Park's Way Center
Destined for Good
part one: Bridges between the World
chapter three: Park’s Way Center =Sunnydale: 1630 Revello Drive <<August twenty-second>>=
At the exact same time the
digits on her clock changed from 23:59 to 00:00, Dawn put her pen down on the first
page of a new diary. It was a tradition for her to begin a new diary the first
minute of her birthday, and the days before her birthdays
she wrote even more than she usually did, so she wouldn’t have to waste any
At four in the morning,
Dawn was still writing (and if Buffy were there, the blonde
would have commented on Dawn’s amazing writing speeds. As it were, Buffy
Summers was asleep in the room next to Dawn’s with Mister Gordo pressed against
her chest and Mister Pointy balancing on its pointy end and making a hole in
the floor, on the place where in her dream one Riley Finn was lying helplessly
on the ground as a stake was twisted into his heart).
Every fifteen minutes or
so, Dawn’s eyes flicked to her clock to see if it was ten
yet. Every fifteen minutes or so, the clock showed Dawn that in these cases,
insomnia didn’t pay.
When Dawn came downstairs,
she was greeted by a chorus of ‘Happy Birthdays’, and couldn’t
help a smile. “Sit down, Birthday girl,” Kris ordered.
Well, it was certainly nice of Kris to come over from Los Angeles. Dawn wondered if the boy standing
next to her was her boyfriend. He did look a little like her, maybe he was a
relative, instead. “C’mon Aury, sit down,” Kris said again.
This time Dawn obeyed, with a smile that said ‘gimme
my pressies’. Of course, that could have been Dawn
herself, and not her smile. Smiles after all, have no vocal cords.
When no presents came her
way in the next minute, Dawn frowned. They were going to sing. Even though Angel
and Cordelia were in LA, Xander and Buffy were not. “Don’t you sing!” she
exclaimed mock outraged.
“Aury, we have to. What kind of party would it be if we didn’t sing?” Kris (whose
hair seemed an inch longer than it had two minutes before) said brightly. To
someone who was as tone-deaf as Kris was, the singing abilities of Buffy and
Xander didn’t matter.
A party where no one lost the ability to hear, Dawn thought, grinning mentally.
“On the table, little Miss
Summers,” Xander said.
Dawn climbed on the table and waited. “Happy birthday to you, happy …”
Just hurry up with the
song, Dawn thought, I want my presents. “… happy birthday to yooou!”
“Not another song,” Dawn
grinned, getting off the table, “but presents, and lots of them.”
Tara and Willow gave her a lot of
book-shaped parcels, which they set down on the armrests. Dawn grabbed one,
tore off the paper and jumped up to hug the two Wiccans. “Thanks, guys!”
The other books were also about Wicca, and after six more hugs, Tara produced another present from a
pocket in her skirt. Dawn opened the box. It was a silver snake, whose head was
a swirling mist. “It’s a mood ring. One that actually works,” Tara smiled.
Dawn slipped it on her finger and thanked the Wiccans again. “How
does it work?”
“Tara found a spell to reflect moods on
gems. We’d already bought the ring, so we did the
spell on the snake’s head. The spell itself is in one of those books,” Willow explained.
The redhead took a book and opened it, then put it in Dawn’s hands. “That’s the
spell we used,” she said, holding her index finger in the middle of the page.
Anya and Xander hadn’t wrapped their gifts; Dawn already knew what they were
because she’d chosen them herself. One was the statue of Ceres that she’d been waiting to get for a few months; two books about
ancient religion, one about the Olympic Gods and one about the Germanic ones;
and a chain with a tusk from a Fotemon on it. “You
could have at least wrapped them,” she said, mock offended.
Dawn looked at her sister.
The blonde was sitting on the floor next to Kris,
looking bored. She kept looking at Riley furiously, as if she wished that he’d be pierced by a dozen hot pokers. Dawn had no problem
with that idea – she’d be honored to do it herself –
so long as Buffy would act normal to her again. Buffy got up and walked to
Dawn took the box Buffy was holding, and opened it. She smiled at the two
roses. Not a birthday present but a peace-offering
then, huh? Dawn reached into the box and pulled out another box, which she
turned over in her hands. She smiled up and her sister, “All’s forgiven and all
that, but I’m not reading it out loud.”
Dawn opened the little box and pulled out a silver chain from which hung a
small wooden stake. “Thanks. Buff.”
She unhooked the chain and put it around her neck.
Kris threw a pouch at her. Dawn
grabbed it out of midair, still admiring the stake. The contents of the pouch
chinked and when she opened it, her mouth fell open. “That’s at least a hundred
Galleons,” Dawn muttered shocked.
Kris and her boyfriend nodded. “Wow, thanks...”
“We plan to take all of you shopping sometime today,” he explained.
Joyce looked at the two on
the floor. “You’re going to…?”
“We’re taking ‘em shopping,” he replied blankly.
“Eh, Christian, you might want to hear what she has to say,” Kris said, with a
hint of nervousness in her voice.
“Where to? The pouch of Galleons doesn’t exactly imply
you’re taking them to the mall in Sunnydale.”
“We were gonna … to LA, the Park’s Way Center …” Christian sputtered, completely
confused – hadn’t Kris said that Joyce was a witch
Joyce smiled and nodded. “I
do hope you were planning to stow them all into Kris’ purple monstr— van. There is no way I am allowing Dawn to get
within six feet of a broom. Imagine the damage she could do.”
The look on Dawn’s face made it crystal clear that she
was, in fact, imagining the damage she could do with a racing broom. “And I
could drop a bomb on Anne’s house …” Dawn opened her eyes and blushed, “you
didn’t hear that,” she grumbled irritably.
Something was tapping
against the window, demanding to be let in. With a
sigh and a flick of her wand, Joyce opened the window. The owl flew in and
landed in front of Dawn, who took the parcel off its leg and opened it. “It’s
from Spike!” she exclaimed happily.
“Read it out loud,” Willow demanded.
Dawn was very sure she just heard Xander mutter that Willow just wanted to hear from someone
who could match her IQ.
“Listen up, then. ‘Dear
Dawn (thought you’d be getting a little old for ‘Bit’, ‘Bitesize’, etc – you
are taller than your sister, after all),” at this comment, Buffy muttered
something under her breath that earned her a sharp look from her mother.
I’d like to wish you not only a happy, but also a very
… boring … birthday. You never know with Sunnyhell. The gift I got from a
Muggle jeweller, but I went to see a wizard expert. He
ensured me there was nothing funny about it. Mind, he was not an expert on
Wiccan magic, so you might want to have Red take a look
at it first. Take care of yourselves, all of you. Spike’.
Sorry, Will, guess there’s not too much techno babble or that stuff only you
Buffy looked at her. “Are you saying you’re not intelligent? Than what am I, what’s Xander? Are we trolls
Dawn frowned. “Was I saying I was not intelligent?” she said, offended.
Xander shrugged, and so did Buffy. “Forget it,” Dawn said eventually, “you can
make it up to me by giving me many more things because I’m the birthday girl.”
Dawn pulled out a small
glass orb, perhaps half an inch in diameter. The deep blue of the orb strongly
reminded Dawn of Spike’s eyes. When she looked into it, it started showing pink
and green flecks. She blinked and looked at the little orb again. It hung from its
soft leather cords, and there were definitely colored flecks in it. “Willow, you really might want to take a
look at this,” Dawn said, holding out the orb to the redhead. Buffy, in the
mean time, dug out a cell phone and dialed Spike’s number.
“Yeah?” Spike sounded very, very bored.
“Your present glowed.”
– no, wait. It stopped, but Willow’s holding it now. What?
Oh.” Buffy turned to the redhead, “Will, give it back to Dawn for a second.”
Willow did, and immediately it started to
show the flecks of light again. “Now it’s glowing again.”
“I’ve no idea, Slayer. You’ll
have to figure it out. But it’s probably just because it’s
“You’re not too concerned, are you? Do you have better
things to do?”
Spike sighed. “No and no. This happens often enough. I wouldn’t
worry. Does it sting, or does it make her feel lightheaded?”
Buffy asked her sister. “In
both cases the answer is ‘no’. Dawn says it feels like she’s holding a tiny
“It’s probably nothing, then.”
“But this is – Spike? It’s impolite to hang up in the
middle of a conversation, ass!”
“Well, are we off to Los Angeles, then?” Christian asked, getting
off the floor.
Joyce looked thoughtful. To what degree was the International Statute of
Secrecy broken in this case? It wasn’t, she thought.
All these people had a right to know. “You can go. Buffy, Dawn neither of you
are to go within six feet of a broom.”
shops!” Joyce added as an afterthought when both her daughters were out the
There was an assorted murmur of agreements and critical retorts as everyone got
into Kris’ van. Anya and Christian were immersed in a
discussion about brooms – Anya failed to see the use, as she dated from before traveling
by broom. “But why use one when you can just Apparate?”
“Apparating is far more
difficult than getting on a broom. And they really are useful for all sorts of
sports,” Christian explained eagerly.
“Don’t listen to the Quidditch freak,” Kris threw over her shoulder. “He thinks
brooms are the best thing ever invented by wizardkind.”
Christian shot her a look. “Pardon me? I may be a professional Quidditch
commentator, miss Raco; and you might be too clumsy to
ever make it on a Quidditch team, but I would like to point out to you that you’re
just as obsessed as I am!”
“I am not clumsy!” Kris
shrieked, turning to face Christian so suddenly she turned the wheel all the
way to the right. With another shriek, she steered the car back on the road.
Christian gave a satisfied smirk. “Aren’t you now?”
“What about Portkeys, are those still in use?” Anya also listed several
location potions, and then muttered something about disuse of the subject of
potions in magical education these days. Most of the way, Anya described the
preparations for the simplest one over the sound of the radio.
“Ahn! None of us even understand you, honey, would you
please…?” Xander asked over his shoulder.
Anya complied, but not without comment.
Park’s Way Center turned out to be a city within a
city. It was well organized: the entire area was surrounded by a park (hence,
the name, she figured), with houses and shops built in rings within the park. Buffy
felt this more as a home than Sunnydale or her old house here in LA (which, she
thought bitterly, was less than half a block away from the entrance to Park’s
Way Center), and her irritation flared again. For nineteen years, her mother,
her father, Giles and Angel had lied to her. The knowledge that her heritage,
her birthright of magic was something none other than Spike had shown her was not
making it any easier.
Buffy knew that her parents
must have had their reasons, even if she did not understand them or even thought she would agree with them. Her mother hadn’t known about her duties as the Slayer although, Buffy
now remembered, she had brushed the myth of the Slayer
off as nothing
more than well, myth. Her mother hadn’t exactly denied
the existence of vampires. However, Giles and Angel may well have put her life
in danger by not telling her about the Wizarding world. Had anyone she’d fought had a wand, it would take nothing more than six
syllables to kill her, quite cleanly. On that thought, she could not think why
Spike hadn’t done that, but he was always one for a
fight. The Killing Curse wouldn’t have been
satisfactory for him, and she was lucky that Angelus had never directly planned
to kill her.
Park’s Way Center was, for her, a fascinating place. In
the time between finding out about this other world that existed next to her
own and today, she had been going through books on the subject, like her little
sister. Like Dawn also, she had tried talking to her mother about the Wizarding
like Dawn, Joyce had talked to her about it. Joyce said that it
was not possible to lose the gift of magic and that, at least until Joyce had
gotten pregnant with Dawn, she had been showing many
signs of magic. After Dawn was born, she showed less and less signs, and in the
year she turned fifteen (and was supposed to have started at New Moon Bay), she had stopped doing so
completely. Then, without any explanation, according to Joyce, there had been
signs again, in early August of this year without any explanation. Her mother
had even mentioned going to see a wandmaker or taking Buffy to Salem’s Institutes for tests.
It was strange, to say the least.
Dawn, unlike her sister,
was not thinking about tests or lies. Dawn’s mind was on the nine hundred
dollars worth of Galleons in her pocket, and on what she could do with all that
money. As she passed wandstores (“Dawn Aurora Summers, you know that you’re not
allowed a wand for another year.”), broom-dealers (“Your mother specifically
said not to let either of you within six feet of a broom.
ice-cream parlor (“Are you insane? We buy our ice cream on the other side of
the street. It’s three Sickles a scoop here.”), and a
Menagerie (“And who’s going to take care of a pet? Your mother doesn’t let
animals into the house.”), she decided she liked Kris a lot better when she wasn’t acting all responsible and grown up.
An hour later, Dawn’s mood
had brightened considerably. Of the one-hundred and twenty-five Galleons Kris
and Christian had given her, she had forty-four left. The rest she’d spent on two pairs of dragon leather boots. The boots
made her sister nearly green with jealousy, and Buffy had dragged Willow with her to Gringotts, to change
the Muggle money Buffy had with her. The rest of them were sitting at the ice
cream parlor that didn’t charge outrageous prices,
waiting for Buffy and Willow to return.
That is to say, they got
ice cream and then
waited for Buffy
and Willow to return. All of them (not
Christian, Anya and Tara so much) had known Buffy for too long to sit at a
table twirling their thumbs and discussing the weather when she was shopping,
while simply waiting for her to return. But it was
fine. Dawn was far too grateful for being back on civil turns with her sister
to comment on her shopping habits. And then, there was
that saying, the pot calling the kettle black. Although, in the tradition of
adapting the saying to the topic, it should be one Summers
calling the other a shop-a-holic.
Dawn grinned broadly and
went back to her ice cream. She hadn’t felt this well
since before May. All in all, her fourteenth birthday
could turn out to be the best one yet.