Chapter 1: Submerged
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.
Chapter 2: Puzzle Pieces
I originally stated in chapter one that Dawn was on summer break, because it made it easier to deal with her graduate classes. However, after finding an excellent post about the SPN Timeline I’ve decided to follow that instead (up until a certain point, anyways). So I’ve edited the previous chapter and currently the timeline is set in November, not the summer
Also, this story goes out to curiouslywombat. I used to be a Dawn-hater (thanks to whiny teenage moments) until her stories made me realize how awesome of a character the Dawnster is :)
A couple days had passed since the Winchesters’ last visit and Dawn was having lunch with Vi, one of the activated slayers from Sunnydale and one of the few she was actually friends with. Vi was quiet but spunky, just the sort of type of person Dawn found herself usually befriending. After being in Buffy’s shadow for years and only hanging around her sister’s friends, Dawn had been eager to make her own once they relocated to Ohio. The activated slayers had spread across the globe but Vi was one of the few originals that had come to Cleveland. They were the same age – and both had peculiar extracurricular activities – so it made sense that they should be roommates at Case Western together. Since then, experiencing the ordeals of sharing a small box of a room and fighting evil, they both had become extremely close.
Eying the purple bruise over Vi’s right wrist, Dawn asked, “How was patrol last night?”
Vi shrugged. “Man, sometimes I don’t know how Buffy did it, guarding a hellmouth all on her own. We have seven slayers here – including Faith and sometimes Buffy, depending on her travels – and things are still crazy. See this?” she asked as she gestured towards her bruise. “Nasty vamp practically broke my wrist when I tried to stake him.”
Dawn made a face. “That sucks, dude. You get him?”
Vi smiled then, a slow dangerous smile that revealed the predator within. “Oh yeah. Shoved him right onto a fence post.”
Laughing, Dawn shook her head. “You do have a fondness for odd weapons.”
Grinning, Vi shrugged. “Hey, your sis taught me to use my surroundings. Besides, last night was tame. Remember when I staked those two vamps with chopsticks at Yum-Yum? I thought our waitress was going to faint!”
“Oh, I remember,” Dawn chuckled. “Thanks to you now we had to find a new Chinese buffet!”
Vi rolled her eyes. “So I overheard Xander last night talking to Buffy. Still no sign of the Colt or Lucifer?”
Dawn shook her head. “Nope. We know Lucifer has possessed some poor bastard but he’s been laying low. Colt’s still missing and our resources are running dry. Apparently the demons we’re used to don’t talk much with the Hell-kind.”
Grimacing, Vi responded, “Wow, who woulda thought there’d be castes among demons with the non-corporeal thinking they’re too good for the other, usually slimier, ones.”
“Good thing too. Can you imagine what life would be like if they teamed up?”
Vi’s face paled slightly. “Shit. Dawn, don’t even say that out loud. You know what our luck is like!”
Snorting, Dawn held up a hand to pacify her. “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re right. I take it back.”
Suddenly her cell phone began ringing and she glanced at the Caller ID. “Oh, hold on a sec. It’s Bobby.” As the primary researcher in Cleveland on all things paranormal, Dawn had a good relationship with the well-read hunter that the Winchesters had introduced her to. It was fairly common that they called each other with questions on monsters.
“Hey Bobby, what’s up?”
“You heard from either of the boys lately?”
Dawn frowned and shot Vi a worried look. “No…What’s the what?”
Bobby made a ‘hmmph’ sound and continued speaking. “Haven’t heard from them for a couple days – we’ve been checking in with each other often since you-know-what and those idjits haven’t been answering their phones – in fact, they’re not even turned on! Not to mention, Castiel can’t get a hold of them either.”
Sitting straight up, Dawn nibbled her lip nervously. “Where were they last? I haven’t talked to them since they visited.”
“I know they were around your neck of the woods. Said they were gonna check out something in Wellington? That’s what I told Castiel, but that damn angel hasn’t reported back yet on what’s going on.”
“Wellington…Ohio?” Vi gave her a curious look and mouthed ‘that’s near here’ with a gesture towards the south.
“Okay, well Vi – you remember her, red hair? – she said that’s nearby. We’ll go check it out.”
“Hmm, well be careful. Hopefully with a vampire slayer you won’t have much of a problem,” Bobby responded.
“Hope so. See ya Bobby.”
Dawn clicked the phone shut and sighed. This wouldn’t be the first time she’s helped the boys…okay, and maybe they had also done their share of helping, like saving her several times from the some of the various kidnapping episodes that seemed to plague her life. Seriously, was there like a sign over her head or something?
“So, I’m guessing a road trip?” Vi asked with a devious smile. “Preferably one where I get to kill a baddie?”
“The boys are AWOL, so is Cas, and Bobby’s worried. Looks like our little damsels in distress need some help,” Dawn smirked.
After getting onto Interstate 90 West the two girls only had a forty minute drive down to Wellington due to Dawn’s inclination for speeding thanks to, she guessed, her Buffy-genes. Of course, getting there was easy. Finding the brothers would be the problem.
Dawn and Vi started off in the most likely spot – the police station. Thanks to the Winchesters, the Watchers’ Council had learned the duplicitous art of cons. They tried to avoid any and all authority figures whenever possible but some of them used fake IDs as a back-up in case they got caught in a tricky situation. Dawn and Vi had grabbed some clothes on the way and now were wearing smart power suits that just screamed ‘Look at me, I’m damn important!’
“So you’re saying these two agents were here just two days ago?” Dawn asked the police officer as she showed him a picture of Sam and Dean that she had printed off.
“Yes,” he answered with furrowed brows. “Agents Hasselhoff and Stallone. They were here about the bear attack.”
“Bear attack? What happened?” Dawn inquired.
The older man shrugged. “Bill Randolph got killed by a bear in his home.”
Dawn exchanged a glance with Vi. “Uh huh. Well, have you seen Agents Hasselhoff and Stallone since?”
“No. They questioned Kathy, Bill’s wife – er, widow – and went on their way. What’s all about, anyway?”
Vi gave the man a sweet, innocent smile. She really knew how to play all southern Texan belle when she needed to, even if she didn’t have an accent. “Don’t you worry Office Manley. Just some internal Bureau business, it’s nothing important. Thank you for talking with us.”
Officer Manley smiled at her. “Of course, Agent Spears.” He nodded at Dawn. “And you, too, Agent Anderson.”
On their way out of the station, Vi giggled to herself. “Anderson. Makes me laugh every time.”
Dawn glanced down at her small breasts and laughed at the mental comparison to her ‘namesake’ Pamela Anderson. “What can I say? It was Dean who got the stupid badge for me and he picked the name.”
“Wishful thinking on his part, I bet,” Vi smirked.
“Ew, like I would ever get with Dean. He’s got nice lips and that whole ‘bad boy’ thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had gonorrhea or something, thanks to his male slutty ways.”
Vi let out a peal of laughter. “I know! Why are the hot ones so dirty?” she mock-pouted. “Still, aren’t you due for some male satisfaction? It’s been three years since your last boyfriend.”
Dawn rolled her eyes as she got into her Volkswagen Jetta – it was small so it couldn’t hide a lot of weapons but it was also easy to hide when tracking someone. “I think I have the Buffy curse – it’s hard to find a guy once you know about what goes bump in the night.”
“True,” Vi acquiesced. “What about Sam though?”
“Hello? He’s got all sorts of baggage – even if it is wrapped up in a, mmm, very nice package,” Dawn licked her lips.
“Why are all the pretty ones also damaged?” Vi mused. “Just once I’d like to find one that was cute and normal.”
“Yes, because you are loads of normal yourself,” Dawn shot back in a friendly tone.
Vi smacked her playfully. “By the way, so what now? How are we gonna find the boys?”
“Hmm.” Dawn stared off into space as she waited for a light to turn green. “The town isn’t that big. We could just drive until we see the Impala.”
“That sounds like fun,” Vi commented dryly.
“Do you have a better plan?”
“You could do a location spell.”
Dawn hesitated. “You know I don’t practice that much.”
“Because of what happened before?”
Jaw clenched, Dawn nodded. Vi sighed and gestured out the window. “Look, there’s a Visitor’s Bureau. We can just stop in and get a map, that might help. And maybe, if our luck sucks you can use the map for a location spell. Okay?”
Dawn nodded reluctantly, knowing that Vi really wanted her to make things easier for them. Too bad Dawn wasn’t about to do any more spells anytime soon.
It was almost dinner time and Dawn could sense Vi’s frustration. Vi was a friend of the boys as well after working some cases with them, although she wasn’t as close as Dawn was. Clearly she wanted to find them as quick as possible and thought magic would be the best help they could get.
Times like now Dawn could understand how Willow must have felt the night of Buffy’s twenty-second birthday party when Anya urged the recovering magic addict to do a spell that would free them from the house. Not that she was an addict or anything…she just…well…it was complicated.
“Dawn, we’ve been all over this town,” Vi began in a careful tone. “Maybe we should reconsider—”
“Vi, please. Let’s just try the outer part of the city first, okay? You and I both know how monsters like to shack up in isolated locations.”
Vi shifted in her seat restlessly but she didn’t say anything, instead she just nodded.
An hour passed before they spotted a black vehicle by an abandoned warehouse. “Figures.”
“Yeah, this just screams ‘Twilight Zone’,” Vi muttered as she eyed the Impala and empty surroundings. “So, how do you want to play this? Go in there cavalry-style or sneaky-ninja style?”
“Well, we don’t know what we’re dealing with so we should be sneaky. Still, I only see one door – oddly enough. So I guess sneaky-ninja style while plowing through the front door?”
Vi shrugged. “Works for me.”
Grabbing some gear from the trunk, they suited up. No matter how much the boys talked about their guns, Dawn and pretty much everyone associated with the Council refused to use one. Instead, Dawn strapped a sword to her back, a hunting knife to her outer thigh, and put on a pair of brass knuckles – not that she was helpful in hand-to-hand when it came to demons but it was easier to at least try to hurt them with a punch. Vi outfitted herself with similar weapons but chose five shuriken – ninja stars – instead of brass knuckles.
Dawn smirked and Vi gave her a raised eyebrow. “What?” she asked cautiously.
“You, being all ninja-like.”
Vi grinned. “I already know how to scale some buildings.”
“Okay, Spidey,” Dawn rolled her eyes. “Ready?”
They approached the building cautiously and were just about to open the door when it was flung open. Sam, Dean, and then Castiel walked out; past them Dawn could see a giant empty room with the sprinklers on…and was that a man standing in a ring of fire?
“Uh, hey guys,” Dawn smiled sheepishly, feeling stupid that they were decked out to kill but apparently their help wouldn’t be needed.
The brothers gave her and Vi curious looks. Castiel didn’t even look at them, instead his eyes were on the ground and he looked highly disturbed.
“What are you two doing here?” Dean asked.
Dawn raised a brass-knuckled fist into the air. “We’re here to rescue you!” They gave her and Vi a funny look. “Sorta,” she added.
“Kinda late,” Sam commented as he glanced at the closed door behind them. “We just got out.”
“How’d you know?” Dean inquired.
“Bobby. Said you two, plus Cas, fell off the radar. Vi and I figured this was pretty close so we came to check it out.” Dawn gave them apprehensive looks – Castiel was especially looking worse for wear. “What the heck happened?”
“Let’s just say TV rots your brains,” Dean answered them evasively. “Listen, we’re gonna head back to the motel and sleep until probably tomorrow – I’m frickin’ exhausted. We’ll just tell you about it later, okay?”
Dawn and Vi shared a look that said it all – they hadn’t driven around for hours just to get sent home without an explanation. However, both Dean and Sam did look exhausted so they decided to play nice…for a bit.
“Sure, just give us a call,” Vi nodded.
Dean nodded and started walking to the car but Sam gave them a second look. “Hey, you guys should head back. Don’t, um, look around or anything. Okay?”
Dawn pursed her lips in annoyance. She hated how perceptive Sam could be – he knew her too well. “Yeah, yeah, sure thing. See ya guys.” Dawn gestured for Vi to start walking back to her and got into the Jetta, but as soon as the Winchesters pulled away they got out of the car.
“Not look around my ass,” Dawn snorted. She glanced at Vi as they started walking back to the warehouse. “Does Sam even realize who he was talking to?”
“Don’t go in there,” Castiel warned her right before she ran into him. Tearing her eyes away from Vi, she looked up at the angel with a puzzled look – she hadn’t even realized he was still here!
“And why not?” Dawn inquired in a petulant tone.
“Because there’s a very irate and powerful creature in there that you don’t want to find,” he stated. His blue eyes were dark; they made her think of an angry sea storm and she was the fragile boat caught among its waves.
“What? Dean and Sam can face it and we’re not good enough?” Dawn snapped in irritation. Castiel never even talked to her, no matter how much she tried, and the moment he did it was to order her around like a child!
Castiel sighed and grabbed her arm and then Vi’s. Dawn knew, she just knew after hearing Dean’s stories, that she was about to get angel-snapped somewhere. Deftly she tore herself out of his grasp and ran for the door.
“Dawn!” Castiel shouted but she ignored him.
She flung open the door and saw that the sprinklers were still on full blast and the ring of fire around the man was starting to sputter. The man in question wasn’t remarkable looking, but rather average. In his thirties, he sported brown hair, jeans, a maroon shirt, and a tan jacket. His amber eyes were hardened and he gave her a defiant look.
“What? One more of you hunters want to have a go?” he snarled. “Bad news for you is I’ll be free soon.”
Dawn wiped the raining water from her eyes and gave the creature a careful look. She felt Castiel and Vi come up behind her but she ignored them for the moment. “Why didn’t Dean and Sam just kill you and not just capture you?” she questioned in confusion. Clearly this guy was the cause of their captivity and she was honestly surprised that they didn’t slay him, whatever he was.
The trapped man laughed wildly. “Geez Castiel, you are slumming with the dumbest humans. Like those ass hats could kill me.”
Raising her sword slightly, Dawn shot him a furious glare. “I’m dumb? I’m not the one who is trapped.”
The man gave her an icy look and sneered.
“Dawn, please go. Now,” Castiel begged suddenly, touching her arm again. Within a second he was flung away and the once-trapped man was right up in her personal space.
“Who’s the dumb one now?” he smirked. “It’s all fun and games to taunt the zoo animals but nothing good happens when they escape from their cages.”
Dawn placed the tip of her blade into the man’s side and Vi was suddenly there with her blade to his back. “You’re in my personal bubble. Also, you hurt our friend. Not cool.”
He started laughing and rolled his eyes. Snapping his fingers, Vi suddenly joined Castiel on the opposite side of the warehouse. Dawn’s eyes widened in fear – just what was this thing? – and she thrust her sword into his side.
Or, she tried to. Suddenly her prized sword, a birthday gift from Spike, was nothing more than crumpled aluminum. Gasping, she backed away from the creature. “What are you?”
His smiled was replaced by a sinister expression as he pressed her against the cold wall. The sprinklers rained down on them and Dawn shivered from the cool droplets falling on her skin. “You know? I’m really getting tired of that question today.”
“Okay then. What’s your favorite color?” she cracked weakly.
The man gave her a surprised look and then he started laughing. “I already like you better than Dean, and a heck of a lot better than Sam. What’s your name, hunter? Maybe I’ll be nice and not kill you today.”
Dawn raised her chin defiantly – since she couldn’t move much else with this guy pressing against her – and gave him a cool look. “I’m not a hunter, I work for the Watchers’ Council.”
He snorted. “That’s not a name. And no, I’m not very afraid of your bag of dicks council.”
“Dawn,” she hissed. “Now let me go,” she ordered gruffly as she caught his eye.
The amusement died as their eyes met. The amber softened into honey as he gave her an incredulous look. Suddenly Dawn could hear singing, but not in any language she had ever heard before, and she found herself transported into a new – or perhaps old? - memory. Earth sparkled below her feet like beautiful blue and green jewel and many voices sang in harmony of its beauty as they drifted among the stars.
“He’s not wrong,” she said quietly, in that same strange language the singing was in, as she laid down next to one she knew so well.
“That does not make him right,” he reminded her.
“Michael is not right for constantly reprimanding him.”
“If he does not then Lucifer will eventually step too far out of bounds. And then what will happen?”
She was silent. “Lucifer will not do anything wrong. He only looks out for all of us and your Father. His intentions are pure.”
He wrapped himself comfortingly around her. “I hope you’re right.”
The man in front of her jerked back and released her in the process, her vision fading in the process. Dawn looked around the warehouse wildly and noticed that the other man appeared frightened, as if he had just seen a ghost, and Dawn was trying to make sense of what she had just seen.
“I think the right question today is who are you?” he asked cautiously with raised brows.
Chapter 3: Lailah & Her Lover
“I’m Dawn, D-dawn Summers,” she answered the mysterious and powerful man.
His eyes narrowed and he snapped his fingers, popping Castiel and Vi into their midst. “Castiel, mind telling me what’s going on?”
Castiel turned away from the man and glanced at Dawn. “I do not know, Gabriel.”
“Gabriel?” Dawn repeated. Why did that sound so familiar? “That doesn’t seem very bad ass for a demon name,” she snorted.
“I’m not a demon,” he growled in a low voice, his eyes flashing dangerously. “And stop acting stupid. You know what I am.”
Dawn’s eyebrows jerked up to her hairline and she looked towards Vi and Cas. “Um, Cas, is your friend on drugs or something?”
But even as she said that, there was an insistent voice that this man, this Gabriel, was right and she did know him.
“Yeah, what the heck is going on?” Vi asked worriedly as she stepped protectively next to Dawn, eying the crumpled aluminum sword on the ground.
“Gabriel, she does not know what you are. She is unfamiliar to our kind,” Castiel supplied.
“Your kind?” she squeaked. “Oh crap. Are you like Zachariah? I heard about that tool….you’re a freaking angel?”
Giving her a disturbed look, Gabriel was silent for a moment. “You really don’t know who I am?”
“I know you’re the jerk who ruined my favorite sword, but that’s about it,” she answered snippily. This whole experience was making her spidey senses all tingly and she didn’t like it. She didn’t know what she had seen in that vision or who this Gabriel guy was or why a part of her was simultaneously overjoyed at seeing him, yet sorrowful at the same time.
Gabriel began to approach her but Vi’s sword was at his throat. “Stay the hell away from her,” the slayer growled.
The angel rolled his eyes and sighed. “Back off slayer. You threatening me is sillier than a tiny Japanese man trying to kick Godzilla.”
Vi bared her teeth, a frightful sight, but Gabriel didn’t even do so much as blink. “Dumb comparison,” she snorted. “Godzilla was way cuter than you.”
Dawn snickered and even Castiel seemed slightly amused, even if he probably didn’t even know who the heck Godzilla was. Gabriel just huffed and said, “I won’t try to kill either of you, okay? So chill out, slayer.”
“Vi, it’s cool,” Dawn told her. Call her crazy but she didn’t think this Gabriel would try to hurt her.
Reluctantly Vi lowered her sword and Gabriel approached Dawn. Subconsciously she pulled back slightly from him and the man appeared crestfallen at her display of fear. He stared into her eyes again and while no vision came this time, Dawn still felt that strange sense of déjà vu.
“You really don’t remember, do you?” he asked her in amazement after a long period.
She blinked and studied the lines of his face. This man was unknown to her but there was still something so familiar about him, like she knew him. She just knew that he had been the person she had been speaking to in her vision earlier. “I don’t understand what you mean.”
“You’re the Key,” Gabriel whispered as his smooth fingertips lovingly traced the contours of her face.
“Wh-what?” Dawn balked. “That’s, um, crazy talk. What’s a Key?” She looked to Vi for help but remembered that her friend wouldn’t know. In fact, after Buffy’s death it had never been brought up again and she was starting to think that the Scooby Gang had forgotten. Heck, even she forgot she was the Key most of the time! But more importantly, she could never let anyone know she was the Key.
Castiel’s eyes widened. “That is why she feels so familiar to me and carries the scent of Heaven,” he said softly. “But how?”
Gabriel, still caressing her cheek, smiled softly. “Given human form…who did this?” he inquired in wonder.
Suddenly nervous, Dawn pulled away from him. “Listen, stop with the freaky ponderings, okay? I’m not a freaking Key and I don’t want to talk to you freaky angels anymore. Vi, let’s get out of here,” Dawn commanded shakily as she backed away.
Typically Dawn would be hell-bent on solving this mystery of just why this angel knew her and what they knew about the Key and just exactly who was she, anyhow, but there was something primitive in her that demanded she run, run far away because fear tugged on her like a string on a sweater, and Dawn feared she would unravel.
Then Gabriel looked so hurt at her declaration that Dawn immediately regretted it – a part of her hated the idea of hurting this person, even if she didn’t understand why. But common sense kicked in and she ran out of there with Vi as fast as she could, praying that neither angel followed her.
When they didn’t, Dawn was incredibly thankful. More so, she was thankful that Vi let her drive home in silence – she needed to be lost in her thoughts
Dawn wasn’t surprised later that night when, as she slept, she found herself back in her dreamscape. Long brown hair swung down her bare back and the ocean waved in welcome. The man was here again, waiting for her in the dark waters, except this time he was farther out; the water lapped up to his mid-thigh. She eyed him suspiciously but he just returned her rather hostile look with a warm smile.
“You’re back,” she said, by way of greeting.
“Yes,” he answered simply.
“Why are you here?” Dawn stood at the water’s edge, wondering idly if she should venture into the ocean. But the water was so cold and dark and it scared her.
“You are mine, Lailah. And I am yours. We have been parted for too long.”
The name Lailah struck Dawn with such a deep blow that she was breathless in response. It conjured images of the heavens, twinkling lights cast over clouds of purity, where happiness was supreme for so many cycles of the sun. She saw a doorway to another world, her old home, where darkness now reigned, and saw herself sealing the door behind them.
Dawn fell to the ground, shaking violently as her fingers dug into the sand. “I don’t understand what’s happening,” she whispered.
Even over the sounds of the crashing waves, he heard her quiet words of desperation. “You soul knows that I have returned and it is pushing your old memories back at you in an attempt to prepare you. You will remember all of it, soon.”
Dawn shook her head and looked up at him, now kneeling in the wet sand. “When you say old memories…just how old are you talkin’?” she asked wryly.
Her mysterious stranger chuckled fondly. “Older than the earth and the sky, my love.”
Biting her lip, Dawn pressed her knees against her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. “Because I’m the Key,” she realized softly.
Then her voice turned almost accusatorial – although it was directed not at this man but this ‘thing’ that she didn’t understand. “Then why can’t I remember?”
Jaw clenched, he looked out over the ocean. “When I was imprisoned He made you forget. I heard that you were thrust into another dimension and passed from violator to violator, until finally an order of monks found you.” His voice brimmed with anger and Dawn was reminded of this creature’s power.
“Then I was made human,” Dawn added as she stared at her flesh and blood hands in wonder.
His features twisted as he contemplated her new form with hard, assessing eyes. “Yes, human. Most unfortunate.”
“Why?” she asked innocently. “What’s wrong with humans?” Even as she said that Dawn thought to herself, ‘Aren’t I human?’
“Humans,” he spat, “ruined this world. Look around you,” he declared with open arms at their surroundings. “This is what the world used to look like. Now human pollution has diluted the light of the stars and fouled the waters of the world. They have ruined everything, everything that my Father created,” he responded with simmering rage.
He shook his head sadly. “Just as I told him they would. If only He would have listened.”
Surprised by his outburst, Dawn sat up and observed him with wide eyes. There was such a great deal of sorrow emanating from him that she found herself involuntarily wading into the water and meeting him. Blue eyes sparkled with unshed tears and when one finally fell Dawn kissed it away.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she laid her hand upon his cheek. Her words were few but her eyes told him just how sorry she was – that he was distressed, that she couldn’t remember him and their past, that they were separated for so long.
He smiled in response and placed his hand over hers, pressing it against his cheek. “Soon we will fix everything and save this world.”
Dawn nodded eagerly – she would give anything to see the world beautiful again and to have her love returned to her. “Yes. We will.”
He pressed his lips to hers and Dawn felt her entire being ache with happiness.
“I am yours, Lailah,” he said in a throaty voice.
“And I am yours, Lucifer,” Dawn responded as she held him tight against her.
Dawn woke up sweating, her limbs tangled in the sheets like a spider’s prey in a web. She gasped in mouthfuls of air and struggled to breath normally but her blood was pounding in her ears and she could still feel the heat of his kiss on her lips.
His kiss. Lucifer’s kiss.
She barely made it into the bathroom in time before she began vomiting. When she was done and cleaned herself up, Dawn stared at herself in the mirror. Her long hair had a severe ‘bed-head’ look going on, she was pale, and dark circles displayed the exhaustion she felt.
“It was just a dream. Just a dream,” she whispered to herself, her voice cracking slightly. Just a dream, both last night’s and the other night’s. That man wasn’t Lucifer. She wasn’t someone called Lailah, born before the earth was created. And she most certainly was not in love with the devil himself.
“It’s not like I’m Buffy,” she joked out loud with a mild snort of dry amusement. Buffy was the one who fell for the evil or morally ambiguous guys – first Angel, a mild flirtation with Dracula, then Spike, and then the Immortal. But not Dawn. Dawn was sensible and learned from watching her sister’s mistakes. In fact, she knew it was better to not let anyone in. Vi had been right, her last boyfriend had happened three years ago and even that hadn’t been serious in her eyes. Dawn just didn’t trust men – or maybe she just didn’t trust herself.
Still shaking her head, Dawn jumped into the shower and tried to make herself feel clean again. She scrubbed her lips until they were chapped and then sat underneath the hot shower for almost an hour as she tried to distance herself from the horror of her dreams.
A couple hours later Dawn was at the Council headquarters trying to lose herself in work. She had quickly realized that she couldn’t be alone, lest the images from last night and Gabriel’s words from yesterday catch up with her. Luckily it was a Friday and the Council was bustling with activity – demons and vampires just loved to cause a ruckus on the weekends.
“Hiya Dawnie!” Xander greeted her cheerfully. Dawn looked up and waved from her place in the dining room of the old mansion Giles had purchased after Sunnydale.
“Hey Xander. Whatcha’ up to?” she asked as she marked her place in the ancient Hebrew text.
Sitting down across from her at the oak table, he grinned. “Nothing much. Just met with some of my slayers and other watcher-y things.”
Dawn laughed. Xander really did enjoy being watcher. More than once he had strolled around headquarters with a black velvet eye patch and tweed jacket while smoking a pipe and shouting things like “Bloody hell!” and “Bollocks!”
Of course, he only did stuff like that when Giles was visiting.
“Fun fun. Any weekend plans?”
“Eh,” Xander shrugged. “Jo said she would try to swing into town tomorrow – she and her mom are hunting something in Pennsylvania right now. Apparently someone’s gathering all the fugly demons of the world – not the black-eyed ones – and she and Ellen are following up a lead.” He attempted to play it casual but Dawn could read him pretty easily after knowing him all her life.
“Ooooh, that sounds fun, having Jo over,” she teased with twinkling eyes. “Xander and Jo, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.”
“You are so juvenile, Dawn,” Xander said with an embarrassed smile. He and Jo had known each other for a couple years but have only been dating for a few months. With both of them traveling so often it was hard to schedule dates and she knew that Xander always looked forward to Jo’s visits.
“What do you expect? I’m technically only eight years old,” she smirked.
Xander furrowed his brows in confusion. “Eight…oh, yeah!” he shook his head with a smile. “I always forget that you used to be the Key. You’re just normal Dawnie now.”
Her stomach turned at his words. Not used to be…still the Key…but she didn’t say anything to contradict him. “Yup,” she said with a forced smile.
“Where do you think I should take her?” he asked her earnestly. “I feel like there’s nothing to do around here but hunt demons nowadays.”
“Mmm, blood and gore – that’s a way to show a girl a good time,” Dawn muttered sarcastically.
“Exactly!” he grinned. “Plus, saves money.”
She smacked him. “Like you need to worry about that.” Once Giles had taken charge of the Council they realized just how many assets the ancient organization had. Thanks to that, all employees – watchers, slayers, witches, and researchers – got paid quite well.
“Besides,” she added, “all Jo does is hunt. Take her to do something girly, ya know? A girl likes to get dressed up every once in a while. Like the art museum and a nice restaurant or something.”
“Jo? A museum?” Xander snorted. “She’s not exactly high-maintenance like my first girlfriend.”
Dawn snickered at the comparison of Jo to Cordelia Chase and shrugged. “Okay, good point. I heard Caridad say there was going to be a Caribbean Festival on the lake this weekend – lots of reggae, pineapple, and rum. That could be fun!”
“Hmm. At least I wouldn’t look out of place there with my eye patch,” Xander mused.
Dawn giggled. “No, you’d be lookin’ good, for sure.”
“Thanks Dawnie,” Xander beamed. “I owe you one.”
“You bet you do.” Then, before she lost her nerve, she said what was on her mind. “Actually, I do have a problem.”
“What is it?” he leaned forward in concern.
Nibbling her bottom look, she looked at her old confidante. “Do you ever wonder what I was like, before the monks turned me human?”
Xander frowned at her odd question. “Well, you were just some swirling ball of energy.”
“Right…but was I conscious then? Like, alive? More than just some multi-dimensional key?”
“Dawn, I…I don’t think it works that way. If so, you never would have needed a human body if you were sentient – the monks would have known that you could fight off Glory. Ya know?”
“Why?” he asked in a warm tone that begged her to confide in him. Trouble was, Dawn wasn’t sure if she should. Because if she said it out loud then it would be real…or he would just think she was crazy.
“I’ve been having some weird dreams and, um, visions lately. They feel like old memories except…I don’t remember them.”
“Oh.” Xander gave her a thoughtful look. “How long has this been going on?”
“The dreams, just recently. The visions ever since I met Castiel.”
“The angel?” Xander asked in surprise.
“Yeah. And also, yesterday with Vi, I met another angel and had the same weird déjà vu thing happen.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Xander held up his hand. “You met another angel? Doing what?”
“Long story. Vi and I thought Dean and Sam needed our help. We drove down to Wellington and that’s where I met him, Gabriel.”
Xander gave her a flabbergasted look. “The archangel?”
“Oh, um, I don’t know. He said his name was Gabriel…so I guess so?”
“Jeez Dawn, you gotta be careful. Dean was telling about his run-in with Zachariah, back when he flung Dean into the future and then tried to make him say yes. Don’t mess with those guys.”
“Xander!” she hissed; she didn’t want to be loud because people at the Council were ridiculously snoopy. “You’re missing the point. The point is, either I am remembering things from being the Key or else I’m going crazy!”
Sighing, Xander shook his head. “You’re right, I’m sorry. It’s just a lot to take in, ya know? I thought Glory was bad but this heaven/hell business is a million times worse. So, have you said anything to Buffy or Giles?”
Dawn laughed out loud. “Tell Buffy? Please. She would freak out and lock me up in the basement in case this meant some Big Bad was coming for me. As for Giles, I’ve thought about it but he’s already done all the research possible on both the Key, back when Glory was after me, and the angel-devil apocalypse.”
“And you thought I’d be more helpful?” he asked in surprise.
“I mean,” she added hastily, “ I just needed someone to talk to, and you’re the best at giving advice.”
Puffing his chest out comically, he nodded. “Yeah, I am pretty great, aren’t I?” he teased as she let out a groan.
“Okay, so you think you might have a history with these angel dudes,” Xander continued in a sobered voice. “Why don’t you just ask them about it?”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Well, yeah, if you wanted to use logic to solve my problem.” She tapped her pencil against the table. “I almost did yesterday but I totally freaked and ran off. I’m kinda afraid of what they might say.”
’Like maybe I’m Satan’s old girlfriend,’ she thought darkly.
Xander shrugged. “I think you should see what they can tell you. Who knows? Maybe you’re the key to killing Lucifer.” He grinned at his pun and nodded.
The key to killing Lucifer…Dawn knew, rationally, that she should want that to happen but the thought of it made her ill. Lucifer dead? Her Morningstar to shine no more? She could never do such a thing!
Then, realizing what crazy thoughts had just passed through her mind, Dawn mentally smacked herself. She really needed to get a grip on things.
A week later Dawn was cruising down Interstate 90 West on her way to Bobby’s place near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Since her conversation with Xander – which he promised to keep confidential – the two of them had been scouring various books for mentions of the Key. The way Dawn saw it was if the angels knew her then it was likely God himself made her. That was altogether freaky and made her self-conscious because, honestly, up until Castiel showed up a year ago yanking Dean from Hell, Dawn was pretty convinced that God didn’t really exist. After all, they knew so much about the world – how could they not hear more about His interactions?
But she had been proved wrong and now maybe was even some sort of angel in hiding or something. Very freaky stuff indeed.
Dawn had caved and told Giles, who she swore she could hear him cleaning his glasses over the phone, and he promised to do more research as well. However, none of them had made a discovery yet and now Dawn was heading to the meet with the foremost demonology expert in the States – Bobby Singer.
He knew she was coming but he didn’t know why – call her crazy but she thought a conversation like this would be better in person. She just hoped that he would be able to shine some light on this.
Bobby’s dog Rumsfeld met her at the Singer Salvage Yard entrance with a happy bark, probably remembering that she was the one who fed him scraps after Dean had experimented with cooking once. After petting the Rumsfeld a bit, Dawn set off towards the house where Bobby greeted her at the door. She had yet to see him in his wheelchair since the incident a couple months back, but she knew about it thanks to the boys.
But seeing Bobby stuck in a wheelchair? A heck of a lot different than just hearing about it.
“Heard Rumsfeld barking,” Bobby said by way of greeting.
Dawn walked in a dropped her heavy bags on the floor. “He’s a good watch dog. I keep thinking about getting one but ever since my fish died I can’t bring myself to be responsible for another pet.”
Bobby shut the door and looked at her. “You know fish don’t live very long, right?”
“Oh, he didn’t die of old age,” Dawn sighed. “This Omniseran demon – a real nasty thing with big claws, followed me home once. They have a weakness for fish so I fed Fred to the it and then cut off the demon’s head while it was distracted.”
Bobby chuckled in amazement. “You Summers girls are a handful.”
Dawn’s heart warmed at the affection in his voice. Bobby tried to pretend he was a grizzly bear but he cared about ‘his kids’ – the Winchesters, Jo, and the Scoobies – like they were his own. For a girl who had an AWOL father and whose only father figure clearly was closer to her sister, Bobby meant a lot to her.
“We are. Unfortunately,” she frowned as she remembered why she had driven here.
Nodding, Bobby gestured towards the dining room. “Yeah, I figured you weren’t here on account of something good. C’mon in. I got some Cajun catfish all fixed up.”
Dawn smiled and followed him. As they sat down to dinner she began telling Bobby everything – well, everything but the two Lucifer dreams. Hunters were suspicious folks and after what happened between Sam and Ruby last year, Dawn had a feeling she’d get locked up in Bobby’s panic room downstairs.
They discussed it a while longer and Bobby, who was remaining remarkably calm – a sign of his vast experience with the supernatural, finally asked her the obvious question. “Why haven’t you asked Castiel, or even that Gabriel fella, more about this?”
“Besides the fact that those two were seriously freaking me out when I saw them?” Dawn shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t think Cas really knows much, not as much as Gabriel, but Gabriel is kind of scary.”
“Yeah,” Bobby snorted. “That dick trickster killed Dean a thousand times and has done who knows what else. I still can’t believe he’s an honest-to-god angel, much less an archangel.”
“Yeah,” Dawn agreed. “So…research?”
Bobby nodded. “After all this heaven/hell bullshit started happening I began requesting books from old sources on the subject. Still haven’t gotten through all of them – some of them I can’t even translate. You might have a good shot with those, though.”
“Cool.” Dawn just hoped she’d find what she needed.
She was dreaming again, walking along her midnight ocean beach. Dawn was surprised that Lucifer had waited so long to contact her again. Then again, she bet he was busy.
The fact that she wasn’t upset about what he could possibly be planning worried her. It was like here, in her dreams, she was more susceptible to Lucifer’s charm…because here she loved him.
“Hello Lailah,” he smiled. As always he was in the ocean; this time the water came all the way up to his waist.
“Lucifer,” she whispered. His face broke out into a radiant smile and Dawn found herself remembering why he was named ‘Light-Bearer’ in the first place.
“You remember me this time. You do not always remember our meetings.”
“I don’t?” she answered, puzzled.
“I have visited you on a dozen occasions, speaking of our old lives. But I’ve noticed that the more I discuss the past the less likely you are to remember these moments in the morning.”
Dawn bit her lip. “I remember in the last dream you said I was yours.” She looked up at him expectantly and for the life of her Dawn couldn’t figure out if she wanted him to vehemently deny it or adamantly declare it again.
Lucifer smiled and beckoned her to him. “You are mine and I am yours. So it was decided before the dinosaur’s roar.”
Dawn gave him a half-hearted smile but didn’t go to him, as she had done before. He appeared hurt and dropped his open arms.
“Why don’t you come to me, my love?”
Her eyes roved over the water’s surface and she noticed how choppy the typically tranquil waves were. “I am afraid. If I go in the current may pull me under.”
“I would never let anything hurt you,” he vowed.
Inclining her head to the side, Dawn gave him a curious look. “Why can you not meet me here?”
Lucifer gave her a despondent look. “I cannot. Join me instead.”
Oh how tempting it was to just go out there! But Dawn reminded herself that every time she went to him love overtook logic and she needed answers.
“I must understand first. You…you are Lucifer…but Lucifer is evil. It is because of him the demons were created. How can I love you?” Dawn asked bluntly.
Lucifer recoiled as if she had struck him. His eyes glimmered with emotion and he pressed his lips tightly together. “Evil? You think I’m evil?” He shook his head mournfully. “If only you could remember…then you would know the true story.”
“Why don’t you just tell me?” she asked in frustration.
He shook his head. “Soon it will be revealed. The memory block on you is powerful and anything I tell you now will be forgotten. But the day approaches when I will give you everything back, my love.”
Dawn sighed, suddenly feeling very small and lonely so far away from him. All she wanted was the truth…and truthfully, all she wanted was her Lucifer.
She walked through the water, shivering as it traveled from her feet to her waist, and flung herself into Lucifer’s arms. “I’m so tired of this, of not understanding.”
“I know, my Lailah. I know.”
A week later and Bobby was on the phone with Dean while Dawn tidied up around the house – Bobby so lived like a bachelor.
“You got it? Whadya mean Crowley just ‘gave’ it to you? Demons don’t give nuthin’ for nuthin’,” Bobby grumbled. He uttered a few ‘uh-huhs’ as Dean talked on the other line and ended the conversation with “Well then see ya soon.”
“What’s the what?” Dawn inquired as she dusted a bookcase.
“Turns out Buffy and Faith managed to scrounge up some information from a demon – they learned that a demon named Crowley had the Colt.”
“Crowley…why does that sound familiar?”
“He’s the King of the Crossroads Demons. Apparently he just handed over the Colt to them – Dean, Sam, Faith, and Buffy – last night because he wants Lucifer dead. ‘Ain’t that crazy?”
Dawn dropped her dusting rag in surprise. “A demon wants Lucifer dead?” she repeated as her brain struggled to reassure her that Satan getting shot dead by the Colt was a good thing.
“You got it. Also said that the devil would be in Wind Point, Wisconsin tomorrow night, a tiny place on Lake Michigan, near Milwaukee. The boys, Buffy, and Faith are on their way here, and so are Jo, Ellen, and Xander.”
Nodding numbly, Dawn’s hand moved automatically over the bookcase after she picked the rag back up. “Wow. Whole big party,” she mumbled.
“Yup,” Bobby said as he rolled his wheelchair towards the door. “Looks like I’m heading to the liquor store.”
Both parties ended up around the same time and were immediately grateful to Dawn for ordering pizza and Bobby for providing liquid refreshments. After they ate, Dawn was surprised to see Castiel appear. The difference this time was for once Dawn was ignoring him and Cas was the one trying to make eye contact.
Dean cleared his throat. “So we got the Colt from Crowley—”
“—Yeah, and since he was planning on giving it to us all along I didn’t even need to dress up all slutty and pretend to be a helpless blond so his people would let me in,” Buffy grumbled.
“Yeah B, but when the four of us found Crowley, at least your dress didn’t go to waste when he hit on you!” Faith snickered.
“What? Buffy get hit on by a demon?” Xander exclaimed sarcastically. “No way.”
“Shut up Xander. You’re just as much of a ‘demon magnet’” Buffy shot back in annoyance as everyone laughed.
Well, Dawn’s laughter was forced – she had too much on her mind to really get into the conversation. And Castiel, as usual, remained stoic.
“Hey, Buffy, maybe it wasn’t all for nothing. Maybe Crowley just gave us the gun ‘cause he’s sweet on you,” Dean smirked.
“I swear, Winchester, if we survive tomorrow I am so killing you later,” Buffy grumbled as she gave him a dirty look.
“Speaking of,” Ellen interrupted, “we got any plans besides rolling into Wind Point with weapons and searching for the devil?” The older blond woman looked around the living room with a raised brow.
“Sounds good to me,” Faith shrugged. “In and out fast.”
“I bet that’s what Dean hears every time he meets up with her,” Xander joked to Sam in a low voice. A balled-up napkin hit him in the nose with remarkable accuracy and he looked at the brunette slayer in surprise.
“Slayer hearing, doofus,” she reminded him.
“While I like to have a plan, I don’t think there’s much we can figure out ahead of time. Giles and Willow at the Council know our plans in case something goes wrong. We have some of our sources are saying that various demons of the corporeal-kind are meeting up in Wind Point, which is weird since they hate Lucifer and all the black-eyed demons. Suffice to say there will be chaos tomorrow,” Buffy stated.
“You don’t think they’ve teamed up, do you?” Sam inquired.
Buffy shook her head. “Really doubt it. At least some of the demons I heard about got taken there against their will. But it could be possible that Lucifer’s goal for tomorrow is getting them to join him.”
“That’d be a hell of a shit storm,” Bobby commented.
Everyone nodded in agreement but Faith shook her heard. “Hot damn, y’all are depressing me. Let’s drink until we can’t feel feelings anymore. Tomorrow is tomorrow, we’ll deal with that shit then. For now, let’s live it up,” she stated with a pointed look at Dean.
“Let’s go,” Dean grinned.
The night passed in a sea of tequila shots and beer. As things began to wind down Jo and Xander, along with Faith and Dean, had decided to have ‘private parties’, and it was just Buffy, Sam, Bobby, Ellen, Castiel, and her. Feeling awkward because the first four had paired off into different conversations, Dawn decided to retire for bed before Castiel could talk to her. Unfortunately, the damn angel just followed her into the spare bedroom.
“Cas, it’s late and I’m tired. Can we talk tomorrow?”
The angel gave her a thoughtful look. “You do not appear tired although you do appear tense. I believe that we should discuss the events from the warehouse before we leave for Wind Point.”
Dawn sighed and plopped on her bed. “It’s like I want to know, but I don’t, ya know?”
He appeared confused. “No, I do not.”
Falling back onto the bed, with her feet dangling, Dawn let out an exasperated sigh. “Over the last month I’ve been taunted more than ever by these random flashes of memories I don’t even remember. I know I’m the Key but I’m not sure if I’m ready to hear more.” Mostly, Dawn just didn’t want to know why she loved/used to love Lucifer, also known as the guy they were planning on killing tomorrow.
“I admit that I do not know much of the Key, its origins,” Castiel stated slowly, like he was trying to figure out what to say. “But I do know that the Key existed before God created the earth, lived among the angels, and was stolen by Lucifer.”
That made Dawn pause. “Lucifer stole the Key…me?”
Castiel nodded, subtly taking in her reaction. “Yes. Lucifer used the Key to unlock other dimensions, from which he unleashed never before seen horrors onto earth. This is where the first demons came, the Old Ones, and Lucifer soon learned how to twist human souls in Hell into demons of his own.”
“Oh god,” Dawn whispered as her stomach clenched. Spots appeared before her eyes and a hand softly squeezing her shoulder reminded her to breathe. She took in a gulp of air and shuddered. “I thought he loved me,” she said meekly.
“Loved you?” Castiel asked curiously. “Why would you think that?”
“Um.” Dawn didn’t know what to say. “Remember I told you about those random memory flashes? Well, um, sometimes Lucifer is in them and I…well, I thought he loved me.”
“Lucifer loves no one but himself, Dawn,” Castiel informed her grimly. “You must remember that.”
Dawn nodded slowly. “I will remember that,” she vowed.
*Scenes from this chapter and next come from/are inspired by S5E10 'Abandon All Hope'.
They drove the Wind Point in three vehicles. Dean, Sam, and Buffy were in the Impala, Ellen, Jo, and Faith were in their car, and Dawn was driving Xander and Castiel in her Jetta. The nine hour drive felt like it took forever, especially with Xander’s constant attempt at lightening the mood and Castiel continuously looking dumbfounded by the one-eyed wonder’s sense of humor.
Finally they rolled in down the main street and were flummoxed by the lack of people. Dawn rolled up beside the Impala as she cautiously looked around. “Where the heck is everyone?”
“Dunno,” Dean responded. We’re gonna check out the P.D., you guys check out this area.” The Impala pulled away and Dawn parked her car behind Ellen’s. Everyone got out and began walking down the empty street.
“Cas? Your angel senses tingling?” Buffy asked as she sniffed the air. A cold breeze carried the taste of Lake Michigan to them but Dawn couldn’t smell anything more than that – she’d leave the super-smelling to the super-powered people.
“I feel no humans here. Although,” Castiel added as he cocked his head, “I sense demons.”
“Yeah, my spidey sense is tingling like crazy, and not in the down-low happy kinda way,” Faith stated. “There’s definitely some demons here, I can feel them.”
Buffy frowned; likely she was annoyed that she couldn’t feel anything. Dawn knew that all slayers were different but Buffy was horrible when it came to sensing evil.
“I checked out this place on Google Maps. Apparently there’s a lighthouse just a mile away,” Dawn said as her eyes scanned the horizon. She spotted it, stark white against the darkening sky, and pointed it out.
“Perhaps Lucifer is meeting the demons there,” Castiel said. “I will perform a recon attempt.” Then he was gone, only the sound of fluttering wings announcing his departure.
The six of them quickly checked out all of the buildings and finished before the Winchesters showed up.
“Station’s empty,” Dean declared.
“So’s everywhere else,” Jo informed.
“Have you seen Cas?” Ellen asked.
“What? He was with you,” Sam said in surprise.
“He went to go check out the lighthouse, but its been a while. Thought he might have gone to you first,” Xander said as he leaned onto his broadsword.
“Well, this is great, been in town twenty minutes and already lost the angel up our sleeve,” Dean muttered angrily.
“You think, uh, you think Lucifer got him?” Sam asked.
“I don't know what else to think,” Dean answered.
“Well hey – you still got two slayers so we’re five by five,” Faith grinned. “Gotta think positively, boys.”
“Easy for you to say, super-strength,” Dean grumbled.
“Alright now, no problem. We’re close enough to walk, so let’s check out that lighthouse over there,” Ellen suggested sensibly.
Dawn glanced up at the lighthouse again and this time really focused on it. There was something about the building that made her ears buzz and she wasn’t quite sure what it was – but she had a feeling it had something to do with Lucifer.
Suddenly, Dawn didn’t want to be here anymore. She felt torn about coming to begin with, because for whatever reason a stupid part of her didn’t want to see Lucifer die. And now that she was actually here it was feeling all to real…her dreams weren’t just dreams, no matter how much she wished they were.
“There you are,” an arrogant female voice declared. They spun and saw a women with ivory skin encased in black leather giving them a mocking smile.
“Who the fuck is that and why is she trying to dress like me?” Faith asked with mild outrage.
“Meg,” Sam stated in a voice that brimmed with hatred.
Dawn had heard about Meg. This was the demon that was partly responsible for Bobby’s paralysis and a number of other things to the Winchesters.
“Shouldn't have come here, boys.” Meg’s lips curled into a sinister smile and she stood with a wide stance, fully confident even though two of the most feared slayers and six of the most feared hunters in the world were in front of her.
“Hell, I could say the same thing for you,” Dean grunted.
Meg gave the rest of them a closer look. “Oh lookie. Slayers too. My father will be pleased. He especially wanted to have a chat with one called ‘Buffy’.” She snorted in amusement when she noticed Buffy’s sneering reaction. “Blond. Gee, who would have guessed,” she smirked.
Dean only responded by raising the Colt at her head.
“Didn't come here alone, Deano,” she grinned before he could shoot.
Puzzled, Dawn looked around and saw snarling demonic hounds approaching them. Their hides were like blackened coal and their eyes glowed with red hellfire.
“Hellhounds!” Dawn shouted as she raised her sword.
Meg gave her an incredulous look. “You can see them?”
“Yeah, I thought humans couldn’t see hellhounds,” Sam whispered in surprise.
Dawn shrugged. “I dunno. But maybe we should focus more on killing them and less on why I’ve got freaky talents?” she asked in irritation.
“Come on boys and girls. Mustn’t keep daddy waiting,” Meg called.
“I think we’ll pass, thanks,” Sam stated.
“Your call. You can make this easy or you can make it really, really hard.” Meg smiled cruelly at their choices.
Dean looked back at Ellen and the slayers, who quickly nodded.
“When have you known us to ever make anything easy?” Dean answered grimly as he fired off a bullet at the hound closest to Meg. It squealed as blood spattered and suddenly they were running for the nearest building.
“Faith, stab right!” Dawn shouted just in time for the slayer to thrust her sword into an attacking hound. “Sam, shoot on top of that bench with the realty ad!” she directed him at another approaching hound.
Dawn saw a hellhound leaping in her direction and she ducked before stabbing the beast in the heart. She rolled out before it could fall on her and slashed wildly at another approaching hellhound. Grunting, Dawn lost her sword when the beast yanked it out of her hand with its teeth. Flipping over, she avoided its snapping jaws and grabbed her knife from her holster. The ferocious hound lunged for her again, but she ripped its throat open with the knife before it could bite her.
“Come on! Run!” Sam shouted. Looking up, Dawn saw him and the others running into a hardware store.
“Dawn! Go!” Buffy urged as she pulled Dawn up and pushed her forward. Dawn started running, but stopped when a shriek pierced the air. Her heart stilled at the sound and she turned to see a hellhound rip its teeth into Buffy’s thigh and begin dragging her down the street.
“No!” Dawn screamed at the retreating figure. But more hounds were coming, a dozen at least, and she felt Faith at her back.
“We die, we can’t save her. Get inside,” the slayer hissed as she propelled Dawn into the store.
Choking back a sob, Dawn surveyed their group. Everyone was moderately okay – thank god – but haggard and anxious looking. Dean and Sam were quickly salting the doors and windows while Xander and Ellen held the doors shut against the attacking hounds.
“Where the hell did that thing take Buffy?” Dawn gasped as she pressed against the windows.
“Meg said the devil wanted to talk to her – I’m guessing he’ll keep her alive until he gets whatever he needs. We have time,” Sam assured her.
Dread coiled in her gut and Dawn was suddenly afraid that her sister didn’t have much time…even though Lucifer said he loved her, he hated humans. She couldn’t expect him to show Buffy any mercy – especially when he probably didn’t consider Buffy to be her real sister.
“It's blood, Summers blood, it's just like mine. It doesn't matter where you came from, or how you got here, you are my sister.”
Buffy couldn’t die. She couldn’t allow that to happen. No matter who she used to be or what she used to do, now she was Dawn Summers – and Buffy was the only family she had left.
She felt power trickle through her, the same power she had used during her practice of witchcraft – except Dawn had never been able to control it before, too surprised by her untapped strength. In times past her attempting magic was like an ape trying to thread a needle. But this time? Dawn knew she could control it. There was something akin to static electricity in the air – pure power – and Dawn knew it was for her to receive.
Everyone was too busy arguing over next steps to notice her hand on the door until it was too late.
“Dawn! What the hell are you doing?” Xander exclaimed in shock.
“What needs to be done,” she answered as she pulled open the door.
Immediately the hounds approached her with saliva dripping down their mangy jaws and throaty growls echoing through the empty town. They thought they could prevent her from saving her sister but Dawn wasn’t going to allow it. One leapt at her and she shouted in a voice that carried the depth of her true age. “Ashlan a vorosko!”
The creature whined and fell mid-leap into a shaking mass of muscle before rolling over. The other hellhounds gazed at her fearfully as she turned angry eyes to them. Immediately they followed suit and rolled onto their backs, exposing the soft flesh of their stomachs to her in a show of subordination.
“Dawn? What’s going on?” Ellen asked cautiously as her shotgun pointed at the area in front of the store.
“Teaching these dogs some new tricks,” she responded in a dark voice. Then she raised her voice, filled it with power, and shouted a command. “Qursan a fukku!” As a group all the hellhounds blinked out of existence.
“Th-they gone?” Dean stuttered in surprise as the group listened to the silence of the street.
“Yup,” Dawn answered in a detached voice. Everything was happening too quickly to process but she was suddenly getting glimpses of her past and the powers that went with it. It was frightening, but at the same time Dawn knew she couldn’t focus on any of that right now – she had to find Buffy.
“Cheese and rice,” Xander whispered in awe.
“Damn Dawn, I knew you studied witchcraft but…wow,” was all Jo could say.
The rest of them muttered their own words of surprise or commendation, but Dawn waved them away. “We have to get Buffy. He’ll kill her.”
“How do you know?” Sam inquired. His soulful brown eyes assessed her and there was a hint of mistrust in them.
Dawn looked at Sam, really looked at him, and she saw for a moment why he was Lucifer’s vessel. He carried so many of his attributes, both good and bad – some of those good ones that only Lailah had been privy to. Outspoken, thoughtful, rebellious, prideful, kind, courageous – the reflection was there once she looked for it.
Curious, she gave Dean a closer look. His posture, his leadership, his stubbornness; yes, he was so very much like Michael. How had she not seen it before, these similarities?
“I just know,” she answered them. “It is something he would do. Human life means nothing to him; to him humans are no better than cockroaches infiltrating the earth.”
Sam blinked and gave her a skeptical look. “Where did all this insight come from, Dawn?”
Dawn. She frowned and squeezed her eyes tightly. For a moment she had regressed to a different part of herself…But she was Dawn. Dawn Summers. “I don’t know,” she answered slowly as she probed her own mind. “I feel like something is…changing. Almost like I’m remembering more and more of my old life.”
“Old life?” Dean said slowly as he processed her words. “Why do I feel like there’s something you’re not sharing with the class, Dawn?”
Dawn bit her lip and gave him an apologetic look. “I’m sorry. I’ve only told Bobby, Xander, and Giles, although Castiel and Gabriel figured it out somewhat on their own. I think.”
“Gabriel?” Dean shouted. “I thought I told you to leave the warehouse?”
“Well I didn’t,” Dawn rolled her eyes. “Now if you don’t mind, how about I explain after we’ve rescued Buffy?”
Nodding in agreement, they all piled into the Impala and Ellen’s car before racing to the lake’s edge. They parked nearby the lighthouse and got out apprehensively with their eyes darting around the area.
When Dawn set her foot on the soil she felt her body start to hum, like the ground was a conduit for a great power that she was currently soaking up. Dawn recognized the taste, remembered it from not only her dreams but flashes of old memory as well.
“Lucifer is nearby,” she whispered. She closed her eyes. “I can feel Castiel as well…I think he’s trapped in Holy Fire.”
“Where?” Dean asked urgently.
“Inside the lighthouse,” she said thoughtfully as she tried to find Castiel’s faint signature of power, his grace. The knowledge on how to do so came without thought – something else she would have to ponder once Buffy was safe.
“Someone needs to find him. We’re gonna need him if the Colt plan fails,” Dean announced.
Dawn flinched at his insinuation that they would kill Lucifer. She just wanted to protect Buffy…not kill her Light-Bearer.
“Jo and I will check out the area,” Ellen announced.
Xander appeared divided, like he wanted to go with Jo but he didn’t want to leave Dawn and, likewise, Buffy. “Go with them, Xand,” Dawn said softly. “We’re gonna need Cas to do some angelic teleportation and healing, I betcha.”
Xander’s eye blinked and his lips pursed, but he nodded. “Okay. Come on ladies,” he said to them as they began their search, leaving just Dawn, Faith, Sam, and Dean.
Sam cleared his throat awkwardly. “Um, guys?”
“What?” Dean asked in irritation.
“Remember all those rumors about demons being abducted or meeting someplace?”
“Yeah?” Faith prompted.
“I think we found them,” Sam announced as he pointed to the lighthouse.
“What? I don’t see—” Dawn started to say but then a breeze picked up and she saw something stir underneath the balcony at the top of the lighthouse. “Oh my god,” she whispered.
There, dangling around the balcony, were at least twenty demons of various types.
“Shit. He’s planning something wicked bad,” Faith muttered. “Let’s get in there.”
They raced for the building, mildly surprised that nothing leapt out to attack them. The lighthouse was tall, at least a hundred feet, and had a fresh coat of white paint on it that would sadly need a touch-up from the splatters of demon blood. Blood dripped from the hanging demons and formed a tidy circle around the lighthouse. As they got closer they noticed that more demon bodies, impaled into the ground using silver, were formed in a circular pattern that swirled inwards. At least fifty demons had been used and all of them were still alive, even if barely so. Some called out curses and threats while others pleaded for their lives.
A figure moved in the middle of the circular pattern and Dawn’s heart seized when she saw who it was – Lucifer.
He appeared just like he did in her dreams – he must have arrived through the form of his vessel – and he was dressed just as before. Although far off, he spotted them and waved.
“Sam, Dean, good to see you again,” he called out in a friendly tone, almost like he was a neighbor admiring their lawn. “And,” he cocked his head to the side, “Faith, the other slayer I presume? Heard a lot about you from your old boss.”
Faith let out the smallest sound of surprise before she yanked her defenses up. “What did you just say?”
“Wilkins, right? I own his soul downstairs – after all, my people were the ones who helped him start Sunnydale.” Lucifer smiled. “He says ‘howdy’, by the way.”
Faith started walking forward and the three of them followed, carefully stepping over demon bodies. “You have no right to talk about him,” she seethed as her hand clenched around the hilt of her sword.
Lucifer shrugged. “Alrighty then, just tryin’ to make conversation,” he explained easily.
Dawn had to force herself to follow the others as they got closer. They was so much power emanating from him that it would be so easy to get sucked up into the current. His presence in her dreams did not in any way prepare her for meeting him in the flesh. Lucifer’s grace, twisted as it was, still shone through his vessel in her eyes and Dawn had to force herself not to leap into his arms. His grace sang to her and she was reminded of their life in the beginning.
Catching her eye, Lucifer smiled softly and his eyes shone in anticipation. “Lailah,” he whispered breathlessly, like a man worshipping his goddess. “I knew you would come.”
Her breath caught in her throat. Lucifer’s vessel was beginning to wear down; she noticed his flesh was becoming mottled and bore signs of deterioration. Yet she had never loved him in a vessel before – in the beginning she fell in love with his grace and how it made even the sun weep at his brilliance. “Lucifer,” she greeted him lovingly.
His arm swept out to display the entire area of dead or dying demon bodies. “I’ve prepared for the spell, my love. Soon you will be restored in mind – in time I will restore you to your former luminosity as well, apart from your human form, once I have reclaimed what was once mine.”
Dawn started to take a step forward before she felt Sam yanking her back. “Dawn!” he shouted as he shook her slightly. “You’re under a spell or something!”
“Yeah, snap out of it,” Dean ordered. “Last thing we need is you feeling sympathy for the devil.” Even in this serious moment Dean seemed please by his use of a classic rock song title.
“You fail to recognize the significance of Dawn’s presence,” Lucifer frowned. “She is not under a spell – she is merely starting to remember her life, her true life.” He gestured around. “The beginning of the spell has already began breaking down some of the walls in her memory. Once I am done she will be finished.”
“Jeez, Dawn. Isn’t this the second time someone’s tried to make you a demon bride?” Faith scoffed in reference to the musically-inclined Sweet. Then she turned to Lucifer. “Where’s Buffy?”
Lucifer pursed his lips in a contemplative manner. “She’s resting from her wounds. My hound certainly took hold of her.” He smiled slightly as he turned back to Dawn. “I heard you scolded the pups back there, darling. I am surprised you already remember how.”
Dawn hesitated. “I am receiving…flashes,” she managed to say as her brain fought to organize all the new information. “They are almost overbearing. Tell me – is my memory correct? The creation of the hellhound was a gift for…me?”
His lips broke out into a wide smile. “Excellent. You are remembering,” he said victoriously. “Yes, darling. When we left you missed the canines of earth so much that I decided to create some of my own, just for you.”
She knew that some part of her would be totally grossed out by the fact that the devil created vicious human-eating soul-munching hellhounds for her, but the overpowering emotion Dawn was feeling was love. She was remembering the strength of their love, even if she didn’t have all the pieces yet.
“Listen, this ain’t an episode of ‘Passions’, pal,” Dean interrupted their moment of silence gruffly. “Sorry, Satan, but you can suck it as far as I’m concerned.”
Dawn heard the click of the gun and she leapt to knock the Colt out of Dean’s hand. “NO!” But before she could stop him, Faith grabbed her in a tight bear hug.
“Dawn, stop spazzing, dammit!” Faith cursed.
With tear-filled eyes, Dawn watched in horror as the Colt’s bullet penetrated Lucifer’s forehead. His head snapped back from the impact and then he fell lifelessly to the ground.
“No! No, no, no, no!” Dawn cried out as she struggled fruitlessly against Faith’s hold.
“Dawn, snap out of it,” Sam stated as he caught her chin with his hand. “It’s over, he doesn’t have a spell on you anymore.”
“Oww,” came a low groan that made Dawn’s heart stop – although probably for different reasons than the others. They watched as Lucifer got up, slowly to his feet.
“Holy fuck,” Faith whispered in horror.
Lucifer stared at Dean like he was both confused and extremely pissed off. “Where did you get that?” he asked in reference to the gun. Then he punched Dean so hard that the hunter flew through the air and into a nearby tree. He regarded the rest of them silently for a moment and if Faith hadn’t been holding her back, Dawn would be running to him right now.
Which, she wasn’t quite sure where this flood of emotion was coming from. This being had kidnapped her sister and just severely injured her friend – she should be angry. Yet, there was a deep longing that stirred in the depths of her soul and all she could think about was being with Lucifer again.
“What…?” Sam whispered in surprise.
“Don't feel too bad, Sam. There's only five things in all of creation that that gun can't kill, and I just happen to be one of them. But if you give me a minute, I'm almost done. Then Lailah will be restored and I will be one step closer to fixing things.”
“You sick motherfucker,” Faith snapped as she pushed Dawn into Sam’s arms and raised her sword. “You might think you’re hot shit messing with a human, but I’m a slayer. Let’s see you take me.” Faith leapt at him with a bloodcurdling warrior cry. Lucifer spun away, looking almost amused, and caught her blade when she thrust it down.
“That’s so…sweet,” he said with a humorless smile. “You with your little weapon.” He snatched it out of her hand and flung it into Lake Michigan before he grabbed her around the neck. “Slayers,” Lucifer sneered, “are abominations. Part human, part demon – they are vile additions to my Father’s once-beautiful creation.” Then he tossed her next to Dean and her skull made a sickening crack as it hit the tree.
Sam clenched her tightly from behind, hard enough that it hurt, but the pain helped to shock her. Seeing Faith being handled like that…Dawn wasn’t bff’s with her or anything but she was still part of their Scooby Family. She felt sick as she looked at Lucifer’s patient smile.
“You know, I don't suppose you'd just say yes here and now?” he asked Sam; Dawn felt Sam’s posture stiffen behind her.
“End this whole tiresome discussion? That's crazy, right?” Lucifer added.
“It's never gonna happen!” Sam vehemently disagreed.
Lucifer turned and began sprinkling water – was that holy water? – on the demon at his feet, the one in the middle of the swirling pattern of demons bodies. “Oh, I don't know, Sam. I think it will. I think it'll happen soon. Within six months. And I think it'll happen in Detroit.
Sam’s grip on her forearms tightened, thanks to his anger at Lucifer’s arrogance. “You listen to me, you son of a bitch. I'm gonna kill you myself, you understand me? I'm going to rip your heart out!”
“That's good, Sam. You keep fanning that fire in your belly. All that pent-up rage. I'm gonna need it.”
“Sam,” Dawn whispered. She felt him calm behind her and his grip lessened, although he was still holding her tightly. Problem was a bigger part of her – the part that was undeniable Dawn Summers – was feeling suddenly apprehensive of Lucifer after witnessing his violence towards her friends and hearing him speak so casually of getting Sam’s body.
“What did you do? What did you do to this town?” Sam asked.
Dawn was glad he asked because she badly wanted to know but she didn’t know if she had the strength to look Lucifer in the eyes – if she did she was afraid she’d get lost in his love again. And right now, that probably wasn’t a good idea.
“Oh, I was very generous with this town. One demon for every able-bodied man. They were sent out to find me all the demons of this world – mind you, the filthy ones, not my own children – and brought them here. Long ago Lailah opened up this world to others, at my bequest, and I brought in demons to serve in my army. It is only fitting that the descendents of those demons help to bring Lailah back to her true form.”
“And the rest of the villagers?” Sam asked.
Lucifer paused and glanced at Dawn’s fearful eyes. “In there” he said as he pointed into the lake. Dawn took in a sharp intake of air. “I know, it's awful, but these spells my Father laid upon Lailah are so demanding – to break them requires a great sacrifice. So it was women and children first, into the water.” His eyes caught hers again and Dawn felt tears trickle down her cheeks. This wasn’t the Lucifer that she remembered – this being was cold and cruel.
“I know what you must think of me, Lailah, Sam. But I have to do this. I have to. Sam, you of all people should understand.”
“What's that supposed to mean?”
Lucifer dropped the empty container of holy water and gave them both searching looks. “I was a son. A brother, like you, a younger brother, and I had an older brother who I loved. Idolized, in fact. And one day I went to him and I begged him to stand with me, and Michael—Michael turned on me. Called me a freak. A monster. And then he beat me down. All because I was different. Because I had a mind of my own. And then my Father took my wife, all because I loved his Creation too much to let it be ruined for either her or any of my brothers and sisters.”
“Tell me something, Sam,” Lucifer said with an intense stare. “Any of this sound familiar? Cruel treatment by your own brother? The loss of the woman you loved?”
He looked into the western sky and the setting sun that colored the sky in pinks and blues. “Anyway. You'll have to excuse me. It’s almost sunset and I have a ritual to finish. Don't go anywhere. Not that you could if you would.”
Lucifer flicked his hand in the direction of the lighthouse and a petite, blond-haired body began floating in their direction.
“Buffy!” Dawn cried out fearfully.
“What the hell are you doing? Leave her alone!” Sam commanded. In his surprise he released Dawn but she stood still in shock at the sight above them.
Buffy floated softly, unconscious, into the middle of the circle, next to the demon Lucifer had been anointing with water.
Lucifer gave Dawn a regretful stare. “I know this upsets you now, my love, because this body is all you have known for eight years. But once I sacrifice the blood of your relative my Father’s memory block will be broken and you will become whole. A small price to pay.”
Dawn jerked forward, intent on grabbing Buffy, but Lucifer stepped into her way. “No. You cannot kill her! She is all I have left in this world!”
“She is a lie. This body the monks formed for you? A cage. Only through destruction can we find the truth – your sister’s blood must be spilt.”
Dawn clenched the front of his shirt and stared past the blue eyes of his host and into his very grace. “Lucifer,” she whispered painfully. “If you love me, you will not hurt her. Buffy cared for me when I was defenseless, even sacrificed herself – you owe her your gratitude.”
Lucifer tilted his head as puzzlement filled his eyes. “But I am being kind. I healed her wound and rendered her unconscious so she will not feel any pain,” he stated in an almost innocent fashion, like he truly believed he was showing Buffy gratitude.
He tried to turn away from her but Dawn yanked him back. “No, Lucifer please,” she begged tearfully. Dawn knew that no one was strong enough to face him except perhaps Michael, so unless she convinced him there would be no way to stop him from killing Buffy.
His palm cupped her cheek and he pulled her against him in an impromptu hug. “Hush. Do not cry my darling. It will all be over soon.” Lucifer released her, drew out a knife, and walked towards Buffy. Dawn shook as she watched him, unsure of what to do. Meanwhile, Sam had retreated moments earlier to check on Dean and Faith; she hoped they were okay.
“It's blood, Summers blood, it's just like mine. It doesn't matter where you came from, or how you got here, you are my sister.”
“Wait!” she called out.
“Lailah,” Lucifer sighed in exasperation. He sounded tired of her words, yet he endured hearing them nonetheless – with anyone else he would have killed them by now. She knew this fact within the marrow of her bones, although how she knew was still a mystery.
“The monks made me – this body – from her. Take my blood instead.”
Lucifer paused and Dawn raced over to stand protectively over Buffy. “Please. Just try it. Perform the spell and use my blood. Please.”
He regarded her for a long moment and her heart raced under the intensity of his stare. Finally he nodded. “Give me your arms, my love.”
Dawn held it up and he took her arms and pulled her closer. Their faces were inches apart and Dawn smiled softly at the warmth she saw in his eyes. Castiel had been wrong – Lucifer did love her. “Thank you,” she murmured before she gifted him with a soft kiss. He paused for a moment, as if he wasn’t sure how to perform such an action in his vessel’s body. But then his lips were pressed against hers and pure energy pulsed between them, causing shivers to run down her back.
Lucifer pulled back reluctantly. “This will hurt. I am sorry.”
She nodded in understanding. “Do it.”
The knife sliced across her forearms; morbidly she was reminded of the time she cut herself when she found out she wasn’t a ‘real’ human. Dawn let out a hiss of air and Lucifer directed her to drip her blood in the middle of the circle, near Buffy’s unconscious body.
Chanting in a mixture of languages – one melodious and one that was guttural – Lucifer held his arms to the sky. As the ritual progressed Dawn could feel energy from the earth drawing into her body; it felt like being hit with a tidal wave. She fell to the ground convulsing under the pressure. As the pressure increased and a flood of images poured through her puny human brain, Dawn let out a shriek of pain. In her mind’s eye a rolling wave of black magic swelled above her and suddenly collapsed, effectively knocking her unconscious.
*Some dialogue (with Meg and with Lucifer especially) was taken or inspired by the episode 'Abandon All Hope', SPN S5E10. I wanted to stay true to some aspects of the episode (I really think that Sam needed to speak Lucifer in person) while putting a different spin on it. Also, for you SPN fans I decided (at this moment) not to kill a couple characters like Kripke did in the episode. Partly because I love them and partly because this version of the ep has a different focus.
*“Wilkins, right? I own his soul downstairs – after all, my people were the ones who helped him start Sunnydale.” Lucifer smiled. --- Richard Wilkins the III (not to mention the first and second) was the Big Bad of S3 of Buffy and was the one who founded Sunnydale 100 years before his death, purposely on the hellmouth. I like to think that he sold his soul to get all that power. Hell, always loving more humans on the hellmouth, gave him more than 10 years, unlike most Crossroads deals ;)
*“Ashlan a vorosko!”--- I imagine the sound of these words would be similar to the Black Tongue of Mordor from Lord of the Rings :)
*“Jeez, Dawn. Isn’t this the second time someone’s tried to make you a demon bride?” Faith scoffed in reference to the musically-inclined Sweet. ---- BTVS S6 'Once More with Feeling', the musical episode.
*“Listen, this ain’t an episode of ‘Passions’, pal,” --- A soap opera favored by Spike. Also, Giles confessed to have watched it with Spike during the boredom of his 'Man of Leisure' days.
*“Slayers,” Lucifer sneered, “are abominations. Part human, part demon---- A reference to the BTVS S7 episode when they learned that the 'Shadow Men' had created the slayer by filling a girl with the essence of a demon.
Chapter 6: Beginnings
Dawn dreamt of many things, dark and unseen to so many of this new world. She dreamed of knowledge unknown, of the beginning…the true beginning of this universe.
“They are so angry,” she whispered. She stood at the edge of a cliff that overlooked the entire city. Behind her, their castle rested upon the highest mountain on their planet, some twenty-thousand feet. The air was cooler up here and had been growing gradually colder. The warmth of the distant sun used to keep their gardens green and lush but now the land was barren. Her family’s home was a marvelous place, a castle that shimmered a rainbow of colors in the sunlight, but now it bore not even the faintest glimmer.
Their planet was dying and death was encroaching upon them all.
“They are merely afraid, Lailah,” her twin brother spoke in her ear. He wrapped his arms around her and she embraced him as well. He was always so loving; right now she surely needed it.
“Adanal, they have threatened revolt if father cannot make the sun return,” she whispered sadly as her eyes scanned the dark lands. Her eyes, like all of their kind, could see exceptionally well in the dark and now she was watching the masses converging at the base of Mt. Talvi.
“Have faith, sister. Our father has lived since the beginning of this world. He has collected much knowledge in those years,” Adanal comforted her.
Lailah kept quiet. She feared that not even her father could make the sun return…and she feared what their people would do when he failed.
She ran through the castle’s halls, her feet echoing off the natural rock carved from the mountain. Tears flooded down her face and everyone in the halls looked down respectfully as she passed. Her feet skidded to a stop outside her father’s chamber and she was met there by Adanal, his face as tear-stained as hers.
“Don’t go in there sister,” he begged her quietly, his blue eyes dark with mourning. “You do not want to be haunted by this sight.”
“I must. I cannot believe what I heard. Our father? He is immortal, like we all are!” she shook her head distrustfully. With a sigh, Adanal turned away and Lailah walked into the chamber. Their mother sat in a regal chair next to the bed with a face as still as stone, a mask of detachment save the single tear rolling down her cheek. Soundlessly Lailah walked to the bed and stared upon the sight in horror.
There was her father, his face as peaceful in death as it was so often in life, sprawled lifelessly. Dark blood had seeped into the bed and the smell of it took her by surprise. Lailah had never smelled death before; none of their people had ever died before. It was putrid and stale and it made her stomach nauseous. A sharp shard of black obsidian had been stabbed mercilessly into her father’s heart and it stood straight up in a seemingly mocking salute.
“How?” she gasped in horror.
Their mother made no move to speak and Adanal, the caretaker of their family in absence of their father, responded. “Darkness and hate were poured into that obsidian and bound by unknown magic.”
“Why?” she sobbed quietly as she tentatively touched her father’s ashen cheek.
“The rebellion have made their move,” their mother answered in a startlingly clear voice. “They thought the sacrifice of your father’s long life would satisfy the sun.” She chuckled darkly. “The fools do not realize that nothing will bring the sun back. This planet will die, and us along with it.”
She stared at her mother in shock and dismay. “But mother, we are immortal! We have lived here forever!”
Her mother’s stony face softened at her daughter’s words. She gestured towards their father. “We can all die, now. The doorway to Death has been opened, and he will chase us mercilessly.”
“There must be some way to save our land,” Adanal spoke up in a determined voice and curled fists.
“No, my son,” their mother said as she stood up and rested her hand on his shoulder. “You are the most powerful of us all, now that your father has passed, but not even you can revive the sun.”
Then their mother’s eyes brightened with the light of revelation. “Although there may be a way to save you.”
“What?” Lailah inquired.
Her mother gave her a soft look. “Your strength to open up portals to other worlds could save you. You hold the key to escape within you, my daughter.”
“I should take everyone?” she asked in confusion.
“No,” her mother spoke sharply with a gesture towards her dead husband. “Those sinful beasts have killed our majestic leader, your father, and my husband. After all he did for them, they betrayed him by committing the worst act our world has ever seen. They do not deserve it.”
She hesitated. That felt wrong to her.
“Mother is right. Her judgment has been made: the people must pay for their sins,” Adanal stated firmly.
Never one to question her mother or her brother, she nodded. “When do you want to leave, Mother?”
Her mother’s green eyes, eyes that once reflected the magnificent splendor of their gardens, grew sad. “I cannot leave your father. We are bound forever as husband and wife. I will share his fate.”
“Wait, we cannot leave without you!” she exclaimed in horror.
“Mother, please,” Adanal begged in a small voice as he grabbed her hand and pressed it against his chest.
Their mother gave a resolute shake of her head. “I will remain. But you two – you two will leave and create a new world, one without the stain of sin.”
Lailah spilt her blood that night to open a portal. Controlling the destination was always difficult but once she found a empty dimension, one that was still a blank canvass, she grabbed Adanal’s hand and leapt forward, careful to seal the doorway behind her.
Adanal was the sculptor, the creative genius. Whereas Lailah saw a black expanse of space, Adanal saw masterpieces in the making. Here their powers were increased, for they were pioneers and the first visitors to this unknown dimension; the dimension welcomed them with open arms. Adanal went to work crafting the universe of their new home. He forged billions of stars and scattered them throughout space – never again would a planet be without a star. Sometimes he and Lailah would play catch with the massive balls of gas and heat; never would they have thought that one day humans would invent a similar sport known as baseball.
From there her brother, lit within by his sheer joy at the opportunity to create their new home, created planets for all the galaxies. Her twin understood wordlessly that she missed their home and family, so he would blend the most beautiful colors to please her. Lailah particularly enjoyed the rings of Saturn. Before her brother decided all the planets needed to abide by a schedule and make routine resolutions around the sun, she used to love to spin that particular planet like a child’s toy and stare in amazement at the swirling colors.
When he crafted Earth he decided to make this one special. “I dreamt of this planet, that it would one day exhibit an untold level of miraculous success,” Adanal told her once. “This planet has the capability of greatness that will outshine even our former home.”
But once he molded the mountains and valleys and filled the oceans, Lailah was filled with loneliness. She told her brother that even though she loved him with all her heart, she missed the companionship of others
Adanal had pondered on that for a long time. Finally, he decided to create sentient beings, similar to their own people but less powerful. He created four of them named Michael, Lucifer, Raphael, and Gabriel, and called them his sons and they called him ‘Father.’ These four were never told Adanal and Lailah’s history but they knew that Lailah was the sister of their Father and thus they paid her great respect.
She cared for them from the beginning, along with her brother. They taught the brothers their mother tongue, Enochian, and how important it was to love their Father with all their heart and that disobedience was the greatest sin. The greatest worry of theirs was that one day Adanal’s creations would turn upon them much as their own father’s had.
But they weren’t terribly worried. The brothers brought great joy into their lives. Michael idolized Adanal, subconsciously mimicking her twin’s every gesture. Raphael was quiet and soft-spoken, truly a sweet creature, and clung to Michael. Gabriel’s grace was filled with humor and he loved nothing more than making them laugh. And finally there was Lucifer, the brightest light of them all. He was a devout son and passionate about their Father’s world. It was he that encouraged Adanal to build more and to teach the brothers how to create.
So Adanal crafted the flora of the world and the brothers helped to spread the seeds throughout the expanse of the earth. Soon plant life could be found everywhere, from the ocean floor to the mountains. After that Adanal crafted the many animals, both large and small, and they overran the earth. Many nights were spent basking the beauty of the earth under the warm sun or the cool night sky, enjoying the presence of all the life that Adanal had created. Lailah taught the four sons how to dance and sing, and they sang many songs of their beautiful world and the greatness of the Creator.
So encouraged by the successful growth of his sons, Adanal created more children, both sons and daughters. He wanted to teach his sons how wonderful the experience of fatherhood was, so he gave the responsibility of their siblings to Michael, Lucifer, Raphael, and Gabriel, all of whom joyfully accepted the task.
Adanal called them his angels and instructed them on how to care for the world. Their home was named Heaven and their family was named the Host. The Host of Heaven grew in love and warmth and the original brothers were shining examples of love and responsibility to their brethren.
However, Lailah in all her wisdom disagreed with Adanal for not showing his face to his new children. But he explained that his eldest, the archangels, needed to learn how to care for their siblings. What if the day came when he was killed, like their father? His sons would need to understand how to continue living in this world and his other offspring would need to truly understand the concept of faith.
Begrudgingly, she accepted his reasoning and supported his decision – as long as he blessed her desire to live amongst all the members of the Host. Adanal had smiled, pleased that she was finally happy after so many years, and he agreed. Lailah spent all her time with the angels, but there was one in particular she was drawn to: Lucifer.
The Light-Bearer was the kindest and most thoughtful of them all, yet he was also so filled with passion. He loved all of his Father’s creations fiercely and she was drawn to him, as the planets are drawn to the sun. Their bond was deep, forged by all their time together in the beginning, before Adanal decorated the earth with life. Love blossomed as they spent more time together, something Lailah had never experienced on her previous planet. But she and Lucifer were so well-matched that she almost wondered if Adanal had created the archangel just for her.
Adanal was wise and knew both his twin and his son very well. Although they hid it from the Host, their love was evident to Adanal, Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. The day came when Adanal called the intimate group together and made a declaration.
“Love is the greatest gift that I can ever give any of my children. It is all I wish for each of them. I see the love between Lailah and Lucifer. If they wish it, I will join them in marriage.”
The amount of happiness that flooded not just Lailah but their entire nuclear family, was indescribable. Clouds dissipated and sunlight rained down upon the earth for a hundred days, making each creature feel as warm as their family did. Eagerly, Lailah and Lucifer thanked Adanal and he blessed their union. They were husband and wife, the first marriage of this new world.
Their happiness lasted for countless years and they served Heaven with pleasure…until Adanal decided to create a new race. Then everything turned to ruin.
Adanal spoke before Lailah and the four archangels one day, a day that would change the paths of each of them.
“I have created the Heaven and the Earth, and it was good. I have created the land and the sea, and it was good. I have created the sun and the stars, and it was good. I have created swarms of living creatures both in the sea and on land, and it was good. Now, let I will make man and woman in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
Adanal had confided in Lailah his desire to create new life, to push the boundaries of his previous creations, so she was aware of his plan. However, she feared it. The angels were all so loving but they were crafted to be better, in mind and desire, than the race from their home dimension. But to create more sentient beings? She feared unhappiness would come from her brother’s attempt to push the envelope.
His news was met with silence by the brothers and it was Lucifer who broke it. “But why, Father? Why must man be created? Can we trust them to govern your wonderful world in the way that it deserves?”
A thunderclap sounded and her Morningstar shrank back. “Do not question me, my son. I have faith in these humans. They are my greatest creation. I command you to love them even more than you love me.”
“Yes, Father,” Lucifer replied in a quiet voice that sang of embarrassment. Lailah wrapped herself around him in support. She knew he only had Adanal’s best interests at heart but it was her brother’s fear of ending up like their father, betrayed by his own, that made him too strict sometimes.
Michael, always supportive of his father, immediately said, “Yes, Father,” and Raphael and Gabriel followed suit.
The earth below them shook and Adanal spoke again. “Go now into the Garden of Eden, for I have created Man and Woman and I shall name them Adam and Lilith.”
Lailah smiled because she knew that the humans had been named after her brother and herself. Of course, none of the angels could ever know his name or their past – Adanal thought it was better if they did not. Still, it was an inside joke that amused her and brought her closer to her brother.
The six of them emerged in the Garden of Eden, a garden that much resembled the one that once thrived outside their family’s castle before the sun went away. There, simple of mind and pure of heart, were two humans, creatures that much resembled Adanal and Lailah’s original form from their birth planet.
They each spoke to the creatures and lent their knowledge. She and Lucifer taught the man and woman about the joys of marriage. Raphael taught them how to speak to the plants and animals. Gabriel taught them the joy of laughter and happiness. Michael taught them how to worship their Father. Adanal became most enamored with them and spoke to them endlessly on many things.
One day Lucifer confided in her about his unsettling feelings. “I do not understand my Father, Lailah. How can he refrain from showing His face to my younger siblings but happily shows Himself to these humans? These humans are no better than us.”
She leaned into him as they walked along a midnight beach, they so loved the meeting of water and land and its unique spectacular presence. “Your Father is very wise, my love. He has a plan for all things, even if it may appear confusing in the beginning.”
Lucifer had gone silent and she feared his questioning. He often questioned everything in the universe, like a child was apt to do, but his voice carried the sound of disgruntlement and she knew then that her own meager words would not dispel his concern.
“Come,” she said, changing the topic. “Let us swim.” Her eyes had sparkled with mischief and Lucifer met her look with one of his own.
“Shall we ride the whales in a race?” he smirked at her. “I do believe you have yet to win, my love.”
Lailah let out a peal of delighted laughter. “We’ll see about that,” she grinned before leaping into the deep ocean water.
Lailah observed Lilith and Adam eating pomegranates under the shade of a mighty tree. Lucifer was beside her, sitting upon a tree branch, and frowned as he watched them.
“I just do not understand them. They smell and appear little better than monkeys. Why does Father love them so?”
Lailah was quiet. She knew that the presence of the humans was a thorn in Lucifer’s side. Ever since Adanal had introduced the humans into their lives and then commanded that all bow before them, his greatest creations, Lucifer had been feeling very hurt. Not only was he commanded to love something more than he loved his Father, but his Father considered a new creation his greatest creation – not Lucifer and the rest of the angels.
Of course, she knew that Adanal loved these humans so much because, although they lacked the great power of their race, they were incredibly similar to their own people. Adanal viewed them as an attempt to do as their mother commanded prior to their departure: to create a new world without the stain of sin. Ultimately, she felt that Adanal wanted to succeed where their father had failed.
“He still loves you and all your siblings,” she comforted her husband.
Lucifer turned sad eyes to her. “But he loves them more.”
She said nothing. To contradict him would be a lie and Lailah hated lying to him.
Michael and Lucifer were arguing again. Their fight had taken to the skies and was lit by lightning.
Lailah stood with Gabriel, the youngest of the archangels who was almost like a son to her. Lucifer was closest to him as well, having taught his brother many types of magic.
“I hate it when they fight,” he stated sorrowfully, his grace tightened in pain.
“I know.” She folded against him in comfort. “They are too much alike. Stubborn and strong. More so, Lucifer takes after your Father a great deal. He is creative and looks at everything in a new way. But Michael cannot accept that, he will not allow his Father to be questioned.”
“Do you think Lucifer is correct to question Father?”
Lailah hesitated. “Lucifer is who he is. I believe that everything happens for a reason.” She sighed. “But I do wish he would bring less strife into our family.”
“It’s the humans’ fault,” Gabriel stated in a cold voice as he watched his brothers fight.
“No,” Lailah corrected him sharply. “They are innocents in this. Never fault them for such a thing. The actions of your brothers are theirs alone.”
Chastised, Gabriel cowered under the weight of her voice. “Yes, Lailah.”
But even as she said those words, not even Lailah herself could stop the spark of anger directed at the humans. If only they hadn’t been created Lucifer wouldn’t feel so hurt and angry all the time. If it was not for them, they would still be a happy family.
Lailah had brought her concerns to Adanal. “Brother, I fear that the creation of the humans have only driven a wedge into our family. Why create them?”
Adanal was her twin but he had always been more blessed with talent and wisdom than she. Then, throughout the course of creating this world, his abilities had grown exponentially and he far outshone her. She knew he must have his own reasons for his actions, even if she was not able to fully comprehend them.
“Lailah,” he sighed, almost hurt that she, too, was questioning him. “When I created the angels I made them too like us, too powerful. With such power comes great responsibility. I wanted to create beings who were not so similarly burdened, like the animals of the land and sea, but with greater intellect.”
He paused. “And you know my commitment to mother’s wish of a world without the stain of sin. Unlike my angels, these humans live truly within the world I’ve created. They are more like you and I than even the angels. I love them, Sister. I do.”
She had watched her brother shine with sincerity and mulled over his words. “I understand. But…but what if the humans turn against you, against us, as father experienced?”
Adanal gave her a pained look. “Perhaps they will. It is out of my hands. The cycle of life must continue, I cannot hold my creations captive just because of what may or may not occur.”
Lailah left then for Lucifer’s warm embrace. There was an ache in her spirit that she could not rid herself of and she required the comfort of her true love; he was like a balm to her soul.
“Something troubles you,” Lucifer spoke to her as they swam in the salty ocean. An octopus had found them and Lailah was giggling as she watched it swim in its peculiar fashion. She honestly enjoyed all of her brother’s creations.
“Please Lucifer, not now,” she sighed. Her conversation with her brother and other dark thoughts were plaguing her.
He swam up behind her and held her tight, trailing soft kisses down her neck and shoulder. “You are so tense. Talk to me, my love.”
She leaned into his embrace and debated on what to say. On one hand, her worries stemmed from her past life and she knew Adanal had forbidden that they speak of it. On the other, she loathed hiding anything from her husband. Speaking softly, she began to confide in him.
“There was another world, once.”
“Another?” he asked in surprise.
Lailah nodded. “There are many worlds, darling. Since birth I have been gifted with the ability to cross into them.”
Lucifer was silent. “What are they like?” he asked in a hushed voice.
“Some are very pretty, teeming with life such as here, but others are dark places overrun by demons.”
“Evil creatures,” she clarified.
“You worry about demons?”
“No,” she shook her head with a small smile. If only it were that simple. “In a different world I know, the people murdered their one true father, their king, in a shameful display of ignorance. I…sometimes I fear it could happen here.”
After a pause, Lucifer spoke. “You fear the humans.”
“No…yes. I do not know. I know I cannot live in fear but it is hard.” The image of her father’s corpse flashed in her mind.
“Already I see how the Lilith and Adam have ripped off living branches to form their huts,” Lucifer sneered. “I see how they have begun to dominate the Garden. I have a deep feeling that one day they will destroy Father’s creation.” His voice was angry and strong; he was so passionate about the beauty of this world.
Lailah sighed. “Your Father did give them dominion over this world,” she reminded him gently. She already regretted confiding in her Lucifer. He was so angry about the humans that she knew she only fanned the fire but the acidic taste of lies had been on her tongue for too long – she longed to share everything with her husband.
They were all shocked the day that Lilith denounced her marriage to Adam, claiming that they were equals and that he tried to dominate her as he did the rest of the earth. Adanal had been so angry that she would not even try to make their union work, that he sent her to a dark place deep within the earth for punishment.
Lailah knew that truly Adanal was angry at himself for not better creating the two for a perfect union. She also knew that he feared his failure at creation and vowed to do better.
So he created Eve, a new woman, from Adam’s rib, certain that since she was made from Adam they would truly be made for each other.
Meanwhile, she overheard Lucifer speaking in sly tones to some of the other angels, such as Samael and several others. She knew that they disliked the humans and could not bring themselves to love Adam and Eve more than they loved their own Father.
Lailah knew they were wrong to think so, and that Adanal would be furious if he knew they weren’t obeying him, but she bit her tongue. The fighting within Heaven was escalating as the arguments between Michael and Lucifer became occurred more frequently. She did not want to bring further anger into their family.
More so, she could not betray her Lucifer, no matter what dangerous words his tongue delivered.
“Brother, please stand by me!” Lucifer pleaded as he stared in Michael’s eyes. “You know I speak truly!”
Lailah did not want to watch but she could not tear her eyes away. Gabriel and Raphael watched with her in silence, each of them flanking her, almost like they were shielding her.
“You are a monster, an abomination!” Michael spat. His voice grated over their ears like shifting rock, and Lucifer recoiled in pain. “Wicked and evil, how can you even think that our Father’s creations need to be destroyed?”
“The humans are no better than apes!” Lucifer stated hotly. “They will be the ones to destroy our Father’s Creation, all of this great world!”
Michael growled, grabbed Lucifer, and slammed him down. “Take it back!”
“Michael, please,” Lailah said in a soft tone. “He only has our best interests at heart.”
Michael stared at her with surprise and a smidge of contempt. But before he could speak, Adanal appeared before them.
“You are wrong, Lailah. Lucifer has no one’s best interests at heart, but himself and his pride. Lucifer, you have broken my commandment time and time again. I ordered you to love the humans more than me.”
“But I love you too greatly, Father!” Lucifer declared fervently. “You are our Creator, the forger of this world! You are much better than those hairless apes you command us to love more!” His eyes shone with pain and Lailah felt her heart break at the sight – and what she knew would come.
Oh yes, she knew just by looking in her brother’s eyes. They so closely resembled their mother’s when she declared her judgment for their people, that they should die for their sins instead of finding escape from a dying world.
“You are sin-filled and I denounce you as my son,” Adanal pronounced, his voice rolling over them like an avalanche. “I cast you out of Heaven, Lucifer. Leave.”
“What?” Lucifer gasped.
Lailah could only cry. She knew there was no stopping her brother.
Gabriel joined her with tears of his own. His family meant the world to him and she knew the breaking of this family would scar him forever.
Raphael appeared conflicted. He wanted to follow Michael and stand behind their Father’s decision, but his eyes were pained at the realization his brother was cut off, forever, from their family.
Michael, ever loyal, grasped Lucifer’s shoulders and prepared to throw him down to the earth.
“Lailah!” Lucifer cried, his voice a mix of pain and hurt as he stared at her with pleading eyes.
She glanced from him to Adanal. “Please, brother. Please do not cast Lucifer out. He is my husband and I love him.”
“He has sinned and he must receive punishment. You are free of his sin and thus must stay here, with me.”
Lailah rushed to Lucifer’s side and embraced him. “No, Adanal. You cannot rip him away from me! We are bound.” She lovingly caressed her husband’s cheek. “Please give him another chance,” she asked.
Adanal shook his head fiercely. “He has had too many, already. Stand aside, sister.”
Her world froze as she looked at Lucifer, her soul mate, the one she was bound to, and then Adanal, her brother, her twin, one who she had known for eternity.
“Do not make me choose,” she begged.
Adanal paused. “There is a…choice? You contemplate leaving me and all of Heaven, all of our family, so that you may join your sinful husband?” His eyes burned into her very soul and Lailah found herself weeping.
“He is my other half, I love him,” she explained. “I love you as well, my brother. I do not want to leave either of you.”
Adanal’s expression hardened and she felt the four archangels staring at the two of them in silent fear. “That there is even a choice in your mind tells me you have already made yours.” His voice rang out over the heavens. “Lailah, I cast you out of Heaven, along with your husband Lucifer.”
“No!” Lailah cried as she felt Lucifer clinging to her. Michael grasped them both and threw them forcefully into the earth, where they plunged into the ocean and past the rocky floor, into the depths of the earth where Lilith was kept.
When Dawn woke up she felt feverish from the memory of hell’s heat and not even her tears could cool her skin or soothe her heart.
Her tears coated her face and she tried to wipe them away – but she couldn’t. Confused, she craned her neck and realized her wrists and ankles were bound. She was strapped to a small cot in a dark room coated with iron.
She was in the Watchers’ Council Panic Room, fashioned similarly to Bobby Singers’ and located in the bowels of the Council building.
Irked that she was being held captive, she jerked her bounds and thrust up and down in her bed like a wild cat. A throat cleared and she looked up in surprise. He stood in the corner with an emotionless expression, but it was clear he was fighting to appear so. Even if she had not seen him in this form weeks ago, she would have known his name regardless. His grace, warped but still true, glimmered under the skin of his vessel.
“Gabriel,” she said, her voice merely a croak after lack of use.
Emotion shone in his eyes but he quickly locked it away.
“You remember.” It was a statement, not a question. Accusatory, almost.
She swallowed heavily and moistened her tongue. “Yes. I remember…The memories are swirling in my mind like a hurricane. I am both Dawn Summers and…Lailah.” The name sounded strange departing from her human lips.
Gabriel looked down at the floor. “When you left Father forbid your name. We could only refer to you as ‘the Key’.”
Quiet, she studied him. “Are you here to do His will? Are you here to capture me…or even kill me?”
His head jerked up and pain flashed in his eyes. “No!” Gabriel vehemently denied. “I want nothing to do with his plans – or anyone’s plans for that matter.”
Ah. So Gabriel had decided to distance himself from both Michael and Lucifer. Interesting.
“Then why have you come?”
Sighing, he cautiously approached her. “Castiel found me and begged for my help in dealing with you. He was afraid of what you may become and Buffy wanted to keep you here.”
He answered her unfinished question. “That night at the lake Castiel was saved from the holy fire by those humans of his, the one-eyed one and his girlfriend and her mother, and then he rescued Dean, Faith, and Sam.” He let out a humorless laugh. “But he feared claiming you and the slayer from Lucifer on his own, so the Red Witch was called. Her and that tweed guy were on call, apparently.”
“Willow,” she whispered. The Watchers’ Council had been on alert when Dawn and the others went to find Lucifer so she supposed she shouldn’t be surprised that they stepped in.
Gabriel nodded. “She used a great deal of magic to steal you both away. I hear Lucifer was very angry but apparently confident that you would return to him, after that the spell broke down Father’s memory spell. They’re all fine now though, in case you were wondering,” he added, almost mockingly.
Biting her lip, she reminded herself simultaneously thank Willow and yell at her. “She could have gotten killed, going up against him.”
Her youngest archangel, one who was most like a son to her, gave her a frank assessment. “Would you have cared if she had died?” he asked calmly, as if asking if she preferred Pepsi Max or Coke Zero.
“Oh course!” she responded heatedly.
“Really?” he asked, surprise evident on his face.
“Gabriel, just how do you think of me?” she asked in a hurt voice as she watched him struggle to find words.
“Lail…Dawn…you joined him. You fought against us.” Eyes shining with pain, he took one step backwards. “I…Willow is human. You hate humans. How can you love her?” he asked in bafflement.
She paused and mulled over his words. He was right. As Lailah she held no love towards humans, although she did pity the fact that they were no better than pawns in a game. But now…although she understood to the core who she was and the successes and failures in her long life, she was different from how she used to be. The love she felt for Buffy and her friends had not become diminished by her recent knowledge. She was still Dawn, in a way.
“Gabriel, I still love Willow, as I love all the humans I know.” She glanced down at her body. “I am human now. Dawn Summers.” She gave him a loving look. “I love you as well. I never stopped.”
He tentatively touched the softness of her bare arm and spoke softly. “You betrayed us.” Gabriel sighed and looked away. “Father betrayed you.” Another sigh. “I hate all of it.” His words were soft, anguished, and they made her wonder what her archangel had gone through since she was expelled from this world.
She closed her eyes tightly and swept through her mind for an old memory of the very beginning, when she, Adanal, Michael, Lucifer, Raphael, and Gabriel were a happy family. She transferred that memory to him through their touch and his eyes lit up.
“That was a good moment,” he said with a soft smile as he closed his eyes.
“It was,” she agreed.
He blinked open his warm amber eyes. “Do you have access to your powers now?” His voice was thoughtful, but also slightly fearful.
“I’m not sure,” she replied slowly. “The knowledge is there but Lucifer was right – this body is a prison for my essence. I cannot access my true powers, just faint shadows of what I once was.”
Gabriel had recoiled when she mentioned his brother. “I suppose you will want to return to your husband now?” he asked in a harsh voice, certain that she would betray all of them again.
She didn’t give him the satisfaction. “Gabriel, I love Lucifer. He is my mate for eternity. However…”
“However?” he asked in a voice that was hesitantly hopeful.
Shaking her head, she answered him in a tight voice. “However, I don’t know if I know him as well as I once did. Viewing his actions through the lens of my humanity, I am appalled. Yet he is still my love. We are still bound. I don’t want him dead.”
She bit her quivering lip because she felt like she was betraying Lucifer with just her words. Even though she knew he had turned darker – darker than the day they were expelled, darker than their days during the war – she still couldn’t help but yearn to go to him right now, regardless of all his actions.
Sitting down on her cot and holding her right hand, Gabriel nodded. “I don’t want him dead either. Or Michael. But the prophecy states that Lucifer will take his vessel, Sam Winchester, and Michael will take his, Dean Winchester.”
Gabriel let out a sarcastic laugh at the blatant comparison between his brothers and the Winchesters. “As it was in Heaven, so it must be on Earth.”
“And humanity will get trampled in the process either way,” she added sadly.
Gabriel turned to her then with a trusting look, one she recognized from the first day he was created and clung to her as she taught him about his Father and his new life. “Is there anything we can do?”
Her dam of emotion finally broke under the weight of his faithful, almost innocent stare that took her back to a time long ago. She knew what fate ordained and she knew it would kill her if Lucifer died, yet she also did not want him to wipe out humanity anymore. “I don’t know,” she answered truthfully before the tears began falling.
After releasing her, she and Gabriel walked through the Council building later that day. Their footsteps echoed through the seemingly empty building and most of the rooms were dark.
“Where is everyone?”
He shrugged carelessly. “They called together some sort of war council meeting to discuss the apocalypse.” Although Gabriel did not hate humans – perhaps he even loved them – it appeared that he did not consider their actions particularly noteworthy.
“Already? That was rather quick,” she commented.
He threw her a slight smirk, one that looked so much better on his face than the sadness she had seen earlier. “You were unconscious for almost two weeks.”
“Oh my g—” But she cut herself off because suddenly that her old expression – Dawn’s old expression – just didn’t seem right now that she knew god was her brother.
As if sensing her sudden discomfort with the g-word, Gabriel’s smirk grew.
“Yeah, yeah, yuck it up at the immortal-turned-human,” she told him with a wry smile.
“You know,” he began mischievously, “this could be fun. I could see your life as an excellent reality TV series.”
She stopped and pinned him with a dark look. “Gabriel, don’t you even dare. I heard all about your channel surfing experiment with the boys. Don’t you even think about it.” She smacked him on the arm and continued walking as he snickered softly. The light moment between them felt good, really good, and she hoped she could repair her relationship with the archangel.
The Council conference room was the largest room in this converted mansion. It was sized to accommodate creatures of varying sizes, since they did have some demonic allies and occasionally tried to use diplomacy to dispel wars against demonic tribes. She wasn’t quite sure what her friends would think of her now so she walked in as bravely as she could and hoped for the best.
Buffy immediately was at her side and hugging her. She gasped under her strength but hugged her back as fiercely as she could. Her sister smelled of warm vanilla, of home. She was surprised by the swell of love she felt at her touch.
When they had finished she grinned in amusement. “Wow, you must have really thought I was dying, huh?”
Buffy cuffed her softly. “Don’t make jokes, she warned in a serious, yet light, voice as she wrapped her arm around her and led her sister to the table.
“Well Dawn, I daresay it is fortunate you survived. We are just beginning on meeting on the apocalypse, please join us,” Giles informed her with a kind smile at the head of the table.
She nodded numbly, trying to just take it all in, as her eyes roved around the room.
The Scoobies were all present: Buffy, Giles, Xander, Willow, Faith and even Andrew. Hunters were present as well: the Winchesters, of course, but also Ellen, Jo, and Bobby. Castiel and Gabriel were of course present, but there were several individuals that she was surprised, but glad, to see.
After the Los Angeles apocalypse that the Council had assisted Angel Investigations with, neither team saw the other very often. However, today Angel, Spike, Wesley, and Gunn were sitting around the table. Dawn smiled brightly at them and gave them a little wave.
After being immersed in ancient memories for so long, she was surprised by the happiness she felt at seeing so many people she loved from this lifetime in one room.
“Glad to see you up an’ at ‘em, Niblet,” Spike smiled.
“Yeah and you look good too,” Andrew chimed. “I thought after making out with Lucifer you’d be looking a’la Dark Willow.”
Her lips pursed at his insensitivity and her heart squeezed painfully – even though she was internally wrestling with what was wrong and what was right, she missed her Lucifer greatly. Therefore, she was pleased to see Xander smack the younger watch over the head. Gabriel, for his part, gave the young man a dirty look and snapped his fingers. A box appeared in front of Andrew, gift wrapped.
“Oooh, a present!” Andrew exclaimed happily.
“Andrew, I don’t think you should…” she started to warn, but then stopped when Gabriel winked at her.
“Where did that come from?” Giles questioned thoughtfully as Andrew ripped open the paper.
“ZO MY GOD!” Andrew shouted enthusiastically. “This is one of the rarest Star Wars toys ever made, the 1980 Rocket Firing Boba Fett that was yanked off the shelves by the company, Kenner, because of the poor safety construction! In fact, they deny even ever making one but, wow, I knew they did! And here it is in its original packaging!”
Everyone stared at Andrew with varying emotions – from envious, like Xander, to ‘that’s retarded’ like Dean, to amused, like Ellen. Of course, then there was Castiel whose head was tilted to the sigh as he struggled to understand the meaning of Andrew’s rambling.
Then the box burst into flames and Andrew let out a high-pitch scream. “NOOOOO!”
Gabriel snickered and the focus of the room turned to him.
“Y-you! I-I knew you were a bad angel-slash-trickster god!” Andrew stated with an accusing finger as most of the room outright laughed or at least released a small snort of amusement.
Shrugging, Gabriel caught her eye and winked. “Hey, that’ll teach you some tact. Especially when it concerns Dawn.” With that final sentence he gave the watcher a formidable look.
Andrew sniffled. “So…you were just teaching me a lesson? That wasn’t the real Rocket Firing Boba Fett in his original packaging?”
“Oh no, it sure was. Actually, it was the last one in existence,” Gabriel grinned devilishly.
Andrew started crying, Giles said “Oh Lord” as he cleaned his glasses, and Dean shot Gabriel a dirty look.
“Way to make the geek cry, Gabriel. You’re such a dick.”
“Takes one to know one, Deanie,” Gabriel shot back.
Dean started to retort but Buffy spoke up first. “Guys! Geez. Can we please stop screwing around for a minute? I want to figure out what the devil’s next steps are and why he’s hell-bent on making my little sister his bride, okay?”
Silence reigned. She noticed that Castiel kept sneaking glances at her but he refrained from saying something.
“Well, the Colt didn’t work,” Sam began. “Not to mention, I’m going to kill Crowley for screwing with us.”
“So now we need a new way to kill Satan. Ideas?” Buffy asked.
Dawn and Gabriel shared a long look. They knew what could kill Lucifer…but neither of them truly wanted that, no matter what chaos he brought into this world. When an angel died, they didn’t go to heaven or to hell. They died, just as her father had on her home planet. They were gone forever from the world and there would be no way of bringing them back.
“Actually, I think we first need to hear about Dawn and the freaky fetish the devil has for her,” Dean pointed out across the table from her.
Flanked by Willow and Buffy, she leaned back in her chair. “I…I don’t know if I want to talk about it just yet.” Holy flying cupcakes she didn’t want to talk about it, none of it! If they knew what sins she had committed they would be ‘ganking’ her in no time.
Buffy grasped her hand. “It’s okay, Dawn. You’re safe now,” she said in a soft voice. “What happened out there?”
Dawn glanced at Sam. “I assume Sam repeated our interaction with,” she swallowed heavily, “Lucifer?”
Sam nodded. “I told them everything.”
“And what I want to know is if Satan was lying or not. Demons love to lie,” Dean stated in a voice that said ‘please tell us he was lying’.
“Um.” She shook her head. “The day was kind of fuzzy…what did you tell them, Sam?”
Sam shared a look with Dean and Faith. “Well, first you commanded the hellhounds. Later Lucifer said he made them for you as pets. He called you Lailah, said you were his wife. Said his dad – God – put a spell on you and that his ritual was supposed to fix you...and he also said you were responsible for bringing the flesh and blood demons into this world.”
She shrank against the intensity of the stares of seventeen individuals. She could never tell them the true story of Creation, that her brother Adanal and she were refugees from another world and he crafted this one as he desired. But what could she tell them to sate their curiosity?
“Dawn, it would be best if you shared all information with us,” Castiel spoke. “Perhaps you know, from your past, a way to kill the devil.”
Hearing one of her angels wish for a method to end the life of his brother made her suddenly angry. She expected nothing better from the humans in the room, simply because they do not know, but one of her very own?
“Castiel,” she snapped. The angel’s eyes widened in surprise at the tone of her voice. “He may be the ‘devil’ but he is still your brother.”
Tensions engulfed the room as everyone stared at her in shock, save Gabriel. He was frowning gloomily as he glanced from her to Castiel.
Castiel tried to speak but she cut him off with a wave of her hand. “You all want to know if I remember? I do. I lived with God and all the angels since the beginning of Creation. Our family was full of happiness and each day was a blessing. I remember listening to Gabriel’s first joke” – the archangel smiled wistfully – “and even remember seeing you, Castiel, the day you, Uriel, and the others of your age saw the world for the first time.”
Castiel appeared surprised that she remembered him. Silly angel. He was so young when she was expelled from Heaven that he didn’t realize she counted each and every angel, regardless of age, as her family and knew their names by heart.
“So yeah,” she added in a more melancholy tone. “I remember. I remember the pain of my family being ripped apart. But what I don’t want to ever see or feel is the death of my family, ever again.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Dean, ever insistent and take charge, uttered in alarm. “Are you saying that you used to be an angel before you became the Key and then a human? Like Anna?”
Anna. Yes…Dawn remembered hearing the story of Anna Milton, formerly – and currently thanks to the Winchesters – the angel Anael. With her new memories as Lailah she could remember the unique curiosity that Anael displayed when it came to earth and the lives of Adam and Lilith and Adam and Eve. Idly, she wondered if Anael had found happiness during her time on earth.
“Ah, you all know that I am the Key?” Dawn asked the room, watching them nod in response. Not that she was surprised, it was evident they had been discussing much while she slept. “But no, I wasn’t an angel. I’ve always been the Key.”
“So…God created you?” Willow asked in awe. The powerful witch was closely tied to the elements and nature so she had a strong respect Gaia, the goddess of the earth, as well as other goddesses.
“No,” Dawn shook her head. “My origins are a mystery.”
“But don’t you know?” Wesley, ever the seeker of knowledge, asked.
Annoyed by the barrage of questions and desiring to hear no more on this topic, she gave him a hard look. “I know and God himself knows. No other being will ever be privy to it.” Her clear, cold voice cut off further questioning on that topic and everyone went silent – some even appeared afraid of her.
Which wasn’t what she had wanted. “I’m sorry,” she apologized with a sigh. “But there are certain things I am forbidden to tell. However...” She caught the eye of every friend around the table. “I will tell you about my past so you can understand.”
So she told them of what she had dreamt after Lucifer’s ritual, from the beginning days with God and the archangels to when He cast her down along with her husband. She did, of course, leave out Adanal’s name, the fact that he was her brother, and that they were from another planet. After the story of Creation and the Fall, however, Dawn couldn’t bring herself to continue.
“So what happened when you went on the highway to hell?” Dean inquired, almost grinning to himself at his use of yet another rock and roll song title.
She looked at her sister. Buffy was unusually quiet and subconsciously had shifted herself away from Dawn. If she told them the next part she feared that they may hate her forever.
“Hey, I’m hungry. How ‘bout we take an intermission?” Gabriel asked suddenly .
“I really don’t think that’s necessary,” Giles stated in an authoritative tone.
Gabriel snapped his fingers and a hot cup of Twinings Earl Grey, several scones, and bangers and mash, suddenly appeared in front of the Director of the Watcher’s Council. Likewise, the favorite foods and drinks of everyone in the room appeared in front of their seat. “Dig in!” the archangel-turned-trickster declared cheerfully as he dipped a spoon into his three-foot sundae.
“Dawg, this is ballin’!” Faith declared. “This pie tastes just like Diana used to make!” Faith never discussed her deceased watcher very often but they all knew that her name was Diana.
“Mmm, lemme taste,” Dean murmured as he eyed Faith’s pie next to him.
“No way!” she laughed. “You got more pie than you can handle, bub.” But then Dean licked off some coconut cream from her upper lip and suddenly Faith stopped complaining.
“How did you make this?” Willow asked Gabriel as she chewed thoughtfully on some moo goo gai pan. “The laws of magic make it incredibly hard to create something out of nothing, especially food.”
Gabriel snorted in amusement and pointed to himself. “Helloooo, trickster?” He shrugged. “Mmmkay, and archangel. Point is, Red, I can do whatever I want.”
Then he looked to Dawn and winked. She mouthed ‘thank you’ and began chewing on a slice of her favorite comfort food – pizza with anchovies. She really loved her crazy little angel.
They continued eating for almost an hour, thanks to Gabriel whipping up more delicious dishes and, likely, doing some sort of magic to make them forget about asking her questions for the time being. It amused her, in a way, at how he was taking care of her – talk about a role reversal.
Honestly, she was quite surprised that he had forgiven her so easily for her transgressions. Something told her that Gabriel had been lonely for a very long time if he was willing to overlook her sins against their family
“Angel,” Giles murmured to the souled vampire – and yes, it was very amusing when both Castiel and Gabriel looked – “I just got a call from Security. They said that Illyria and Lorne are at the gate and she’s causing a fuss.”
“Oh, dammit,” Angel swore. “Tell them to just let her through. She’s harmless, mostly.”
Giles nodded and proceeded to give directions on his phone.
…Illyria…this was a moment when memories from both aspects of her soul were meshing together.
“Angel,” Dawn said hastily. “Um, does Illyria have to come?”
Buffy’s first boyfriend gazed at her in confusion. “You haven’t met her before?”
“No,” she shook her head, wondering what would have happened if they had met.
“She’s fine Dawn, she’s not as bad as people say,” Angel reassured her.
“Yes, especially in comparison to her first few days and weeks,” Wesley agreed. “Many times she has proved helpful in the fight against evil.”
“Illyria…the Old One?” Castiel suddenly spoke up. Throughout the entire dinner he had just observed them all, seeing as he did not need to eat. “You have aligned yourself with such a dark creature?”
“She ain’t that bad mate. Not quite as powerful as she once was, locked up in her human shell. Plus, she’s pretty housebroken,” Spike said comfortingly.
“I am not housebroken, vampire,” an even and low female voice interrupted them. Lorne, the green-skinned red-eyed singing demon she had met once before, entered the room with a fairly tall and very blue woman at his side. Her eyes glowed blue, her skin was tinted with it, and her hair was streaked with it. She wore an interesting leather-like body suit that clung to her like a second skin.
“Don’t fret, pet. I was just explaining to angel-boy here that you’re on our side,” Spike explained.
Illyria’s head tilted to the side as she blinked at Spike in confusion. “But Angel is aware of my work. We have a long-established partnership going on five years.”
Spike let out a snort of laughter. “No, luv, I meant the real angels in the room – Castiel and, over there, Gabriel.”
Castiel stood to his feet with a suspicious look on his face while Gabriel looked like a giddy teenage boy as he eyed Illyria’s tight outfit. “I am Castiel, an Angel of the Lord. These vampires have vouched for you.” He frowned, like he realized that would be an absurd reason to trust someone in a normal circumstance. “But I remember you and your kind as a plague on this world. I must be told whether you intend to help or hinder our cause.”
Illyria walked up to the taller angel and stared him coolly in the eyes. “How dare you demand such things as me. I used to destroy your brethren when I ruled this earth!”
“I remember,” Castiel answered darkly as the air crackled with power.
“Heya,” Gabriel interjected with a charming smile as he slid in between the two. “What do ya say we just keep the past in the past? Castiel, you’re now an angel cut off from Heaven trying to help save humanity. Illyria, you’re now a smoking hot babe-slash-god king doing the same thing, helping humanity. Can’t we all just get along?” he grinned.
Illyria looked down at her body. “Am I fire?” she asked in mild concern.
“I do not see any smoke nor infant babes near you,” Castiel answered her in a perplexed voice.
Dean snickered and jerked a thumb in their direction. “Oh geez, looks like Cas just found the perfect girlfriend.”
Gabriel sighed. “I was commenting on the attractiveness of your human shell,” he explained with a slightly leering smile.
“Oh.” Illyria looked him up and down. “There is something familiar about you, angel. What did the vampire call you?”
“Well, most god-folks around here know me as Loki but you, you babe can call me Gabriel – especially since that idiot vampire spilled the beans” the archangel glared at Spike.
Illyria’s nostrils flared in response. “Gabriel?” she hissed. “You are the one who locked me in the Deeper Well and cut me off from the world!”
“Oh…yeah,” Gabriel recognized. “Huh. So does that mean you’re not interested in the horizontal mambo with me?” he asked flippantly.
She responded by grabbing his neck and slamming him against the wall, leaving a perfect angel-sized dent.
“Oh, that is hot,” Dean whispered with a grin.
Faith subtly licked her lips. “Mmm-hmmm. Definitely gives some of the down low tinglies.”
(Yup. Those two really were a good fit for each other.)
“I will melt your eyeballs and drink them like wine!” Illyria threatened, her lips curling into a sneer.
Gabriel’s face turned dark and serious, a true reflection of his greater power. “Listen babe, I’m not someone you want to mess with.”
Suddenly fearing what would happen if these two powerful beings came to blows, Dawn stood up. “Stop it, now! Illyria, drop him!”
Perplexed, Illyria turned around to face Dawn while still having her hand clenched around Gabriel’s neck. She stared curiously at Dawn and then, as she began to recognize her spirit, the God King gasped and dropped Gabriel to the floor. Swiftly she walked around the long conference table and knelt before Dawn, her left fist against her chest.
“Great Mother, forgive me! I did not realize the angel was a pet of yours,” Illyria stated in a clear voice.
“I’m not anyone’s pet,” Gabriel whined as he got to his feet, absent-mindedly brushing off dirt.
Meanwhile, Buffy’s jaw, like everyone else’s, dropped at the sight of Illyria bowing before Dawn. “Huh with the what now?”
*“Would you have cared if she had died?” he asked calmly, as if asking if she preferred Pepsi Max or Coke Zero.-------- a reference to the Pepsi Max commercials starring Richard Speight, Jr AKA the Pepsi Max guy AKA the Trickster/Gabriel! (such fun commercials, you *must* youtube them! ;)
*Rocket Firing Boba Fett: here and here
* “Helloooo trickster?” —taken from ‘Changing Channels’, when he says this to Dean and Sam. I just love his delivery of that line.
*On Illyria and Dawn—Illyria calling Dawn ‘Mother’ is an idea that stemmed from several places and (you know me) I like to give credit where credit is due: AllenPitt for saying in a review “Hm, so Illyria would recognize the Key on site, then?”, then me thinking “Oh yeah, she would!” and then me thinking of the ‘Mother of All’ just shown in a recent SPN S6 ep (not that Dawn is that person, the idea just got my brain going on the ‘mothers’ of this verse) and then me remembering Joyful’s story Four Square where Illyria was protective of Dawn and called her ‘Mother’. So yeah, all that shifting through my head produced the Illyria-Dawn connection. Thank you, AllenPitt and Joyful!
Chapter 8: Relating
As Illyria bowed before her and everyone important in her human life stared at her in mixed surprise and suspicion, Dawn gave them a sheepish smile. “Uh…You’re probably wondering what’s going on…”
“Uh, yeah Dawn,” Buffy stated in irritation. Goodness her older – er…‘spose that was ‘younger’ now? – sister truly had a control freak must-know-everything type of personality. Of course, given the circumstances it was rather understandable. “What is going on?”
Illyria stood up swiftly and looked down at Buffy. “Watch your tone when you speak to the Great Mother, human. She answers to no one.”
Buffy’s muscles tensed; she was already freaking out about the apocalypse and Dawn, and did not need yet another object of contention. “Get. Out. Of. My. Face.” Her voice was low and dangerous, and it whispered ‘slayer.”
“Illyria, please,” Dawn said in exasperation. “I don’t want anyone fighting in here.”
Illyria turned to her and nodded. “As you wish, Great Mother.” She blinked several times. “When Lucifer was caged and you were seized by Heaven we thought you to be dead. It is an honor to witness your great light again.”
Dawn smiled slightly. Although she did not feel comfortable anymore being addressed so formally, nor did she feel comfortable with the role she played in Illyria’s ‘birth’, she was appreciative of her words. “Thank you, Illyria. Please,” she gestured towards the seat next to Wesley. “Join us.”
“As you wish,” Illyria nodded and claimed her seat next to the former watcher.
Still standing, Dawn lowered her eyes for a moment before resigning herself to her fate.
“Dawn?” Buffy asked expectantly.
Dawn caught the eyes of Gabriel and Castiel and silently begged their forgiveness in advance. Out of everyone in this room it was they who had the right to be angriest with her.
“After we fell from Heaven…” Dawn swallowed heavily. Even saying the mere phrase out loud hurt her spirit. “We fell into the darkness of the earth, into the heat.” She shivered as she remembered the intensity of the fire there burning into her very soul. “We found Lilith’s spirit there, trapped for her crimes, and Lucifer he…” she bit her lip. “You see, he was incensed at his Father and hurt, truly hurt, that he was so easily cast aside.”
“Oh yeah, I’m playing a freakin’ violin for the guy. Come on, Dawn, he was evil!” Dean scoffed. Several of the others nodded in agreement at his outburst.
Dawn turned burning eyes to him – although she wished that her powers were fully back at the moment so that wasn’t just a metaphor. “Don’t speak of what you don’t understand Dean,” she snapped angrily. “Not everything is so black and white.”
Inwardly she feared even more how everyone would react once they knew her role. However, she was pleased when Sam laid a calming hand on Dean’s arm and she continued.
“The anger had been building within Lucifer for a long time, since the creation of Man. Although...I suppose there were signs of his disobedience early on. Lucifer was the great light of Heaven but he was prideful. He knew he was adored and relished the attention,” she said bitterly, partly angry at herself for never taking greater notice of that.
“Of course, it was this pride that led to his disloyalty because he did not want to believe that Man was greater than him and the other angels. After the Fall he swore revenge. He wanted to teach his Father a lesson – that he was right about the corruptibility of mankind and the darkness within them.”
Dawn sighed, already tired of telling this tale. “You all know the story. He enticed Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and she seduced Adam to eat from it as well. Meanwhile with Lilith he…honestly, I am not sure what he did because I retreated into the earth when he was with her. I do know that he used dark magic to that turned her into a demon – the first demon on earth.” She gnawed her lip as she remembered those dark days. It had been known to her that Lucifer was stretching and twisting Lilith’s soul but Lailah had stayed silent instead of asking him to refrain – she just couldn’t find it within herself to deal with any more confrontation.
“You were weak,” Adanal had judged her in a harsh tone.
Gritting her teeth at that ancient memory, she continued with her tale. “By then God was even angrier at Lucifer. By intruding into the Garden of Eden and brining sin into this world, Lucifer had ultimately declared war. God feared what he would do next so the garrisons of the Host came after us – well, us along with the angels who had sided with Lucifer after he was expelled..”
Dawn couldn’t help it. She had to sneak a look at Gabriel. Although Michael controlled the entire army, Gabriel was the ‘God’s Strength’ in so many ways. It was his task to announce to Lailah and Lucifer the charges against them and it was he that attempted to take them to the cage the first time around.
Gabriel had, of course, failed. They knew that to be caged up would likely mean madness for both of them. Ultimately they had no choice but the fight back.
But Lailah had hated every moment of it…and that was when she first began to fear the consequences of her decision. Lucifer had lit up brilliantly during the battle, but in a malicious way, in a way that suggested he enjoyed the violence all too much.
“We had no choice. To be caught would mean torture for all of eternity. At the same time, I did not wish to personally fight against my brethren, my family. Lucifer suggested that we enlist others to fight with us and that way I would not have to directly intervene.. After all, if his Father could have tools of war, shouldn’t we?” Dawn smiled grimly as her naïveté was brought to light. The more she told this story and looked at it through the eyes of her limited humanity, the more she was disgusted with herself.
“He begged me to use my powers and open up the doorways to other dimensions. So I did, across the earth. From these portals emerged the Old Ones, like Illyria, and others. These places where my portals once stood are now—” Dawn bit her lip. “—the hellmouths…my misguided creations,” she finished.
The room erupted in great gasps of surprise and, sadly, disdain.
“Dawn!” Buffy spoke in a betrayed voice. “I…I can’t believe it. You?” Her sister looked her up and down, like her brain was trying to relate this twenty-two year old body with the actions of an ancient, powerful, and unfortunately misguided being. “All those years on the hellmouth, all those years I almost died – and did die? You are…the cause of it?”
Steeling herself against the anger in Buffy’s eyes, Dawn replied as evenly as possible. She had to remind herself not to give in to the emotions of a young woman but to remain calm like one her age would. It was hard though. “Buffy, I’m sorry. I didn’t…I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I just…I got lost.”
‘Lost in Lucifer’s love, anyways,’ she thought bitterly.
There were other words, from the others, who were angry or incredulous by her actions, but Dawn didn’t know what to say. What could she say? She had sinned in the worst way imaginable. Even worse? If she were to turn back time she would still have chosen Lucifer over her brother. She still loved him.
Damn it all to hell.
“Okay guys, calm down,” Xander declared loudly. “So Dawnie has a somewhat evil background. I mean, don’t we all? Ripper, Dark Willow, me being the guy who screws up spells in the most dangerous ways, Buffy going crazy and trying to kill us in the basement, Sam drinkin’ the demon blood, Angel and Spike being super evil back in the day – like, just five to seven years ago for the latter, Faith trying to, ya know, kill Buffy and most of us at one point or another, and et cetera! So, you know, maybe we’re not ones to judge,” he reminded them gently.
If she didn’t think that Jo would punch her for doing so, Dawn would totally have kissed Xander right then. Always the voice of reason, that one.
“Yeah, okay,” Dean scoffed. “But she’s the devil’s old lady who helped make this world the hell hole it is! I mean, how do we know if we can trust her.” Dean turned hard eyes towards her. “How do we know if we can trust you, Dawn?”
Dawn took in a shaky breath as she closed her mind against her old, painful memories. “I don’t know, Dean. Maybe I don’t deserve your trust.”
“Uh, well it’s not like you’re going to shack up with Satan again, right?” Spike asked cautiously.
She turned tormented eyes towards him and opened her mouth to speak, but couldn’t find the words. Should she? No. Would she?
…She didn’t know if she could refrain. Even now she yearned to go to him, just to hold him and be with him again. It didn’t matter how much had changed or how much evil he had performed...her love for him was unconditional. She was resolved against his actions but that didn’t mean she accepted never feeling the touch of his spirit again.
“Dawn, trust me. Falling in love with good-looking and evil is not a good choice, ever,” Buffy advised her with worried eyes, eyes that swam with sorrow and anger; sorrow that she could lose her sister and anger that this was a situation she may be unable to control.
Then Spike and Angel shifted restlessly as Dawn allowed herself a small smile. She found herself almost amused that Buffy was giving her dating advice.
“I would agree but…I’m already in love with him. We are soul mates,” Dawn confessed. “God bound us before mankind even walked the earth. I am his.” She hoped this simple description would suffice because quite honestly she didn’t think any mortal could truly understand the bond between her and Lucifer.
Buffy looked alarmed, as did many others. “Okay, that’s it!” her sister called out in an authoritative voice. “Meeting adjourned! I think Dawnie and I need to have a little sisterly chat – alone. Come on Dawn, let’s head to my office.”
Illyria stood up, poised like a soldier. “Great Mother, do you require my services?”
Dawn gave her a weak smile as her stomach sank – right now she felt like she was in trouble for reading Buffy’s diary again. “No, I’m okay. Thank you though.”
As she walked out of the conference room, following Buffy like a mere child, she could feel the eyes of every person on her back. So now they knew. She wondered how much time would pass before Dean or maybe Bobby suggested they throw her back in the panic room downstairs…or perhaps even kill her.
Once they got settled in Buffy’s cheerfully decorated office, her sister turned her eyes to her. “Dawn I need to know the truth. Are you going to find Lucifer?”
She shifted uneasily under Buffy’s eyes – and not just any kind of eyes, either. These eyes were a fearful blend of the oldest living slayer plus her older sister, a very formidable combination. It was quite intimidating at the moment.
“No,” she spoke softly even as her heart knew she was lying.
After all…it wouldn’t hurt to go find Lucifer…to speak to him once more…perhaps she could convince him to find mercy…
Buffy let out a snort of amusement. “Dawn, you may actually be super old but you still grew up with me – I can tell when you’re lying.”
Dawn’s eyes darted to hers guiltily. Dammit. “Oh?”
“Yeah,” her sister smiled wanly.
Her sister. How peculiar that she lost a brother only to gain a sister. Her memories were still merging, still trying to make sense of her life, and it was odd sometimes to think that she did have a sister.
“Dawn, I have to ask you something,” her sister began in a tentative voice.
“Are you…are you still Dawn?” Buffy’s eyes were a turmoil of emotion and her muscles were tense. “Or are you this Lailah creature?”
Dawn sighed. She knew what her sister was getting at – was she something that Buffy needed to slay?
Pulling up the sleeves of her white shirt, Dawn show Buffy where Lucifer had cut her. The cuts were healing slowly after two weeks and still scabbing. Dawn began to pick at the dead flesh and shushed Buffy when she tried to stop her. Blood trickled lightly out of the wound and Dawn looked into Buffy’s eyes as she held her arm up.
“It's blood, Summers blood, it's just like yours. It doesn't matter where you came from, or how you got here, you are my sister,” Dawn quoted.
Buffy stared at her in silence as tears welled up in her eyes. She pulled Dawn into a tight hug and Dawn clung to her sister for an extended moment before she released. “I remember both of my ‘lives’ – Lailah and Dawn. I won’t lie to you – it’s not very easy trying to make all of my memories fit together. All of it is very confusing. But you are my sister and I love you, just like I love everyone else in that room.”
Buffy gave her a gentle smile and cupped her cheek. “Good. Because I wasn’t about to lose my sister. I would have locked you up in your bedroom if you suddenly decided you were too big and powerful to be related to me.”
Dawn snorted in amusement. “So does this mean you’ll let me wear your butterfly halter to go out this weekend?”
“No,” Buffy denied with a roll of her eyes. “That’s too revealing for someone of your age,” she said with a laugh.
“For someone of my age? What? Are you calling me old? At least I don’t have any grey hairs!” she added with a mischievous look.
“Dawn! Be quiet!” Buffy hissed. “I don’t want anyone to know that – I’m only twenty-eight for crying out loud. Besides, you try dying twice and stopping world end-age without getting some grays!” Buffy pouted while Dawn snickered in response.
They sat there, silent, basking in the moment of sisterhood. Finally Buffy broke it with her ‘big-sister’ voice. “Dawn, I know what it’s like to really love someone.”
Dawn gave her a dirty look.
“Okay, so maybe not on the same level of millennia level marriage. But still. You have to recognize that Lucifer is not the good guy in this. From the way you described him in the beginning of the world, yeah, he seemed like a neat guy. Mom probably would have liked him.” Buffy paused; it was clear that had just come up and they both took a moment to reflect on their deceased mother. “But you said it yourself – he turned a heck of a lot darker after heaven. And now? After several thousand years or whatever in hell box? He’s not exactly going to be Mr. Rogers.”
Dawn mulled that over before finally nodding. “I know that. Logically, I do. But Buffy…” Dawn sighed and turning shining eyes towards her sister. “I can’t let things play out the way they are heading. Michael is stronger than Lucifer – he always has been. He’ll kill him. And when he does…” She shook her head and let out a choked sob. “I can’t just sit around doing nothing.”
Buffy leaned back in her office chair and observed Dawn’s distraught reaction. “Well then what are you going to do?”
Dawn shrugged. “I need to think on it. Talk to Gabriel as well, perhaps even Castiel.”
Pursing her lips, Buffy nodded. “Okay.”
She looked to her sister in surprise. Usually Buffy argued with her about everything – a whole ‘big sis knows better’ deal. “Okay?”
Buffy laughed. “What? That’s good. You’re going to think before taking action. Plus, you’re kind of growing up, Dawnie. You’re not just a twenty-two year old college student but apparently bffs with God.” Noticing her crestfallen expression, Buffy corrected herself. “Or were bffs. Um.” She shrugged. “Just let me in, okay? Don’t do anything stupid on your own.”
“Sure Buffy,” Dawn told her…not that she had any intention of completely keeping it. There were some things that were better left unsaid.
Dawn carefully avoided everyone that night. The Watchers Council’s building was a renovated mansion so everyone was crashing here for the night, in fact it looked like this place was about to become Apocalypse Now Headquarters. She didn’t attend dinner with everyone and instead went to the kitchen much later that night to scrounge up some food. She may be immortal in spirit but she was still being housed in a human body and thus hungry as hell for some food.
Creeping quietly through the first floor hall, dim voices began to reach her ears. Dawn stilled, fully aware that this placed housed more supernatural people than you could shake a stick at, and listened.
“Well think of it this way, Sammy. If the devil takes your body at least you’ll get to make out with Dawn. She’s pretty hot,” Dean stated in a voice that let her know he was grinning.
Even though she disliked the subject manner, Dawn still blushed. She would never – especially with her memories back – get with either Winchester, but it was always nice to be admired.
“Dean!” Sam chastised. “Can we just be serious for a minute?”
“Yeah, shut your cake hole when it comes to Dawn. You don’t get the right to observe any level of hotness when it comes to her,” Gabriel snapped in annoyance.
Dawn smiled. Honestly, it was so relieving that he was defending her honor instead of trying to box her up in hell – she had strongly suspected the latter would have happened.
“Sorry dude, I know she’s like a mom to you.” Dean chuckled. “Guess that makes her a MILF, huh?”
There was a pulse of magical energy that exploded down the hall in the kitchen and then she heard Dean groan. “Aw, come on man! You didn’t have to disintegrate my burger like that.”
Gabriel just chuckled and so did Sam.
“Anyways, as I was saying,” Sam started. “If Dawn is Lailah, then maybe she can talk to Lucifer. You know, do that whole ‘power of love’ thing that always works in the movies.”
“Lucifer will not stop. He is merciless and seeks only to destroy this earth. Nothing will change his mind,” Castiel’s somber voice declared. “If anything, he will only get her to change her allegiance. We are fortunate that she has not done so already.”
“Castiel, give her a break. She’s not going to sell us out,” Gabriel scoffed.
“You say that now, Gabriel, because you miss her and what she used to be. I only know her as ‘The Key’ – the single most destructive force in this universe. If she fully comes to Lucifer’s side the battle will be lost. She will destroy us all. We need to consider alternative methods of dealing with her.”
Dawn froze as if she had been physically struck. She suddenly wanted to retreat back into her office – or leave! Yes, leave entirely. She couldn’t stand to hear them speak about her with such mistrust.
Yet…Dawn gnawed her lip as she internally debated. That is something that Lailah would have done – ignore confrontation and leave, regardless of the dire outcomes. And that hadn’t worked out too well for her, had it? Dawn, on the other hand, had a little bit more attitude. Maybe it was time she learned a little from her current lifetime.
She strode into the kitchen silently and stared at Castiel with cold eyes. “I may just be a mere human now, Castiel, but I still have ears.”
The typically un-flappable angel paled at her words. “D-Dawn,” he stuttered in greeting as the Winchesters exchanged an ‘oh shit’ look and Gabriel stared at his brethren in silence.
Dawn folded her arms and stared back at Castiel. “What Cas? You don’t want to continue your discussion on the best way to ‘deal’ with me? Let me guess. You’re game for killing me, just like Lucifer.”
“The threat of what could go wrong if you defected again is too terrible to not consider it. Last time you joined with Lucifer against us you unleashed monsters this world never should have seen.” Castiel’s eyes were cold and his tone harsh; Dawn was surprised by how much it hurt her. “Your actions desecrated the world my Father created.”
“You’re out of line, little brother,” Gabriel growled.
“Am I? Are you ready to risk the world on her?” Castiel countered.
“Whoa, Cas. Come on. Dawn has never done anything to hurt us. More so, she saved Buffy from Lucifer. We should give her the benefit of the doubt,” Sam intervened.
“Yeah but Cas has a point,” Dean opined. “If Lucifer gets his claws into her we’re done for.”
Dawn felt a flood of anger roll out at their words. This was an ancient anger, one that had driven her to do terrible things once upon a time. Like lightning she was at Castiel’s side, staring at him with blazing eyes. “And how do you propose to ‘deal’ with me, Castiel? Do you think you can kill me?” Dawn let out a bout of harsh laughter. “I cannot die. I cannot be caged. The only one capable of ‘dealing’ with me is God – and lemme guess, you haven’t seen him during your little search, have you?” she remarked sarcastically, knowing how hard the angel had been searched for her brother.
Her Dawn and Lailah memories were in turmoil when it came to her brother, Adanal. Dawn remembered learning that Castiel was looking for God and that some, like Raphael, believed him to be dead. But as Lailah she just could not believe that her brother would be dead. Wouldn’t she have felt it? And if he wasn’t dead, just were was he and why had he left Heaven?
Castiel’s eyes widened in slight fear before he met her stare with carefully concealed hostility. “Are you threatening us?”
Dawn gritted her teeth and stamped her feet, just like she had done as a kid when Buffy wouldn’t let her have the remote. “No! Jeez, Cas! Get it through your big stupid skull! I am not trying to kill you or anyone else! But I’m a little tired of you being all judgmental and stuff, so how about you just cool it?” she asked hotly.
Castiel blinked in surprise. “I apologize, Dawn.”
She let out a tired sigh. “It’s fine. I get it. First the ‘fun aunt’ hightails it outta there and then ‘dear old dad’ peaces out while leaving your jerk brothers in charge. You’ve got trust issues, I get it. But can you just lay off, please?” she asked in a tired voice.
He gave her a cautious look. “Gabriel knows you as Lailah. I only know you as the Key, the one who brought evil into this world. It is difficult for me to comprehend your sincerity.”
Dawn sighed again. She should have known this wouldn’t have been easy. “Well then get to know me,” she said with a tentative smile. “Come on. You, me, and Gabe can have a family outing.”
“Oooh. Is Auntie Dawn gonna take us to Disney World?” Gabriel grinned as he rubbed his hands together eagerly.
Dawn laughed. “Why the hell not? It’s eleven at night and you two are teleporting angels. Let’s go.”
“That’s frickin’ adorable,” Dean snorted. “This is playing out like Full House. Next thing you know, there’s going to be hugging.”
Dawn gave him an annoyed look. “And just for that comment, I’m not bringing you back mouse ears!”