Disclaimer:  I do not own any of the characters, even though it would be really cool if I did.  But alas, that honor has not been bestowed upon me.  Anyway, even though I know I’m in the middle of another fic, this idea just would not stop bothering me.  So, now I have not one, but two (well, four, but let’s pretend there’s only two) to work on.  Gosh darn muses!  Ah well.  Onto the fic.

Coming Darkness

New Beginnings

 Fear rose in Dawn’s throat as she stared at the man – creature- before her.  Her arms shook with fear, strain, and weakness.  The wind blew past her, causing her hair to move in soft waves.  On an ordinary day, she would savor the feel of the wind.  But when you are tied to the edge of catwalk overlooking the long fall below, it could not be an ordinary day.

 “Well, what do you know.  It’s just about that time,” Doc said, staring at his watch.  He smiled at her, a lethal smile.  Another wave of fear passed through her as she stared at him.  Suddenly, movement from behind him distracted her.  A ray of hope filled her as she stared at the space behind him.

 “Spike!” she called out, her eyes widening. 

 Doc spun around, slipping the watch back into his pocket.  Spike staggered forward, his shock of blond hair in disarray.  “Doesn’t a fellow stay dead when you kill him?”

Doc smiled at him, not the least bit unnerved by the unexpected presence of the vampire.  “Look whose talking.”

 “C’mon Doc.  Let’s you and me have a go,” Spike said, desperately trying to take Doc’s attention away from Dawn.  If he does anything to hurt the Bit, I swear I’ll kill him.  Again.

 Doc stared at Spike for a moment, seemingly considering the words.  His words were slow and deliberate as he glanced back at Dawn.  “I do have a prior appointment.”

 Spike stepped forward.  “This won’t take long.”

 “No, I don’t image it will.”

In a move unseen by the vampire, Doc pulled a blade out of his jacket.  He leapt forward so quickly that even a vampire could not fend his blows.  He twisted the knife deep into the vampire.  Spike screamed as the knife bit into his skin, but he pushed passed the pain.  He pushed Doc off of him.  Now, Spike was the one in front of Dawn.

 “You don’t come anywhere near the girl, Doc.”

 Doc studied Spike for a moment, looking genuinely puzzled.  “I don’t see a soul anywhere on you.  Why do you even care?”

 Dawn’s eyes widened as she stared at Spike’s back, holding onto the hope that he could save her.  That he could prevent the portal from opening and allowing Hell to open.  Spike stared at Doc, clutching his bleeding wound.  “I made a promise to a lady.”

 “Oh?” Doc asked.  Suddenly, his tongue shot forward, and Spike barely managed to get out of the way of the slippery thing.  But as Spike was turned sideways, Doc swept his feet out from under him and knocked him to the ground.  He grabbed Spike by the arms, holding him so both were facing Dawn.  “Well, I’ll send the lady your regrets.”

 “No,” Spike whispered as he and Dawn looked into each other’s eyes.  He saw the hope fade and the despair grow as Spike stood there, incapitated.  As Spike felt Doc’s weight begin to shift and the grip on Spike’s arms loosened, Spike made a desperate grab, hoping to grab onto anything he could to stay on the platform.

 I will not fail Buffy.  I will not let any harm come to the Bit.

 Doc’s eyes widened as a hand encircled his wrist with such force that he could not react.  “Oh my,” was the only thing he could get out before he was falling, plummeting towards the ground.  The last thing he saw before he blacked out was the frightened face of the girl on the platform.

 Dawn watched the falling duo, screaming out Spike’s name as he fell.  Even though a part of her knew that he would live through the fall, the rational part of her mind was no longer functioning at that moment.  She watched as both hit the ground, neither moving.

 Suddenly, she could hear pounding on the stairs of the metal structure.  Her heart caught in her throat as someone ascended the stairs, for she could not tell who was coming for her.  Yes, it could be her sister, coming to get her down from the platform.  Or, it could be Glory and Spike’s heroics could have been for nothing.

 For what seemed like an eternity Dawn stood there, the noises getting increasingly louder.  Fear grew with every passing moment as she struggled to free herself from her bonds, her eyes never leaving the dark alcove at the top of the stairs.

 And suddenly, big sis was there.  Fresh tears streamed down Dawn’s face as Buffy ran forward, her face a mask of worry.  “Buffy?”

 “Dawnie,” Buffy whispered as she ran over.  Dawnie, are you okay?”

 For a moment, Dawn could do nothing but cry as she stared at her older sister.  Buffy was there.  Everything would be okay now.

Even though Buffy knew the relief that was passing through her sister, she had to know if she was okay.  If anyone had cut her.  Dawnie, did anyone hurt you?  Did anyone cut you?”

Dawn shook her head as Buffy undid her bonds.  “Nobody hurt me.  Spike got rid of Doc before he could do anything.”

As soon as the last of the bonds was undone, Dawn threw her arms around her sister, tears still streaming down her face.  “I was so scared, Buffy.  I was so scared.”

Buffy hugged her sister back, shutting her eyes tightly as tears welling up in them.  We were so close to failing her.  Too close.  If Spike hadn’t gotten Doc away from her, it would have been too late.  He would have started the ritual.

Time seemed to stop as the sisters stood at the top of the platform, embracing each other in thankfulness.  All of them would live to see another day.  Glory had not defeated them.

Buffy opened her eyes, a smile crossing her face as she saw the beginnings of the rising sun.  “Dawn, look.”

Dawn turned around, a smile forming through her tears.  “We made it, didn’t we Buffy?  They can’t do the ritual anymore, can they?”

“No, Dawn, they can’t.” Buffy said, giving her sister a shaky smile.  “Now let’s go home.”

With that, the two sisters slowly made their way off the platform, knowing that they had survived the greatest of odds.  They slowly walked down the stairs, not knowing what the coming days and weeks were to bring.  And for the first time, they really did not care.

******

The white-bearded wizard sighed as he sat down at his desk, staring at the two professors in front of him.  Both stared back at him, wisdom running through the depths of their eyes.  For many years, time seemed to have been kind to the three, as they had been aging quite well.  But after the strain of the last couple years, ever since the reappearance of the Dark Lord, time had caught up to them.  Worry lines had appeared.  A tiredness was slowly growing on them.  For they knew that the fight was not yet over – even they did not know when the fight would end.

 Even with the blazing fire before them, a coldness seemed to permeate the room.  Shadows bounced off the walls, casting an eerie glow in the corners of the room.  Even Fawkes, the beloved phoenix of Dumbledore, seemed to sense that something was amiss.

 “It seems we have lost yet another professor,” Dumbledore sighed, folding his hands neatly on his desk.  “Six professors in six years, going on seven in seven years.  I don’t believe we have ever had this much trouble holding onto professors before.”

 The man sitting opposite Dumbledore shifted slightly in his chair, his coal-black hair sliding over his eye.  “Ever since Potter came, we just can’t hold onto them, you mean.”

Dumbledore chuckled slightly.  “While that is very true, Severus, it is merely a matter of coincidence.  But the fact remains, we must find a new professor.”

 “That is not as easy as it once was, Albus,” Minera McGonagall said, her mouth set in a grim line.  “After the recent, er, misfortunes that we have had with the last six Defense Against the Dark Arts professors, nobody is that willing to fill the position.  It has been almost three weeks since we have put the ad in the Daily Prophet and we have not gotten any applications.  I’m afraid that it is looking rather hopeless at this point.”

 A silence filled the room, the crackling of the fireplace the only noise.  Dumbledore eyed the two for a moment before standing up and walking over to one of the many bookshelves that filled his office.  He ran his fingers over a few books before pulling a thick leather bound book from its place in the stacks.  He placed the book on the desk, in front of the two.

 “With that in mind, I believe it is time for a most desperate of approaches,” Dumbledore explained, gesturing towards the book.  “I believe it is time to take a chance in legend.”

Severus Snape picked the book up, scowling at the title.  Slayer:  Proving the Myth.  Albus, you can’t be suggesting…”

“I am, Severus,” Dumbledore said, calmly interrupting his comrade.  “Times are growing ever darker, with Voldemort on the rise.  He has been laying low for the last couple of years, slowly gaining back power that had been lost to him.  And with the ministry’s reluctance to believe that Voldemort has reappeared, it puts our students into grave danger.”

“But Albus, we don’t even know where this so called “slayer” is, let alone if she exists,” McGonagall interjected as she slid the book out of Snape’s hand.  She opened the book to a random page, scanning it momentarily.  “We don’t even know if any of this is actually true.  One girl to face the world of demons by herself?  Where would such a person – “

California.  Sunnydale, to be exact.”

Snape and McGonagall shared a pained glance before turning back to look at Dumbledore.  McGonagall closed the book and placed it back on the desk.  “An American, Albus?  Surely you can’t be serious.”

 “I am, Minera,” he said, his voice deathly serious.  “I will not let any of my students face the power of Voldemort without ensuring that they have had the best of instruction against the Dark Arts.  I have been keeping track of this Slayer, along with her friends for the last couple of years.  And I believe that she, along with a very good friend, could provide our students with excellent training.”

The two nodded, though they still looked less than convinced.  “It is your decision.”

“Thank you,” Dumbledore said as he pulled out a piece of parchment.  “Now, if you please, I have new professors to write to.”

The two walked out of the room, their faces slightly troubled as they closed the door behind them, sparing a quick glance to Dumbledore.  He paid no heed to them, but continued his writing.  He did not even notice when the door shut quietly behind him, leaving him alone in his office.  He wrote quickly but efficiently, knowing what a surprise the letter – and owl – would be to the two women.  As he whistled for his owl, he wrote the addresses down, the ink drying quickly as he wrote.

Buffy Summers

1630 Revello Drive

Sunnydale, California

USA

 

Willow Rosenburg

1630 Revello Drive

Sunnydale, California

USA