It was the casual glances thrown her way that made her question everything she thought she knew.
Sometimes Dawn thought that she imagined it, the tingly sensation of déjà vu that occurred when their eyes met. For just the smallest of moments she would plunge into those ocean blue eyes and become submerged with the feeling that she knew him from before, from a time before the sun made its maiden voyage over the horizon and the world was a blank canvass awaiting a master painter.
But then Castiel would look away and she would snap back to reality. She was Dawn Summers, a twenty-two year old Ancient History graduate student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. By day she studied history and languages, by night she worked part-time for the Watcher’s Council at their American headquarters just outside the city.
Yup, you could take the girl out of the hellmouth but…well, here she was stuck at yet another hellmouth.
Honestly, Dawn didn’t mind living here. She liked studying prophecies and reading dusty books that could help Buffy and the other slayers help save the world. But their current apocalyptic situation was definitely freaking her out…because there was a very good chance that this was the ‘real’ apocalypse – those other hellmouth-y ones were just appetizers before final world endage happened.
“Dawn. Yo, earth to the Dawn,” Dean Winchester said as he snapped his fingers in front of her face.
“Yeow!” Dawn uttered as she sat up straight, realizing that she had taken too long of a venture into her own little world. “Jeez, what is it?” she asked him crankily, feeling slightly embarrassed by everyone staring at her.
“I was asking if any of your books had been able to verify any method of ganking Lucifer,” he answered with a raised brow.
Dawn straightened her shoulders and looked around the table inside the Watchers’ Council’s conference room. Sam and Dean had arrived late last night and were looking pretty haggard – apparently they had to deal with a gambling warlock on the way here. Castiel had just shown up right before the meeting, quiet as always – for some reason he never talked to her. Representing the Council were Buffy, Faith, and Xander – Giles ran their international headquarters in England and Willow was on a spiritual/magical venture in Indonesia.
“No,” she shook her head. “The only references I’ve been able to find are ‘Michael’s Sword…and I’m thinkin’ that’s still a negative?”
Dean let out a snort of derision. “I’m not ‘bout to become an angel condom.”
“Cas? How’s the search for God going?” Dawn asked him. She was disappointed when the angel avoided her gaze – sometimes she thought he didn’t like her.
Castiel sighed. “Thus far the search has not been going as well as I would like, however I have faith it will succeed.”
“Yeah, well I’ll believe it when I see it,” Faith rolled her eyes. “Really not thinkin’ the man upstairs is gonna start throwing lightning bolts at Lucy.”
Giving her a puzzled look, Castiel looked at Faith. “Your name is quite contradictory to your nature.”
“That’s ‘cause I like to keep people guessin’,” Faith replied, managing to give Dean a salacious leer in the process.
“I love guessing games,” Dean grinned.
Sam shot him a disgusted look. “So anyways,” he began loudly in an attempt to wipe everyone’s minds of the last couple contributions to the conversation. “It looks like the Colt is our best bet.”
“I’ve been cruising the demon bars looking for information, but no word on who has it,” Buffy told them.
“Well yeah, Buff, but that’s ‘cause you keep staking them too soon,” Xander said with a wry grin.
“Hey, that vamp had the nerve to call me a fake blond!” Buffy sniffed in outrage as she twirled a strand of hair.
“Truth hurts,” Dawn smirked at her sister.
Buffy shot her a dirty look. “Trust me, the truth definitely got him hurt,” she replied in dry amusement.
Dawn chuckled as she shook her head at her sister. When she looked up she found Castiel’s eyes on her again, but he looked away before she could make eye contact. That weird feeling rose within her again, like she was just a couple pieces short of a complete puzzle…but the problem was until she met Castiel last year she never realized that there was something lacking in her life. Up until today she had only met him several times, since the Winchesters regularly strolled through the Cleveland area, so he was still a very mysterious figure to her.
And Dawn hated mysteries. Especially ones that made her have flashes of something she couldn’t really remember.
Dean let out a heavy sigh as he leaned back in his chair, balancing it on two legs. “Okay, so we gotta find out whoever the hell Bella gave the Colt to, before Lucifer decides to start laying the smackdown on the world.”
“Me and B will hit up the demon haunts again,” Faith offered. Then she granted Dean a sly wink. “You two feeling up to it?”
Giving her an easy grin, Dean nodded. “Oh, I’m definitely up.”
“Ew,” Buffy grimaced, and Dawn had to agree with her. They all had gotten to know the Winchesters fairly well over the last few years, ever since they ran into each other investigating a murderous ghost, and Dean could be so disgusting sometimes.
‘So basically, he and Faith are made for each other,’ Dawn thought with a smirk.
“Yeah, I second that,” Sam added.
“What?” Dean just asked his brother and Buffy innocently with a shrug of his shoulders.
Rolling her eyes, Dawn gave him an exasperated look. “Never mind, Dean.”
They began discussing their plans to search for the Colt when suddenly, as they were wrapping up the discussion, Castiel’s eyes widened in a look of revelation. “Oh. I get it now. You were making a sexually suggestive comment to Faith,” he said with his head slightly tilted in Dean’s direction.
Dean just groaned while the rest of them chuckled in amusement.
“Damn, angel-boy is so innocent. I’d love to pop his cherry,” Faith whispered to Dawn amid the on-going conversation.
Stiffening at the idea of Faith doing…something…with Castiel, Dawn fought not to overreact when in reality the idea of it turned her stomach. “Really? What about Dean?”
“Dean’s hot, but there’s something real special about taking a virgin, ya know?” Faith chuckled lowly.
Pursing her lips, Dawn decided to ignore Faith and turned her attention to the rest of the conversation. Sometimes she really hated her sister’s counterpart.
As a graduate student she was currently not enrolled in any classes, just independent studies that allowed her to study various arcane subjects - she was so 'gifted' in languages, according to her professors, that they were happy to accommodate her. Therefore she was able to spend the rest of the night reading fringe Judaism texts in their original Hebrew - although her efforts were proving fruitless. Apparently, the idea of attempting to kill the devil must have been so insane that no one even bothered to consider it, much less write about it. Frustrated, Dawn finally went to sleep in her one-bedroom apartment around two in the morning, hoping that maybe she’d find something tomorrow.
She fell to sleep quickly and immediately found herself in an old dream of hers. It was night time and the sky sparkled with thousands of stars, more than she could had ever seen in her life. Gritty sand smoothed her feet as she walked along a beach, sans clothes, and the sound of crashing waves were soothing to her soul. Often in these dreams she simply walked for what seemed like hours, being careful to keep one foot on land and the other submerged in the ocean water. But tonight something was different – she wasn’t alone.
There was a man here, waiting for her just a couple yards out into the water. The water was up to his knees but he didn’t look bothered by it. Ordinary looking, he had blond hair and a kind smile. He was dressed in jeans and a olive green shirt, with a darker long-sleeve shirt left unbuttoned over it. Although he appeared casual, Dawn could feel undulating rays of power radiating from him. He scared her…but he also intrigued her. Like Castiel, there was something familiar about him.
Dawn stared at him for what seemed like forever, waiting for him to say something. However, he didn’t and she didn’t have the patience to wait much longer. “Who are you?” she demanded. She let her arms hang loose at her sides – if this man tried to attack her she wanted to be ready.
“An old friend,” he finally smiled, his eyes glinting in amusement under the moonlight.
“Okay,” she rolled her eyes. “And why are you in my dream?”
Something flashed in his eyes, but then it was gone and he was chuckling softly. “You’ve gotten rather petulant in this form…although I suppose patience has never been your strongest suit.”
Feeling suddenly defensive, she folded her arms. “Excuse me for not being patient when some random dude pops into my dream,” she snarked in reply.
His lips tugged into a smile. “I miss that fire. It’s been too long.”
There was something about the tone of his voice when he said that…it sounded so sincere. Cautiously, she approached him, like one would to pet a venomous snake, and waded into the ocean. “How long has it been?”
The mysterious stranger crossed the distance between them and cradled her cheek in his hand. “Longer than I would have preferred.”
His touch elicited a strange, bittersweet sensation. Suddenly she was crying and Dawn didn’t know why.
“Shh,” he murmured as he enveloped her, his hands hot on her bare back. “We’ll be reunited again soon.”
His words brought her hope…and fear.
And then Dawn was awake, wondering who the hell she had been dreaming about.