AN: This chapter includes spoilers for 285 South on Roswell, mainly the biographical history project. I've changed things around to my liking though so the project pairings aren't completely the same. Dawn will be the one paired with Michael instead and Maria won't be in the same class at all.Part 7
"So are you ready for this?" Isabel asked as she, Max, and Dawn got out of the jeep.
Dawn stared up at the high school. Students were milling around outside, some socializing and others heading inside to prepare for classes.
"Sure. After Sunnydale, this should be a piece of cake," Dawn replied.
Max raised an eyebrow. "Tough school?"
"The toughest," Dawn said, remembering grimly the stories of Buffy, Xander, and Willow's high school years. The fact that it was built right on top of the Hellmouth didn't help any.
The sound of the warning bell signaled that there wasn't time for Isabel or Max to satisfy their curiosity about what events had put that look on Dawn's face of one who had seen and lived through too much.
"Come on," Isabel said, swinging her bag over her shoulder and starting across the parking lot. "I'll show you where the office is at."
Max stayed behind. A hum intruded on his awareness and he turned to note the appearance of the car he had been trying to wait for unobtrusively being parked nearby. Finally, he thought, there she is. His eyes were caught by the sun shining down on the dark brown tresses of Liz's hair as she exited the Jetta that Maria had given her a ride in. His senses came alive and he was drawn to her presence like a magnet.
Dawn smirked as she looked back and followed his line of sight. "Gee, I wonder where he's headed," she said under her breath to Isabel.
Isabel snorted in response as her brother made a beeline towards Liz.
After Isabel dropped her off at the office, Dawn went through the familiar process of enrolling at a new school. There were papers to fill out and a schedule to be assigned. For that, she would need to meet with the guidance counselor. "Her name is Ms. Harding. It's her first day here, too," The aging secretary said with a sincere smile once Dawn had finished filling out all of her papers. The secretary folded her hands neatly on the desk in front of her. Everything about the woman seemed neat from her carefully styled hair to the plain white blouse and black sweater she wore with a pinstriped skirt.
Dawn gathered up her copy of the school rules and the map to get her situated and slipped them into the leather book bag she had hanging from her shoulders.
The elderly lady pushed her reading glasses firmly up her nose, not that they would have dared to slip out of place. They were attached to a long, plain, glass chain of beads. "Now just turn left when you leave and Miss Harding's office is the first door on your right." She handed over two more sheets of paper. "Take these with you for Ms. Harding. She'll need them to get you started."
"Thank you," Dawn said as she grabbed the papers and turned to leave.
The secretary's directions were unsurprisingly accurate and Dawn soon found herself standing in front of a door with a copper plate engraved with the words Guidance Counselor upon it. An empty slot for a nameplate to slip into was above it. Instead, the only sign that signaled exactly whose office it was consisted of a piece of plain, white printer paper with the name Ms. S. Harding scrawled with pen upon it in a flowing, feminine style of handwriting.
Dawn knocked on the closed door and a cheerful soprano voice called out, "Come on in!"
Dawn opened the door and was greeted with the sight of an office still in the unpacking stages. A slender woman in her early twenties stood behind the desk, facing the wall where she was hanging a painting of five planets set against a backdrop of stars. "Just have a seat, wherever you can find one."
Dawn stared round dubiously at the office. It was cluttered with boxes, some open, some not. Stacks of books, journals, and papers removed from their boxes waiting to be shelved and filed were in places around the office wherever a free spot could be found. Even both of the chairs placed in front of the desk for students were piled high with precarious stacks that looked as if one good breeze would send them toppling from their perch. She settled for dragging over a large sturdy box labeled S. P. Research that hadn't been opened yet and sat upon it, waiting for Miss Harding to finish aligning her picture frame.
She didn't have to wait long.
Ms. Harding made one final adjustment and stepped back, gazing at her efforts. She nodded in satisfaction. "There. That looks good." She turned around to face her visitor and her eyes widened in surprise as her mouth opened in shock.
Dawn didn't notice, still absorbed in looking at the clutter around the office. By the time Dawn looked back to the newly arrived Miss Harding, the woman's features had been schooled into a mask of friendly curiosity. "Sorry about the lack of seating," she said when she noticed Dawn's perch. "What can I help you with?" She asked.
Dawn handed over the papers the secretary had given her and said, "I need a schedule."
Ms. Harding took them from her hand. A snap of blue light zipped up both their hands when they touched. Ms. Harding observed Dawn's reaction intently as she apologized. "Sorry, static electricity," the woman explained, referring to the ugly brown carpet covering the office floor. "Are you a new student?" she asked, seeming casual as she glanced over the papers.
"Yes. I've come to live with my aunt and uncle," Dawn replied, completely unaware of the older woman's excitement buried behind a veil of professional curiosity.
"Says here you've also got cousins going to this school with you. That must be nice."
"Yeah," Dawn agreed uninterested in the conversation already until the woman's next question shattered her boredom completely.
"It also says your mother and your sister both died within the last year. How did that happen?"
My mother had an aneurysm and Buffy sacrificed herself to save me in a dive from a tower built by mental patients. How was your summer vacation? Instead she said out loud with a closed look on her face, "I don't want to talk about it."
"Well, if you ever need anyone to talk to, I'm always here for my students," Miss Harding said with what Dawn interpreted as the same poorly hidden sympathy, pity, or ghoulish curiosity she had gotten from all of the adults at her old school. The phenomenon was so familiar by now she didn't care which of the three it was. She was sick of seeing it and she just wanted this meeting over with.
"I'm fine," Dawn said. "About my schedule?" she reminded the woman.
"Right," Miss Harding answered briskly. All of her questions would have to wait until later. "Let's get started." She unburied the laptop on her desk and began entering the information on the papers she had been given.
By second period Dawn was in possession of a schedule and standing outside the art classroom. When she opened the door heads simultaneously turned in her direction, making Dawn feel self-conscious. She could see the speculation and the curiosity etched across all the faces but two. One belonged to the teacher, who merely looked resigned by the interruption and the other belonged to Michael, who merely glanced away with disinterest after he saw that it was her. Dawn's presence had been noticed and dismissed by him in less than five seconds, which had the miraculous effect of transforming her shyness into pique at his action. She glared with irritation at his head, which was focused on his easel again before adjusting the strap of her bag on her shoulder and striding firmly and confidently into the class heading for the teacher.
"Hi, I'm Dawn Summers," she introduced herself. "I'm new here and Miss Harding scheduled me for this class," Dawn said as she handed him her copy of her schedule.
The teacher looked it over, verifying she was in the right class, and handed it back to her a friendly smile. "Welcome, Miss Summers." He glanced around the room for an empty easel and pointed toward the only free spot, which just her luck, was next to Michael. "Why don't you have a seat next to Mr. Guerin. We're focusing on the human form this week, and you'll be working on the statue placed in the center of the class."
Dawn nodded and reluctantly moved to sit next to Michael. She placed her bag on the floor, hopped up on the stool and grabbed a pencil, determined to ignore the boy next to her. She eyed the statue of an Egyptian queen sitting on a stool placed in the center of the room and focused on her task.
A sound of frustration emitting from the seat next to her distracted her a few minutes later. She reluctantly glanced over. "What are you doing?" She asked, as she stared in surprise at his portrait that looked nothing like the project they were supposed to be doing.
"What's it look like I'm doing?" he shot back, disgruntled. "I'm drawing."
"You're supposed to be drawing the statue," she hissed at him.
"Yeah? Well I feel like doing this," Michael replied.
"What the heck is that thing anyway?" Dawn asked in reluctant interest. It looked sort of like someone's geometry project gone crazy.
"None of your business," Michael said curtly.
Dawn narrowed her eyes. "Sure thing, Oscar."
Now it was Michael's turn to narrow his eyes. "What did you just call me?"
"You heard me, Oscar," Dawn said tauntingly.
Michael slammed his pencil on the tray of his easel and leaned over towards Dawn. "My name is Michael, not Oscar."
Dawn slammed her own pencil down on her tray and leaned over too. They were inches apart now. "You sure about that Oscar? Because you seem awfully grouchy to me," she said pointedly.
"I am not a grouch," Michael said irritatedly. He made a determined effort to ignore her. She was not getting to him. He didn't care what she thought about him. He scowled at his drawing. It was all wrong. He ripped off the sheet of paper and balled it up before starting on a new one.
Dawn sighed. "What's your problem?" She asked curiously. "You've been rude and stand-offish since you met me."
"I'm just not a touchy-feely kind of guy. If you've got a problem with that, tough." Why was she still talking to him? Why couldn't he ignore her? There was something about her; something he was unwillingly drawn to and he wished it would stop. He had a mission, and it was not to get involved with a human.
"I don't think that's it," Dawn challenged. "There's something else." What was he hiding behind that stonewall?
"Fine," Michael said exasperated. "You want another reason? Maybe I think there's something really strange about your friend Spike." He all but spat the word friend out. "And until I know what it is, I'm not too sure about you either," he added.
"Maybe some things are just meant to be private and none of your business," Dawn objected.
"Then why aren't you paying attention to your own work?" Michael shot back; pleased at the opening she had given him. Dawn's mouth dropped open, unable to come up with an answer for that. Satisfied at getting the last word he determinedly tried to focus again on his drawing of the strange shape he had seen in his vision. He had to figure this out. He wasn't going to pay any attention to how good she smelled or the way her scent seemed to wrap around him, beckoning him to get closer. He definitely wasn't noticing how soft her hair looked or how her lips seemed to invite kisses. No, he was too busy for that, or so he assured himself, and that was the way he liked it.
Dawn stared at Michael's profile. He was the oddest person. He went out of his way to be rude and yet he was full of secrets that drew her attention. It was like being around Spike again when he was first chipped. All sarcasm and dropped snippets of clues that you just knew would spark the most interesting conversations if you could get past the attitude long enough.
She also couldn't help noticing that while his personality was meant to push you away his looks did just the opposite. It was a shame. His was a face she wouldn't mind getting close to. If she liked him that way that is. Which she didn't. At all.
Now it was Dawn's turn to pretend her project had captured her complete attention.
When the bell rang signaling the end of class, Dawn jumped off of her stool and raced for the door like a shot. Her bag bumped her easel sending the pencil she had been using flying at Michael. It landed in his lap and Michael picked it up in irritation then froze, unable to move as the clearest visions he'd ever had seized his mind.
Shadowy beings hovered before a green light that obscured their features. "It must be saved for them. Without it the relic is useless and hope is lost."
"The queen's agents will be leaving for earth with the children tonight. It must be hidden aboard."
"Am I real? Is this blood?"
Dawn was standing in the doorway of a living room, blood dripping down her arms.
"This is Summers blood. Our blood."
Four glowing pods slightly illuminated the chamber. Two shadowy figures were standing in front of them observing the bodies within.
"For safety, we must separate. They cannot find the Key."
Dawn was standing at the top of a tower at night facing an older blonde, who looked weary and resigned. Tears tracked down Dawn's face dampening the old fashioned dress she was wearing. He could see cuts in the dress and blood seeped through them to drip through the rickety tower below them into a weird swirl of light.
The blonde was speaking again. "The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it. Be brave Dawn, live for me."
Then she kissed Dawn on the forehead and jumped into the swirl of light.
"Buffy, no!" Dawn screamed in agony.
Michael came back to awareness in an empty room, pencil still gripped between his fingers. He let out a shaky breath and stared in shock at the pencil. What was going on around here? A glance at the clock showed he had already missed the first ten minutes of gym class. He stood up in a rush. He needed to get to gym class right away and talk to Max.
Michael stewed in his seat glaring at the back of Max's stubborn head in the seat in front of him. He had totally blown off Michael's visions of an alien connection to Dawn. Damnit, he knew what he saw. There was something strange about her and none of Max's protestations about Dawn's human status were going to throw him off the track. He didn't even know why he bothered to show up for history class. He should be out there investigating her, instead of sitting here in a class he didn't even like. She might be able to tell them more about themselves. As much as Maxwell liked to pretend they were normal humans the truth was that they weren't. They were aliens and now they had the perfect opportunity to find out more about that and Max was blowing him off! She could have the answers they needed and Max was just going to sit back and ignore that? He knew why, too. It was all Liz's fault. Max was just too obsessed with her and it needed to stop now.Michael narrowed his eyes at Max. The heck with this. He stood up in preparation to leave and stopped.
Dawn was coming through the doorway with Liz and both of them were laughing about something.
He abruptly sat down. Isabel, a row over, gave him a strange look at his actions, but he ignored her. Instead, he watched Dawn and Liz's progress into the room. Liz ended up taking the seat to the right of Max, which left Dawn in the empty seat behind her and right next to Michael.
His eyes swept over her form seeking some clue, any clue that could tell him how she was connected to them. There was a reason she was in those visions. He just wished he knew what it was. Could she be one of them? Was she an alien too?
Dawn could feel heat rising in her cheeks from his rather thorough inspection. The last thing she needed was him checking her out, not when she was so confused about him. She was only here in Roswell until she turned eighteen after all, then she was headed straight back to Sunnydale. Dawn had no intentions of getting involved with someone here that she would only end up leaving behind. She needed to nip this strange attraction in the bud. "Stop it!" She hissed at him.
"Stop what?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
She leaned over and whispered, not wanting her conversation to be overheard. "You know what. You were checking me out," she accused.
"No, I wasn't. This is checking you out." And Michael swept his eyes over her body again, this time slower and lingering on her lips, her breasts, her stomach, and her legs.
The heat in his gaze fairly scorched Dawn and her heart raced as she blushed from head to toe. "Quit it."
The pulse he could see beating wildly in her neck and the desire she tried to hide in her eyes intrigued Michael. He wanted to make her blush again. Was there an alien connection between them? Is that what drew him to her?
"Okay, let's begin." Mr. Sommers had arrived and Dawn was firmly ignoring him under the guise of paying attention to the teacher. Michael tuned him out and contemplated Dawn. What was the connection between them? What did she know? He finally began to pay attention to the class when Mr. Sommers began talking about secrets.
"Everybody has their secrets," the teacher stated. "There isn't a person alive today who's what they appear to be. Exposing these secrets is the job of the...historian. Even the most normal of us has extraordinary qualities just waiting to be uncovered."
Michael's gaze swept back to Dawn. What secrets was she hiding?
"For tonight's assignment, I've paired you together," Mr. Sommers continued, holding up a sheet of paper with questions printed on it. "It is your job as...historians, to find out as much as you can about your partner by asking these specific questions, and then writing up an oral history report for tomorrow." He walked along the head of the rows of seats dividing up papers for the students to pass on.
What? Paired together? This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try to find out what she knew. Michael took the stack Max handed him, kept a paper for himself and handed the remainder to the student behind him. He glanced over the questions. Pretty boring questions but if he could be assigned to Dawn he might be able to slip in a few questions of his own. There had to be a way to get himself paired together with her.
"Some of these questions are pretty personal," Dawn said, glancing uneasily at her list of questions.
"Exactly, Miss Summers. Personal is the goal of the professional biographer. And who knows? You just might make a new friend. Ok, so the partners are as follows: Daskal with Hausman, Kalinowski with Nell. Parker with Evans...that's I. Evans. M. Evans is with...Valenti. Papas with Cooney, Summers with...Guerin."
Ha! He was already paired with her. Michael sat back with a smirk of satisfaction while Dawn shifted unhappily in her seat.
Class was soon over and Michael bounded out of his chair to follow Dawn who was racing out of the room, shoving her things in her bag as she went in an effort to avoid him. "Not so fast, Summers. Meet me at the Crashdown after school." He held up the list of questions. "It's time you and I got to know each other better."End Part 7
KamakaSamR: I'm trying not to make you wait long. But I've been having computer issues fr the longest time now. I have to wait until I can get on someone else's computer to post any updates, and that's why there's been such a long wait between chapters. I'm disabled so I can't afford to buy a new laptop, which is what I really need. I'll try to update sooner but I can't make any promises.
Miss Elisa Tenant: Thanks. Isabel is such fun to write sometimes. And Drusilla was always one of my favorite characters too. Hope you liked the chapter.
Allen Pitt: A lot of people have been asking about Buffy's return and I still haven't decided one way or the other. It all depends on how my storyline writes itself out. If I do decide to go for it, you're right, Buffy's reaction to the Spike/Dawn marking would definitely be a major factor. We'll see.
No follow up on Willow yet. I'm finally getting into writing my skewed version of 285 South. I've been waiting to write this for quite a while and I plan to have some fun with it.
I downloaded the transcript of that meteor alien ep but haven't had a chance to read it yet. You've got some interesting ideas but I don't know if I'll be able to work them into this fic. If you don't mind I might use them in a different fic someday though. This is by no means the last Buffy/Roswell crossover I plan to write. Although I might just have to alter my storyline since I like that Initiative idea you mentioned. I don't know. We'll see. I'm writing this as I go, with only a few definite ideas for what I want to see happen. It's the one fic I haven't planned to death.
Thanks for the review!
Dragon Healer: Thanks. I'm glad you liked it!
AnimeHanyou39: You've never seen Roswell? You should definitely check it out. They air the reruns on the sci-fi channel and all three seasons are out on DVD.
Morena Evensong: Thanks. The marking scene was my favorite part too.
I forgot about Buffy and her shopping, now that you mention it. Oh well. It was still fun to write.
And yeah, I just had to bring Kyle into it. He seemed like the perfect person t mention the sign. I just had to bring it up again anyway since I've been amused by it. ;) There'll also be more Kyle scenes coming up as I write my version of the history project.
Yes, I know. Spike will be suspicious. I just haven't had a chance to write it in yet. I've got a lot of plot threads going on to keep track of. But I'll try to address that soon.
Thanks for the review!
tina7610813: I don't think it's such an out of character thing for Dawn to allow Spike to do, but then I see the two of them as being close friends/siblings too. Thanks for the review!
Angelic Moon: Thanks!
Mae: Yes, that was definitely not a mate bond. Don't worry it's still very much a Dawn/Michael story.
Damia - Queen of the Gypsi's: I haven't decided yet. We'll see.
Kissmekent: Michael/Maria? Ick. I really can't stand Maria's character and I don't think she and Michael are suited at all. Besides I think Dawn is a great girl for Michael. Just give it a chance, huh? You might like it! ;)
Khaak: What do you think is rushed?