Title: Protector Of The Weak
Rating: PG-13 to R (for language and some mild naughtiness)
Disclaimer: Not mine. Joss owns all things BtVS, and somebody else owns K.A.
Spoilers: Season 7, and the movie King Arthur
Summary: Searching for people, getting real answers, and a bit of intrigue to end it all.
A/N: Wow. Just wow. This story has changed so much from the original conception I had of it. Trust me, this incarnation of it is far better than the original little nugget of inspiration I had (it involved Dawn popping back in time (a young Dawn) Dagonet saving her from Woads, and her popping back). Then it changed to Dawn being older and falling in love with Dagonet, and him dying in battle while she rode off with little Lucan. I'm glad it's changed. When I started writing this, my main goal was "Get some KA crossovers out there. Maybe if you do it, someone else will too." (I'm in a class where all of our writing has to have 'goals') I don't think I've been so committed to writing something as I have been about this story.
Thank you for reading it. Thank you for reviewing it. Your words of encouragement have meant the world to me. They've made all the difference in the world. Thank you for sticking through all the twists, turns, bumps, tears, and bruises that have come with the writing and reading of this story.
For those who hadn't seen this movie before, but read it anyway, I'm glad I could bring a story that had touched me deeply to you. It's a good movie, and the more people who see that can hopefully get what I got out of it. I used to be a purely HP/BtVS writer, but I got brave and tried something new. I'm glad you all came along for the ride.
Who knew that a little over two weeks ago (it seems much longer than that, doesn't it?) that this story would grow to this size (becoming my longest completed fic by word count and my most reviewed as well). This is the last chapter of Protector of the Weak, and while it is sad to see it go, I don't think it'll be the end of this universe. . . but I would keep my eyes peeled for the sequel, Sarmatian Ladies. That is, if you're all interested in the sequel.
9. With Hope, Love Should End With Hope
Dawn sighed as she stared at the computer screen. They'd been looking for three weeks so far, but out of all of the knights, they were still five short. All they had was Gawain. Damn, Gavin. His name was Gavin. It was so hard for her to remember that. There were so many things about him that screamed out Gawain, but he was actually interesting to her this time around. Of course, she'd actually gotten to know him. And it was much better now that he wasn't constantly asking if she was a Woad anymore. They'd finally gotten him to agree to moving into a new home Dawn had gotten for the knights. Now she just needed to find the rest of them.
She glanced over at the wall of sketches she'd done the week after they'd found Gavin. On her large memo board were detailed portraits of each knight she'd met. Dagonet's was in the center, surrounded by the others. It was at moments like this that she was glad she'd taken all of those art classes in school. Her art teacher had always told her she'd had great potential.
Great potential. How many times had she heard that word thrown around her the past six years? Great potential as an artist, great potential as weapon of mass destruction and chaos. Potential slayer. She had the potential to be a great breeding experiment. Well, the Powers had fucked up and they could kiss her ass if they thought she was gonna play by their rules anymore. She was done being what everyone wanted her to be. She was going to be a mom, and that in itself was completely scary. Not only that, she was going to be a single mom who led a life of danger and dumb ass prophecies that sent people back in time.
She wasn't sure she really knew what to expect. Life just seemed to be getting more and more complicated by the second. It seemed like every time she'd gotten to a good point in her life, the Powers or stupid evil people kept slapping her down. Frustrated, she yanked open her top desk drawer and pulled out the tiny composition book she'd hidden there. In her spare time, as if she ever got any, she'd been trying to pick baby names. Picking a boy's name had been fairly simple. If it was a boy, she'd name him William Dagonet and be done with it. He'd be named after the two men who'd always tried to protect her. It also helped that she'd found out William meant 'a strong and resolute protector'.
It was picking a girl's name that proved to be so hard. Everyone was sure the baby was going to be a girl. How could it not be? After countless hours of searching online, she'd gotten a good grasp of what she might want. For first names, it was pretty much narrowed down to two: Nerys or Aithne. The middle name was easy: Joyce. Nerys held a special place in her heart. It meant lady in Welsh. That was what the knights had called her.
There was a soft knock at her door. Dawn quickly covered the memo board before calling them in. She locked her eyes on the computer screen.
"Miss Summers?" A woman's voice echoed into the room, her accent marking her as British. "Mr. Giles sent me with some paperwork to you fill out."
"Really?" Dawn looked up then, curious as to what Giles would want her to sign. Dawn felt her heart stop as she looked up into the face of woman. "Oh my . . "
"Miss Summers? You all right?" She asked.
"Guinevere?" Dawn whispered.
Gwen Hamlin felt her step falter as she crossed over to the big oak desk She'd only been working for the Council for a week or so, having taken over the position her father once held as a watcher. She hadn't actually gone through any serious training yet, but she felt she could do as good a job as her father had. But she didn't think her progress had reached Miss Summers yet. She was in the inner circle, and still recovering from some ordeal the rest of the inner circle had worked very hard to keep quiet.
"No, Miss Summers. But you're very close." Gwen said brightly. "I'm Gwen Hamlin, George Hamlin's daughter."
"Who?" Dawn asked, confused.
"He was the Watcher of the slayer from 1982 to 1984." Gwen replied. Didn't she already know this?
"Oh." Dawn paused, her brow scrunched in confusion. "You haven't worked here long, have you?"
"I started about a week ago." Gwen said cautiously. What was she on about?
"A week. . ."
"Mr. Giles asked that I bring this to you." Gwen said, handing her the packet of papers he'd given her.
"Oh, thanks." Dawn glanced down at them. They were department transfer papers. "You're coming to work in the Ancient Languages department?"
"Mr. Giles said it was a very special department and that my expertise would be needed here." Gwen nodded. "Especially now that you're planning on taking maternity leave in a few months time. He thought it best if I come and learn the ropes."
Dawn flipped through the packet. A number of emotions were swamping her. Angry that Giles had not only picked someone to be placed in her department, but had gotten a replacement for her. Confusion at why Guinevere had shown up now and didn't seem to remember anything. Then she read the Post-it note on top of Gwen's picture.
It seems the Powers have placed another one under your care. She's overly qualified for both your department and your mission.
Dawn blinked in surprise. Giles, along with Buffy, had been the most adamant that she not take on this mission. It was shocking. Gwen watched her, noticing small things around the room. Things that seemed out of place.
"Oh, you can sit down." Dawn said belatedly, gesturing to the empty chair. "I guess I should welcome you."
"It's not really -" Gwen smiled brightly. "I'm just pleased that they've found a place for me here."
"It says here that you speak three of the dead languages as well as - " Dawn stuttered, her eyes catching the words printed on the paper before her. "Um, sorry. You're majoring in British History?"
"Yes, I've always been fascinated by the tribes that inhabited the country before the Romans arrived." Gwen smiled. Dawn bit her lip to keep from crying out. Maybe she did remember.
"Really?" Dawn tilted her head to the side. "Are you trained in any fighting or weapon skills?"
"Yes. My father believed that I should know how to defend myself should any rogue demons and vampires attack. It's the life of a Watcher's child." Gwen said, sitting up straighter in the high backed chair.
"Yeah." Dawn said softly, her hand going to her stomach.
"I didn't -"Gwen started, hoping she hadn't lodged her whole foot in her mouth.
"What kind of weapons?" Dawn shook her head, probing the other woman.
"Crossbow, hand axe, dagger." Gwen smiled, thinking back to her childhood and teen years. "I always fancied myself a bit of an Amazon."
"Cross bow, not just a regular longbow?"
"Well, I know both, but I must admit I do prefer a longbow. It's got more of a feel to it." Gwen replied instantly, not even thinking. "How -"
"I prefer the long bow to the cross bow. My sister doesn't." Dawn said, remembering the huge argument that had broken out between them when Dawn had wanted to start training Gavin in using a longbow.
It had been with that argument that Buffy had learned Dawn had killed. It had been horrible. Buffy had given her this horrified expression, as if she were the worst thing in the entire world. Buffy had been back in Rome since then. Which really annoyed Dawn the most. Her fighting and killing people had had nothing to do with power, like it had for Willow and Faith years ago. It had been necessary to the survival of not only herself, but of innocent people as well.
She felt bad that she had to do it, sure. But there wasn't a doubt in her mind that if she hadn't, someone else would have died. It hurt that Buffy was being distant, but she couldn't spend all of her time looking for her sister's approval. Buffy had stopped giving it years ago, so she'd stopped looking for it.
"Your sister is quite famous." Gwen said, uncertain of what to say next. "Not that the other inner Council members aren't as well."
"The others are. Me? I normally get left out of the decision making process." Dawn snorted. "Including on what I get informed of."
Gwen was silent for a moment. She was trying to take the words in and wondering why Dawn was being so open with her. Then it hit her.
"Bugger all, they didn't clear this with you, did they?" Gwen cried.
"Well, no, not the 'adding you to the department to take over for me' part." Dawn said, thinking quickly. "Because there was already someone to do that for me, for when I left for the fall semester. But Giles had mentioned you in passing for a special project I'm heading."
"Really?" Gwen asked.
"Yes. It's actually right up your alley." Dawn paused. How to put this gently without totally freaking her out? "I'm certain you've heard of the legend of King Arthur?"
"Of course." Gwen said cautiously.
"Certain . . . elements have presented themselves, and the Council - I am in charge of gathering them together."
"What does that mean?"
"In plain English?" Dawn coughed. "I have to gather up the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur, and Guinevere to fulfill a prophecy that pretty much wrecked my life."
"Yeah." Dawn gave a small laugh.
Cordelia Chase glared at her partner. Europa, the super-bitch was carrying on about their 'charge' again. She really wished she'd lay off Dawn. The girl had it pretty rough right now, and the Powers weren't making it any easier. Not that they would if they could anyway.
"The Key is an imbecile." Europa huffed as they watched Dawn tell Guinevere about the mission. "Becoming human was the worst possible thing to happen to it."
"Yeah, cuz when it was a glowing green power source for all and sundry to use at will it was tons better." Cordelia snorted. "And like you made the best choices a person could make. You made out with a bull!"
"That was different. He was a god." Europa said seething at the younger Higher Being.
"That didn't stop you from falling for him and getting your heart broken." Cordelia sighed. "You've been up here too long."
Cordelia glanced over her shoulder at the doorway. Europa would throw a huge diva style fit if she knew what Cordelia was planning. Good thing she was always so wrapped up in how Dawn was going to screw everything up. It took the pressure off just a little bit.
"Has the child never heard of tact?" Europa cried.
"It's a Sunnydale curse." Cordelia muttered.
While Europa stewed on about Dawn's many faults, Cordelia slipped away. The red handled doorknob in her hand, she twisted it open slowly. If the Powers wanted to fuck with another Sunnydale alum, they'd have to go through Queen C to do it.
Gwen sat very still for a long time. Was she serious? Gwen had a very strong feeling that she was. Something about her screamed out trust me. Gwen was unsettled by that feeling. She wasn't used to that feeling. But then this woman had lived on the Hellmouth for most of her life, so it could be just that vibe that had Gwen distrusting her.
"I was always fascinated by the Hellmouth." Gwen said quietly.
"Huh?" Dawn asked, confused.
"Before it sunk in, of course. Not because it was the Hellmouth, quite the opposite, actually. Because of it's name." Gwen smiled. "It seemed such a wonderful place. Sunnydale. Who would suspect it of being so evil with a name like that?"
"It had it's moments." Dawn said slowly.
Gwen's eyes, which had been down, flicked up quickly. Images of cart crowded with people played through her mind, a woman talking quietly, helping her to keep her mind off of the pain that throbbed through her. Gwen sucked in a mouthful of air, like she was drowning in a large lake. What was going on? The image changed, and she saw Dawn with her back to a large man, and Gwen could feel the vibration of a longbow in her hands. The scream of battle tearing through her lungs, blood pumping through her veins.
Dawn watched her, not sure if she was remembering or if she was on the verge of running away screaming. Gwen shot her eyes up, trying to catch Dawn's.
"Dawn. . .you called me Guinevere."
"That was your name a very long time ago." Dawn said softly. "We were sisters in arms."
"Dawn? Willow said you'd be in here, and . . ." Gavin called from the doorway, startling the two women. He looked between them, his eyes growing wide. "You found Guinevere?"
"Who's he?" Gwen asked. His face was very familiar.
"Gawain." Dawn replied.
"Gavin." Gavin retorted, rolling his eyes. "I've been here nearly a month, you should know this by now." He said playfully.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. You'll always be Gawain to me." Dawn sighed.
He was sitting on the hill of rolling green grass. He wasn't looking at anything, just staring into the sky. He wasn't even sure it was actually sky. But he'd been staring at it anyway. He heard the rustling of the grass from behind him. Years ago, lifetimes actually, he would have been at the ready with his sword or axe at hand. But he was no longer in that life, nor any other kind of life. He was in the havens. A true paradise, even if it bore only one single flaw.
"Speak, lady." He said quietly.
"You're loud." He cast his eyes up to the woman.
She looked rather insulted. Not that he particularly cared, but he felt a pang of guilt at his words. Just because he was upset with the Powers didn't mean he had the right to take it out on her. She hadn't been here all those years ago. She hadn't given him his choices.
"Oh, wow, you are too good to be true." She rolled her eyes and sat down beside him. "It kinda sucks, the situation they put you in."
"I chose this, lady." He kept his eyes on the sky, trying to show his indifference.
"They lied to you, trying to make you chose this, you know." She replied, crossing her arms over her chest.
"They told me she would not be born again in the next life so that I would trap myself here?" He slid his glance over to her. "Why?"
"Because there were secrets about Dawn that she didn't have time to tell you about." Cordelia sighed. "And technically, they were right about that. Dawn wouldn't have been reincarnated like you would have. She wouldn't even have been born yet."
"Dawn wasn't always a human. She didn't always have a soul." Cordelia paused. "And having a soul makes you as close to human as you can be."
"She was human. She had flesh, blood, and spirit." He said flatly.
"Yeah, she did. When she met you. She wasn't born in your time, though. She was born in the future."
"Dawn was sent back into the past to meet you and the other knights." Cordelia let that sink in for him before she continued on. "Dawn wasn't always human. For thousands of years, she was just a ball of green energy called the Key."
"The Key? What did she open?"
"Portals to other dimensions and times. The Key was hidden away so that a Hell god couldn't return to her dimension." Cordelia thought for a moment. "But the minions of this god, tracked it down. They killed the monks who were protecting the Key. In order to keep her from finding it, the monks made the key into a person. A pure innocent."
"That would not protect her." He said quietly.
"No, but they created memories for her and gave her to a great warrior who would protect her."
"Her sister." He whispered.
He remembered Dawn telling him of how her sister was a great warrior. He remembered the look on her face when she spoke of her. The woman had once been her hero, but there was pain in that look as well. He had wished back then that he could have erased the sadness he saw there. Cordelia watched him for some sign of understanding. All she saw him do was clench his fist.
"The girl you met is a new soul. She was only human for five years when you met her. That's why they said she wouldn't meet you in the next life."
He lowered his head into his hands. She would have lived again, just no in his time.
"She was sent back to your time to meet the knights, conceive Lancelot's child, and escape the battle."
"Lancelot's child?" He deadpanned. Had his friend betrayed his memory? Had she?
"Instead, she got herself tangled up in a whole heap of other things." Cordelia continued on, noticing his fingers clench tighter. "Like you."
"She was supposed to fall in love with Lancelot. But she fell in love with you. She was supposed to run away from the battles, but she stayed because of you."
"Battles? The battle at the frozen lake." He said quietly.
"And the battle at Badon Hill."
"The one against the entire Saxon army. The one where Lancelot and Tristan died." Cordelia sighed. "They were hell to deal with when they were up here, I've been told. They tried looking for you, to tell you how she fought and how she grieved. It was before my time, but the Powers told me what happened."
"My brothers." He said quietly.
"The Powers put a lot of faith in Dawn to act like she was just a scared little girl, they didn't take all that had happened to her into account. They forgot she knew Spike and Angel, forgot that her first crushes had been on Xander and Riley. Protectors and those who see all. Zeppos." Cordelia chuckled. "Bad boys with big attitudes were a dime a dozen for her. But guys like you, those were something rarer. The fact that you're pretty hot didn't help or hinder anything at all."
Cordelia watched him, making up her mind to tell him what he needed to know. She sighed. He'd picked a beautifully empty place to spend eternity. But it was lonely. He was lonely. She knew how he felt.
"The Powers don't want me to tell you this, but I think you deserve to hear it." Cordelia sighed. "Dawn didn't completely fail the mission. She went back in time, fought in the battles, and conceived a child."
Dagonet turned to stare at her, looking into her face for the first time. Had he heard her correctly? Dawn - his Dawn - had conceived a child? When? Whose child?
"She conceived a child?" He asked, his voice gruff with emotion.
"Yes." Cordelia smiled. "Your child, Dagonet."
"My child?" He said, disbelievingly. "My child."
A large smile broke out across his face as the sunlight peeked out from behind two large clouds. Tears of joy glistened in his eyes as he imagined her heavy with his child. He was going to be -
The smile was gone as fast as it had come. His child would never know him. He would never look upon the infant's face, or hold it in his arms. He would not teach it how to mend wounds, hold a sword, or ride a horse.
"Have you come to torture me, lady? You could not have found a better weapon than this."
"No, I've come to give you a new choice." Dagonet looked up at her words, a questioning look in his eyes. "I wanna send you to her."
Gavin, Gwen and Dawn had spent the remainder of the day getting to know each other. It was important that they do so. Having finally gotten Gavin into believing he was a knight, Dawn had convinced him to move into one of the Council's homes. He would be paid to learn how to fight. Dawn had been resolute on that, and while Buffy didn't exactly agree a hundred percent, Willow, Giles and even Xander agreed. Now they would have to move Gwen's things into the house as well. Dawn was in the process of finding a more permanent home for them, however.
They had had to find a house that was close to the wall for one thing. For another, it was half crowded with Watcher Trainees. Gavin shared a flat in London with a friend, Gwen still lived in her family's home, and Dawn was still living in the Slayer Dorms.
She walked them to their cars, before turning back toward the dorms. She pressed the elevator button and waited. She couldn't stay here much longer. The dorms were a dangerous place, especially with all of the slayers around. Some of the older slayers had taken to sparring in the lounges after the gym closed. Not to mention the occasional demon attacks.
When the elevator finally arrived on her floor, Dawn was confronted with a body. A very naked, very male body that was running right at her. A surprised yelp escaped her lips as her foot jutted out to trip him and the alarms began going off on the floor. He yelled as he crashed heavily to his side. Carmen, one of the slayers who lived on her floor raced to his side, sheet clutched around her and glaring up at Dawn.
"What'd you do that for?" She accused.
"What's he doing here, Carmen? This is the under fifteen floor. You're responsible to look out for the younger girls. That's what being a mentor is." Dawn shot back. "Which means no guys staying over, Carmen. You've been told that a hundred times."
"Well, maybe you should move me to a more adult floor." Carmen snapped. "Garrett, baby, you ok?"
"'Garrett baby'?" Dawn whirled on the naked man.
"Bloody hell, what the hell hit me?"
"It's called the ground. It's what happens when your running naked from an alarm and don't look where you're going." Dawn snapped, looking at him for the first time. "You have got to be kidding me!" She yelled.
There laying on the floor, very naked and not even trying to cover himself was none other than Sir Galahad the Chaste. He looked at her as if she'd grown three heads. She gaped at him for another minute before looking up at the annoyed slayer.
"Go get his clothes, and you." She snapped at Galahad, "You are going to explain to me what you're doing with a seventeen year old girl in a private academy after hours."
"You're seventeen?" Galahad snapped. "You told me you were twenty-two."
"And you believed her?"
"Hey, I'm standing right here!" Carmen yelled.
"Carmen, go get his clothes. You, come with me." Dawn said, pointing him in the direction of the elevators. "Stupid PtB."
They'd finally decided to make things easy on her and lead her to the knights, which she'd been hoping they would do to begin with. When it rains, it pours. She thought, taking the clothes from Carmen and chucking them at him. It was going to be a very long night. She glanced over at him. Pun not intended.
Giles stared, bewildered at the appearance of a half-dressed young man and Dawn in his office. He was sure he'd seen her head home less than a half hour ago. Giles was certain he'd seen that face before.
"Dawn, what - "
"You can tell Willow that intruder spell works." Dawn said, shoving the man into the empty seat. He stared vacantly out in front of him.
"Spell?" Giles chuckled loudly. "The alarm, then?"
"Giles, he knows." Dawn rolled her eyes. "I kinda had to explain to him when he got flashbacks of being a knight."
"A knight? You've found another one? So quickly?"
"Yep. Running away from Carmen Ibanez's room."
"Not again." Giles sighed.
"Yeah, she either needs to be moved to another floor, or you're gonna have to talk to her again." Dawn shook her head. "What am I saying? Giles, I have to leave."
"Leave? Whatever for?"
"You died in battle." Galahad muttered. "Merlin told us you died!"
"Merlin lied, and shut up." Dawn snapped. "Because we need to be at the Wall. Whistler was too eager to get me back here."
"Just because he was eager - "
"When have the powers not been eager to run away from the situation? They didn't tell anyone about Angel until it was too late to stop him and Buffy. They showed up too late to tell us that Angel's group needed help last year. Giles, it's not gonna be safe for us here much longer. And as long as they keep throwing knights at my feet, it's gonna get harder for me to train them."
"It's not your job to train an army, Dawn!"
"It is." She said quietly. "It's my mission to get them ready for whatever it is the bad guys want to throw at me next."
"I don't have a lot of time here, Dagonet. So I'm only going to ask this once." Cordelia paused. "Do you love her enough to live again? To stand beside her no matter what?"
"That's what I was hoping you'd say." Cordelia took his hand in hers, and led him to the doorway he'd never seen there before. Before him was a wide, dark abyss. "This might hurt a little. Remember to tuck and roll."
"What?" Dagonet looked back at her.
"Good luck." Cordelia took both hands and shoved him hard through the doorway.
A loud, howling wind hit her ears as he was flung through the doorway. She smiled, hoping the big wigs hadn't caught on yet and tried to stop him. She replaced the original doorknob that had been hidden in her pocket and slipped back out into the room Europa had been in.
"Look at her now, flinging a naked knight around." Europa said disgustedly. "I swear, the champions keep getting dumber and dumber."
"Back off, bitch-o-rama. She's still a kid." Cordelia said, utterly fed-up with her. "It's not like all of the Powers are a hundred percent balls-on accurate all the time."
"No, I don't think I will." Cordelia said, stalking out of the room.
Europa casually slid her eyes to the left, a subtle smirk playing on her lips. So the newest being had taken fate into her own hands had she? Then everything was going according to her plan. That prophecy had no hopes of coming true now. Yes, things were shaping up quite nicely.
There was a loud booming crash of thunder rolling over the hills far north of the wall. The storm had seemed to come up out of nowhere, sending flocks of birds scattering in the tempestuous air.
No rain had come yet, just the deafening roar of thunder. In a small hill-lined, lake filled valley, a huge and blinding bolt of lightening touched down. It stayed there for a little more than a minute, dancing along the ground.
There on the scorched ground, lay the body of a man.
Two Days Later
Dawn sighed as she pushed the sunglasses up onto her head. Giles had at least taken her seriously about dealing with Carmen. The teen slayer was being moved to a new dorm. Unfortunately, he hadn't taken her seriously on her little troop of merry men getting the hell out of Dodge. So here she was, house hunting with Gavin, Gwen, and Gala - Garrett. Near London, not near the wall where they needed to be looking.
The house they were in right now looked like it needed to be condemned. Quentin Travers didn't even deserve to live in a house like this, and he'd been a total bastard. Dawn didn't even want to touch anything in here, much less live in it.
"This one - it's kinda small isn't it?" Gavin asked. "You're gonna be raising a family here. I'd think you'd need more space."
"These are the only empty Council properties left." Gwen sighed heavily. "You can't even draw a sword in here."
"Probably can't even draw a bath." Garrett said, glancing in the tiny bathroom. "Ugh."
"This is that last house, you guys." Dawn groaned. "The problem is that's no place for us. This - and the five buildings before it - it's not where we should be. Giles knows this! I told him."
"Where should we be then? Back at the Wall that my former self tried to escape from?" Garrett snapped.
"Yes, it is. We - unlike the Slayers - need open space to fight, to learn how to properly fight again." Gwen said, backing her up. "Slayers must learn how to fight in any given space. We need to learn how to fight on a battlefield."
"To fight like the knights you once were. We need the Council's land north of the wall." Dawn said, nodding in agreement.
"Dawn? Are you in here?" Willow's voice came from the porch.
"Yeah, we're in here." Dawn called.
In the corner of her eye, she could see Gavin straighten a little. Dawn rolled her eyes. It was kinda cute, this little crush he had on Willow. Dawn wondered if he'd tell Willow that he liked her and what the witch would say about it. Willow pulled the door open and her jaw dropped. She stared in horror at the walls. Garrett chuckled loudly, Gwen bit her lip to keep from laughing at the face Willow made and smacked him.
"Ugh." Willow said. "This - this is worse than the Harris's basement."
"Tell me about it. I thought you couldn't make it today?"
"Plans changed." Willow handed Dawn a piece of paper. "Giles had me run your sketches through the net. We've already got two hits."
"Bors and Tristan." Willow smiled. "Boris Haggarty, 31. He's a part-time soccer coach, and bartends on the side. Single, living in Hampshire." She handed Dawn the other paper. "And Trevor Bishop, 26, cab driver with a degree specializing in Military history. Didn't join up himself, but still he's got a bit of the background you'll need. Single, once again, but lives in northern London. His regular route and the cab company address."
"That gives us a good place to start." Gavin said, smiling at Willow.
"Not only that. Willow bears more good news!" Willow said happily, a little flushed at Gavin's smile. "House hunting, more north of here. Lacks this place's ambiance. But still, big enough for six growing Knights, two sisters in arms, a baby, and hopefully, a witch?" Willow said, handing Dawn a picture.
It was a large, three story country home. There was a large rolling hill dotted with flowers and sprawling trees. There was a neat little cobblestone pathway that led to the door. Dawn looked at it harder. It was gorgeous. It looked like a real home, and she hadn't had one of those for nearly three years.
"It's big enough. Where is it?"
"A mile or two south of the wall. Giles had mentioned you were looking for something like that."
"He had us looking at all of these miserable pieces of shite when we could have been packing to move into that?" Garrett cried. "That is despicable."
"Drama queen." Gwen and Dawn said together.
"That's not fair." Garrett cried.
"No, but it's true." Gavin said laughingly.
"I think we should go home, guys." Dawn said, the picture clutched gently in her hand as she looked at her new friends. She would always miss Dag, that would never change. But she would have their child, and his friends beside her. "Come on. We've got packing to do and knights to track down. They aren't going to be as easy to find as Galahad over there. Chaste my ass." Dawn snorted.
"Hey! I'm plenty chaste!" Garrett yelled.
"She found you running ass naked out of a girl's room, Gar." Gwen laughed, lacing her arm through Dawn's. "There's no way that's considered chaste."
"They've got you there." Gavin slapped him hard on the back.
"Oh yes, gang up on me. Let's all pick on the new knight."
"It's just so easy, Garrett." Dawn called back, leading them towards the car.
"It's the luck of the draw, mate."
"Oh, and why don't we ever pick on Saint Gawain over here?" Garrett demanded.
"Cuz." Dawn shot back, thoroughly enjoying the taunting of Garrett.
"Just because." Dawn shrugged. "He's sweet."
"Tells great jokes." Gwen continued.
"And he's blond. We have a special place in our hearts for blonds."
"This is true."
"And it probably has something to do with the fact that his name never included 'the Chaste' or 'the Pure' at the end."
"You know, it's that false advertising that gets you every time." Gwen said seriously.
"You two are a trip." Willow laughed.
"Yup." The two women said at the exact same time.
"I think it might be time for us to start getting worried." Gavin mock-whispered to Garrett.
"Just wait until the mood swings and bizarre cravings kick in." Willow said, slipping into the backseat.
"Bloody hell." Garrett groaned.
Dawn smiled. It was a good ending to long and painful journey. Scratch that. It was a good beginning to a new and exciting journey. Who knew where this path would take them? She might not have all the answers, but she had a good idea where to start.
A man standing in the shadows pulled a slim cased cell phone from his pocket. He dialed in the familiar number. It rang. Across the land and sea, over countless mountains and valleys, someone picked up.
"Yes?" The smooth voice said.
"They are moving."
"Into one of those homes in the city?"
"No, sir. Farther north of the city."
"And have all of the knights been located?"
"No. They only have the two."
"That is good news. Let us hope they do not find all of them before they reach the wall."
The unassuming man hung up the phone, turning to his companion. She smiled.
"Your little charge has not found them all. But then, you did not come here to tell me this."
"The girl they've paired me with. She's sent the variable back to earth." Europa smiled mischievously. "With the variable here, she will never take the dark knight's heart, even if she could find him."
"Let us hope you are right, Europa."
"I am always right, my lord."
A boy of no more than eight raced quickly to his father. There was someone hurt by the lake. The man was rushed to the nearest hospital. There was no identification on him, and no one seemed to know him. He looked like a mix between soldier and a Rugby player.
He wasn't seriously hurt. There wasn't any noticeable head trauma nor any serious injuries at all. Except that he was in a coma. He slept, breathed on his own, and only needed iv's to keep him hydrated and nourished. And while he slept, he dreamed of his love and his unborn child that waited for him.
A/N: That's all she wrote . . .for now. Like I said, keep your eyes peeled for Sarmatian Ladies, which chapter one is a quarter of a way to finished now. There are people I need to thank.
Emony and Padawan: Thank you so much for doing those manips. I was very touched that my story inspired you. They're wonderful.
To all of you who reviewed (and there's quite a lot of you): Words cannot express how deeply moved I was by all of your support, constructive criticism, help, and joy at this simple little story.
I wrote this story on a complete whim. I thought everyone would think it was utter crap, that the movie was crap, and not even bother to read it. I thought the pure KA ficcers out there would skin me alive for writing this story, I thought everyone would say how out of character they were, how romantic and silly I was being. You all amazed me with your response to this story. I'd be exhausted at the end of the day, convinced everything I wrote was utter crap, and my email would be full of new reviews telling me how much you liked the way I was writing or how it made you cry or laugh (and I know I made you all cry far too much) or how much the story touched you. It made all of the gut wrenching things I had to do mean that much more. Thanks again.