“Do you know what’s up with Dawn?” Jack looked up from the report he was reading over.
“You’ve noticed it also? She’s been quiet and closed off since early yesterday. I don’t know why, and it has me a bit worried.” Daniel stopped correcting his report, replacing the cap on his highlighter.
“Yeah.” They were silent for a moment, before returning to the never ending paperwork that the mountain was built on.
The rap of knuckles on the door drew the men’s attention to the subject of their earlier conversation. “Hi Jack, Daniel. General Hammond said that if it was all right with you that I could leave early today and take tomorrow off.”
Jack watched Dawn shuffle her feet, waiting for an answer. “How are you doing kid?”
“Good, all things considered.” Stated firmly, like she was trying to convince herself.
“Yeah, go on, get out of here kid. Need anything call us, ok?”
“I will Jack. Bye guys.”
Jack gave Dawn a minute to get down the corridor before tossing his file on his desk, and reaching out to where he had thrown his jacket that morning. “Danny, you up for some covert spying on our team member?”
“You read my mind Jack. You’re driving.”
Because Dawn still didn’t have a car, Jack walked behind Dawn keeping a few blocks between them. Periodically calling Daniel in his truck to move in closer to where ever the final destination was for the night. Jack slipped into the shadows next to a dumpster in an alley way in the seedier part of town. Daniel walked into the alley moments after Dawn confidently strode through a door lit by a flickering yellow bulb. They stood inside the door, jack was analyzing exit routes if things turned bad, and Daniel was in awe of the social part of the city that he had been completely unaware of. They claimed a booth in a shadow near the door with a clear view of the bar. They had followed Dawn into the one and only demon bar in town. They couldn’t hear what was being said, but they saw Dawn and the bartender talk for a bit, them she carried a full bottle with a golden liquid and four glasses to a small table in the back. She sat alone, liquor unpoured, for a long enough time that Jack was considering asking if she wanted company when Jenn walked in. Following Jenn was a strawberry blonde, they looked to be about the same age. What really got Jack and Daniel’s attention was the fact that the girls were carrying a sword and a crossbow. Jenn and the blonde went right to Dawn’s table, setting the weaponry down, the four glasses were filled. The unclaimed glass was placed in the middle of the table. They stood with glasses held high, then slammed the whole glass down in one swig.
“It’s like their drinking in honor of someone Jack.”
“Yeah, I’ve done the same thing with some soldiers after a mission. What could have brought three girls to this bar, with weapons like that, and this young already be honoring the dead?”
Watching another piece of the Dawn puzzle form, Jack and Daniel had no idea where it would fit into the final complete picture. They sat for the rest of the evening, silent observers to a memorial. After about half the bottle was consumed a large something stormed up to the girls table, demanding that they move. Dawn looked up from her seat and laughed, heartily. If heard correctly Jenn told the bully to bugger off. The blonde who entered with the crossbow, picked up the sword and sliced off the things hand when it drank out of the glass that had sat, full the whole night, in the middle of the table. That resulted in a fight between all the patrons who didn’t leave when the three sat down to drink. In a confusing matter of minutes the only people left standing were Dawn, Jenn, and the blonde. They returned to their table, as they refilled their glasses Jack dragged Daniel over to the table. Before either could say something, Dawn looked up and pointed to a nearby previously occupied table. “Drag over some chairs and find your self some glasses.”
Having heard this the bartender slowly came from behind the counter carrying two clean glasses. Jenn poured, as the blonde cleaned off the sword.
“Tonight we drink, for those lost or taken from us. In battle or in sickness, we drink to them.” Dawn explained as she carefully replaced the center glass.
“Restart your list Dawn, cause pile of crap interrupted you, k?”
“Okey Dokey. Lost innocence, Mom, Buffy, Tara, nearly Willow, Amanda, Anya, Spike, Cordelia, Fred, and Wesley. There are more.” Dawn swirled the liquid in the glass and silently drank it.
Jack and Daniel sat at the table, with glasses of something they couldn’t identify until the girls decided to leave.
“To home. Lead on Jenn and don’t stop at any cemeteries please.”
Jack sent Daniel head with the keys to start the truck, and when they reached the warmed up vehicle Jack announced, “We’re diving you home, so all of you get in.”
When they pulled into Dawn’s driveway the girls were asleep, Dawn wouldn’t wake enough to walk in, but the others would. The girls made their way into Jenn's room. After pulling off Dawn’s shoes and throwing a blanket over her, Jack and Daniel bedded down in the living room for the night. “Daniel, you asleep yet?”
“We don’t know anything about Dawn.”
“I know. Now go to sleep Jack. No wonder she asked tomorrow off, she’s in for a major hangover.”