Meetings and Messages
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: This chapter begins approximately a week and a half after Chapter 10.
CHAPTER ELEVEN – Meetings and Messages
Dawn Summers felt like someone was watching her. She thought to herself, ‘Maybe I’m just being paranoid. Nope. You're only paranoid if you think people are following you and their not.’
A week and a half ago Willow had called letting her know that someone was hacking into files about the Scooby Gang. Willow was a master hacker and witch. It hadn’t been hard to place magical wards on any information about the gang, wards designed to warn them if anyone was looking too closely at them. She’d done that four years ago when they’d faced the Nerd Trio. According to Willow you couldn’t be too careful; the next people to hack information on them might actually be smart.
Dawn took a seat at a small outdoor café near the literature building and scanned her surroundings. At first she didn’t see anyone who didn’t fit in. But then, her gaze was drawn to two men. One of the men seemed to fit the scene perfectly – he screamed professor – young hot professor – but professor nonetheless. It was his companion who didn’t fit. Oh it wasn’t his clothes, they were normal enough – jeans, hiking boots, button down shirt, leather jacket. So, no it wasn’t the clothes. It was the way he stood, the way he took everything in with hawk like eyes and of course his hair cut. He screamed military.
Nope, Dawn decided she definitely wasn’t paranoid. She’d just found the people who were looking into her past. Now she just needed to decide what to do. She wasn’t far from her car. She could probably get there without them stopping her and then she’d go to Angel Investigations.
Angel Investigations. Willow’s instructions to check in there daily, since they’d discovered their snooper, really made her mad. Spitting mad. She didn’t like Angel. She knew it was irrational to dislike him so intensely. But he’d left her sister and maybe if he hadn’t she’d still be there. Nope, she’d go right on disliking him. It didn’t help that Faith was there.
She could just hear him. ‘Faith went to prison. Faith served her time. Faith deserves a second chance.’ Oh yeah, sure she tried to kill Buffy so let’s give her a second chance. She’d seen Faith a few times over the years and she had to admit the woman was fighting the good fight. But that didn’t mean she, Dawn Summers, had to like her.
Dawn didn’t have a choice. She hated that. She was being followed, why she didn’t know, but she’d have to get help from the AI team. God, she hated her life.
They’d finally tracked down Dawn Summers on the UCLA campus. It was amazing what Sam could hack. Just before they left for L.A. she’d given him a copy of Dawn’s class schedule and a copy of her driver’s license picture. It had only been a matter of staking out one of the buildings and waiting.
He watched the tall brown haired young woman walk toward the literature building and tried to see if she resembled Buffy in any way. Physically they couldn’t have looked more different – tall v. petite; brown hair v. golden blonde; blue eyes v. hazel. But there was something. Maybe it was the graceful way each woman walked, or the shape of their face, but if you knew what to look for you could tell they were sisters.
Now they just had to approach the young woman and tell her that her sister was alive. ‘Oh yeah sure you betcha!’ Jack thought ‘that would be as easy as pie.’ Well, she would be freaked at first, but it wasn’t as if they didn’t have proof that Buffy was alive. Thank god for Daniel because Jack never would have thought of making the video.
SG-1 was scheduled to depart Ravenna in approximately one hour and they were approaching the gate. Buffy, Bronwyn, Cerridwyn and several members of the Council of Elders were accompanying them to see them off.
When they neared the gate Buffy handed Jack several pieces of paper. “Jack here’s a list of the names and addresses of my friends. Well, at least where they were five years ago. Also, there’s a letter to Dawn. I thought if…when you find her you could give it to her to prove that I’m okay.”
Jack reached for the papers and put them in the inside pocket of his jacket. Then he heard Daniel clear his throat. “Yes, Daniel?”
“Jack, Buffy – maybe you need something more than a letter. I’ve got my video camera here. Maybe you could record a message and then introduce us. When we go to meet her…well it would be better proof than just a letter that you were okay.”
So here they were on the UCLA campus with the letter and tape.
“What Daniel?” Jack replied startled out of his thoughts.
“Jeez, didn’t mean to startle you. But Dawn’s heading away from the building to the parking lot.”
“What! I thought she had class right now. Well, I guess it’s now or never.”
Jack began to walk quickly with Daniel scrambling to catch up. “Excuse me! Miss Summers! Dawn Summers!”
‘Damn, damn, damn!’ she thought to herself. She wouldn’t be able to make it to her car before they got to her. She rapidly thought about what she should do. ‘It’s broad daylight on the UCLA campus. What can they do?’ Decision made she stood her ground and turned to face the two men who had been following her.
“Can I help you?” she asked in a deceptively sweet voice. They may be bigger than her, but she hadn’t grown up on the hell mouth for nothing. If they did try anything she’d just have to fight dirty to get away. Fighting dirty included the small knife she strapped to her forearm that morning before she left the house. She slung her backpack over straps over both shoulders her hands were free in case they did try to attack her.
Daniel quickly took the lead. He and Jack both knew he was better at first contact, whether the person was human or alien. Jack just tended to piss people off – it was some kind of gift.
Mildly, holding both hands slightly out in front of him to convey he wasn’t a threat Daniel asked, “Are you Dawn Summers?”
“And if I am?”
“Well, I’m Daniel Jackson and this is Jack O’Neill and we’ve been looking for you – to give you a message.” Daniel ran one hand through his hair trying to figure out how to tell the girl who the message was from.
“What message? From who?”
At this Daniel looked to Jack. How did you tell someone you had a message from their sister who’d been missing for five years?
“Maybe we could go back to the café and sit down. It might be easier to hear if you were sitting.”
At this Dawn began to get nervous. “Just tell me who the message is from, then I’ll decide if I’ll sit down with you. I don’t usually make it habit of sitting with people who’ve been following me all day.” Dawn didn’t really know how long they’d been following her but it seemed a good guess, especially from the way they looked at her after she said it.
“Okay, okay kid. I understand. I wouldn’t want to sit with people who’d been following me either.” Jack responded.
“First, don’t call me kid. Second, tell me who the message is from.”
Jack leaned toward Daniel, “Oh they’re definitely related.” He then looked at Dawn with an incredible amount of compassion in his eyes. “The message is from your sister.”
The last statement was not what Dawn had been expecting. “What?”
“Kid…um…Dawn. I know it’s probably going to be hard for you to believe, but we know your sister. She gave us a message for you. Why don’t you come sit down and we can talk about it?”
Dawn was so shocked she didn’t resist as Jack and Daniel gently led her to a table on the edge of the outdoor café. As they set down Jack pulled out an envelope and a portable DVD player.
He opened the player and inserted a small disk. Dawn couldn’t take her eyes off the small screen as it flickered to life.
The first thing Dawn saw was her sister’s smiling face and then she heard her voice.
“Hey, Dawn! I know this is a shock but it’s really me.” Buffy turned to look over her shoulder at someone standing out of the camera’s view.
“First, I want to tell you that I’m okay. Not hurt or anything. You’re probably wondering why I haven’t contacted you and the gang. Well it’s kinda hard to explain and I can’t go into details on this recording.”
Buffy again turned and looked at someone off camera. “God this is hard,” she said with tears shining in her eyes.
Off camera Jack’s voice was heard. “You can do this.”
Buffy took a deep breath and focused back on the camera. “Okay, the best I can explain it is that I’m somewhere very far away and until two days ago there was no way for me to contact home.”
Buffy stopped speaking and looked at something off screen and smiled. “The last five years have been really hard but I’ve also been really happy. Don’t think though that I haven’t missed you everyday – cause I have – so much Dawnie.”
Buffy paused again to wipe tears from her face. “Dawnie there’s some people I want you to meet.” At this the camera swung away from Buffy and focused on three people in military uniforms. Buffy then began the introductions.
“This is Colonel Jack O’Neill.” He waived at the camera with a goofy grin on his face. “Dawn, Jack is a good guy. He knows everything. You can trust him.”
The scene jumped around as if the camera was being jostled and focused on someone who hadn’t been in the original shot. “And this is Dr. Daniel Jackson. He’s way smart. Giles smart.” Daniel waived at the camera and then reached for it and focused back on the other three people in uniform.
“This is Major Samantha Carter. I don’t know when you’ll get to meet her but I have it on good authority she’s Willow smart and one of my favorite people thinks she’s the prettiest lady she’s ever seen.” At this Carter waived and somewhere off screen a little girl giggled.
“And last but not least is…” Mumbling was heard from off screen. “Okay but that’s a stupid name. Dawn, this is Murray.” At this introduction a very stoic Teal’c merely quirked his eyebrow. “I’m not sure when you’ll meet him either but when you do know that you can trust him. Plus he’s wicked strong.”
The camera focused on Buffy again, where she was now standing with a grey haired woman and holding a three-year-old girl.
“Now there are two more people I want you to meet. This is my family. My daughter Bronwyn and my mother-in-law Cerridwyn. Congratulations Dawnie you’re an aunt! Bronwyn say hello.”
The little girl looks curiously at the camera. “Momma, I already say hello to Daniel.”
“I know sweety. Can you just say hello for me?”
“Otay. Hello!” the little girl waived enthusiastically. “Was tha’ good momma?”
“Perfect baby. So Dawn that’s everyone. Jack and Daniel are going to try to find you and come visit with this video. It’s yours to keep. I really want to see you but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to. Jack’s trying to work that out.”
Buffy began to cry again. Jack stepped into view of the camera, wrapped his arms around her and the little girl she held in her arms. He squeezed her gently and whispered, “Everything is going to be okay. I promised I’d find her and I will. No matter what, you’ll get to see your sister.”
At his words Buffy calmed and turned her face back to the camera. However, she didn't leave the circle of Jack’s arms. “Sorry Dawn. This has been a little emotional for me. I’m sure it has for you too. Jack also has a letter for you and the scoobies. I want you to get everyone together and show them the letter and video.”
Off screen Sam is heard speaking, “Sir, it’s time to dial home.”
“Oh, Dawn that’s my cue. I love you and miss you!”
Tears streaked Dawn’s face, breaking Jack’s heart. “Hey, kiddo, it’s going to be okay. You’ll get to see her soon.”
Dawn turned to him, “Really.”
“Cross my heart. I’ve worked out a way to bring her home for a little while. I just wanted to see you first.”
“Well, probably within the next 4 to 5 days. As to where – I thought I’d leave that to you. I live in Colorado Springs. That’s where she’ll be first, but after that I could bring her to L.A.”
“What about Sunnydale? That’s where we lived.”
“Is that what you want?”
“Yeah I think Sunnydale is best. Buffy would probably like to see our house and that’s where mom’s buried and where Willow, Xander, Giles, Anya and Tara are. I mean there are people in L.A. who’ll want to see her but they can just come to Sunnydale.” Dawn babbled until she lost her breath.
Jack laughed at the young woman’s babbling. “Yep, you two are definitely related. The babble fest you just put on is more than enough proof.”