Ethan. And she had come so close to actually killing those people, well at least the two men, the boy hadn’t been in that much danger. His fate had been in his own hands while the other two had made her lose control.
At least Dave and Tony had bought her explanation of why she hadn’t killed the men. It had been just like with Ethan though, once she lost control she had gone straight for the torture method. But why? Mireille might’ve believed Kirika killed messily, but it was always done fairly clean, none of this messing about that seemed to be the norm for her now.
Walking alone through the streets Dawn kept wondering about it, could it have something to do with the Hellmouth? Was it a side effect of the spell? Or was she simply losing her grip on sanity? Was that the price for the abilities she had gained?
Until she could come up with a decent reason for her behavior she might as well accept that one. Was the ability to speak so many languages worth being pushed to the brink of sanity? Was the capability to kill someone with casual ease really that important to her? Did it matter? There was no way to turn it back now, if she had wanted to do that it should have been done immediately after Halloween.
A pang of pain made her grimace for a moment. Despite the fact that Tony’s guards were in far worse shape than she was, she hadn’t come off nearly as lightly as she had made Dave and him believe. Letting them see that would have been a mistake though, right now she couldn’t afford to show any weakness. Doing so would sign her death warrant, and while the lives of others might not be sacred, hers was.
Which was another reason she refused to ask anyone for help. Kirika would die if she did so, and no even the Dawn part of her wanted that to happen. If Kirika left her now, she wouldn’t have anything to fall back on. She wouldn’t be able to deal with the emotions that she knew were still raging through her body. And all that was keeping them at bay right now was the control Kirika exerted, a control that had been present for almost an entire month now.
Everything seemed so much clearer now, she could see better; hear better, and even think better. Had she not been in this state she might not have even noticed the two people who were even now following her. Two people who were obviously anxious to find out where she was going, one out of morbid fascination, and the other for reasons she didn’t know, let alone care about.
Every time she turned a corner she could hear the sudden sound of hurrying feet, one clumsy but extremely cautious, and the other sure but without the amount of fear that Dave still felt. She should have known that, despite everything, he’d try to follow her home. He was afraid of her—a perfectly understandable reaction—but he was still following her; and from the short conversation they had on their way to the weapons dealer she had figured him to be the kind of person who wanted to know everything.
In his eyes she could already see that he’d drawn the same conclusion Sara and Jane had. Multiple personalities in one tiny, but very volatile, packet. He was bright, and curious. A combination that, sooner or later, would undoubtedly lead him into a lot of trouble, unless she ensured it wouldn’t happen.
But was she willing to do that? He had the contacts she would need, but it would be getting more and more difficult for her to hide the truth from him. A friend, could she actually make a new friend? The notion was ridiculous and she wondered if she hadn’t been hit on the head after all. Friends died, maybe not immediately but her one attempt at befriending someone besides Mireille had proven that the blonde had been right about friends. Yet, it was also true that the Dawn part of her needed friends, as was proven by how she reacted to the two she already had.
“Black hands,” Dawn whispered in Japanese, she had black hands and everything she touched would sooner or later die. How it would happen was anyone’s guess, but that it would was certain. Nobody could live for long when they were friends with Noir. Not even family...
Mireille had even killed her sole living relative for her, but if it came to such a sacrifice, could she do the same? Would she be able to kill Buffy or her mother if the need arose? Four minds debated the issue, but no consensus was reached. The part of her that thrived on violence loved the idea, and the part of her that currently ruled didn’t really care one way or another, but if it became necessary wouldn’t hesitate about pulling the trigger.
The kinder Kirika personality saw it as something similar to killing Mireille, impossible to do... unless there was a very good reason. And the Dawn part of her didn’t even have to think about it. Four minds, four different opinions. Yes, why not, only if necessary, and a clear no. How was she supposed to become a stable person if she couldn’t even reach an agreement on such a simple matter?
But it wasn’t a simple matter. By now her feet had brought her to a park and she walked to the pond in order to study her reflection. She had some scrapes and bruises that would need to be cleaned up before she went home, but that wasn’t the thing she was looking at. Like she knew the boy had done earlier, she studied her eyes. The emotionless orbs that had become her main feature over the past month stared back at her, until she allowed the other personalities to take over.
Sadness, lust, and finally an odd mixture of fear and confusion showed in her eyes. No, it was a good thing she didn’t allow emotions to rule her now. The sadness wasn’t that bad, but if she’d start dwelling about every little thing the way she had during her time with Mireille, nothing would get done. Lust wouldn’t have been so bad, if it hadn’t been the lust for revenge, the lust for hurting people, the need for extreme violence. Which only left the other one, the real Dawn. Even thinking that was strange. Was that still the real Dawn? The little girl who had finally cracked after wrestling with her emotions and allowed her to take over? Or was the real Dawn someone else now? Was she the real one? Or was it the weaker her, maybe even the other?
Taking a deep breath she allowed herself to enjoy the smell of the grass and trees, a smell that always reminded her of the Manor. No, she had done the right thing in taking over / allowing herself to be taken over. All of her agreed on that, even if the strange personality wished that it had been her who now ruled this body.
And in debating over what she had become she had also reached another decision, one that might turn out to be just as important. She would talk to Dave, let him in a little, and extend her protection to him. But to do so she first needed to get rid of the other person following her. Violence was always an option, but she doubted he would let her come close enough to inflict any real damage, and she had a feeling that any attempt to use the gun would show that she wasn’t capable of doing so yet. Or at least not with anything approaching competence. So she had to find another way to go about it.
Dawn looked around until she finally spotted what she was looking for. Her current body might be weak, but why should weakness always be considered a flaw? Sometimes it was extremely useful. Kneeling down she took some dirt and spread it over her face and clothes, the cuts and bruises would help but might not be enough by themselves. Besides, something like this couldn’t be overdone. Once her preparations were complete she raised herself to her full height—what little of it there was—and prepared herself for yet another acting performance.
* * *
Crashing out of the bushes near the police officer had been a gamble, but if she hadn’t he might have wondered why he hadn’t seen her before. She ran past him, partly blinded by the fake tears she had once again called upon, until he reached out and grabbed her.
“Hey, little girl. What’s going on?” The calming voice asked her, proving that she had made a good guess where it concerned his personality.
“A man,” she sniffled a little to show even more of the fear she wanted to project. “A man is following me, and I’m scared. Can you help me officer?”
“A man? Can you tell me what he looks like?” The cop had already started to peer around in an obvious attempt to spot the bad man who was following the innocent little girl.
“I-I’m not sure, I never really saw him that good. I think he’s about thirty, has blond hair and is about five foot nine. Oh, and he was coming from there.” While pointing at the alley where she had last noticed her pursuer she hoped she hadn’t ruined everything by the way she had described the man. A terrified little girl wouldn’t be able to give such an accurate description, but luckily the officer hadn’t seemed to notice.
The cop was now looking in the direction she had indicated, while considering his options. “Do you know if he was alone?”
“I-I think so,” Dawn sniffled, before she continued in a more confident tone. “Yes, I’m sure he was.”
“Okay,” the helpful officer told her, once again looking around but this time probably for reinforcement. She hadn’t thought about the possibility that there might be another one around, something that might very well ruin her plan, but she was relieved when he didn’t find anyone and turned back to her. Maybe now he would go after the guy who had been tailing her, but no, he grabbed his radio and spoke to another cop.
The conversation that followed wasn’t what she had wanted to hear, but she should have remembered that outside of Sunnydale there actually existed that rare breed known as competent officers. They wouldn’t let a little girl be alone after she had been stalked by some guy. Now she would probably be taken to a police station where she would be asked some questions, and with her current stroke of luck they’d probably even call her father. The thought of that alone was enough to sour her mood even more.
The officer didn’t seem to notice however, and she made sure to keep up the façade of terrified little girl even after his partner had arrived. At least after that, they managed to get rid of her pursuer, which was at least something, even if it meant she didn’t have a chance to talk to Dave either. Oh well, maybe she’d get that chance tomorrow, or Monday at the latest.
* * *
By the time she was back at her father’s house, her mood had improved again. Despite their annoying competence, the cops hadn’t been too bad. At the station she had received something to drink, had a chance to freshen up, and even change her clothes. The spare clothes she had in her backpack had easily been explained as the result of a shopping spree.
They had even bought her story about why she didn’t want her father contacted, and were more than willing to drive her to within a couple of blocks of his house, instead of to the door. Of course, she hoped for her father’s sake that he’d never meet those cops since they wouldn’t have much of an opinion about him, but that wasn’t her problem.
Now though, it was time for something different. Safely in her room, with the blinds closed and the knowledge that her father wouldn’t be home for several hours she unpacked the weapons she had bought. The gleaming set of knives meant that she could finally be certain that she would hit what she aimed for. And the gun.
She looked at the Glock 26 that she had chosen to be her primary weapon, for the time being. When Tony had told her he had both the 26 and 27 she had to think about which one she preferred. Go for the one that could carry more bullets, or the one with the bigger rounds, making for more stopping power. If she ever went to hunt demons and vampires, the Glock 27 would be more useful because of that particular property. But demons weren’t what she was going to be killing for the time being.
Her sister was the one who took care of those creatures; she would stay focused on the human side of things. Not that it really mattered to her if the targets were innocents or not, but innocents didn’t need to be killed as often as the so-called bad guys. Yes, maybe once she was in better shape she would go and hunt a vampire or two, just to see how she could get rid of them, but until that happened she’d better devote herself to her training.
Having checked everything, she put the weapons back into her backpack, and even added a piece of chalk she had brought for exactly this occasion. Having changed back into the clothes that looked like they had been through a war, Dawn then exited the house. The sewers in Los Angeles might not be as good for target practice as the ones in Paris had been, but for now they would have to do.
Post-fic comments: Sorry for the long wait people, I was kinda busy first with a non-crossover story and then with another one, that isn't finished yet, concerning what might have happened if the events of Dark, Darker,... went a little different. Four more parts to follow after this one, one every two days like usual.