Chapter 1

It had been 6 months since Jenna had died. 6 months since that fucking bastard Klaus killed her. 6 months that Alaric was looking after Elena and Jeremy. He couldn't just let them be alone although he spent most nights drunk at The Grill, sometimes with his drinking buddy Damon. He didn't like the nights. Being alone was tough. In his dreams he was there when Jenna died. He watch Klaus kill her, relishing in it. Then there were dreams that Jenna was back and in his bed and soft and warm and alive. These we worse. He always woke up sad and was pissed off all day. It wasn't fair to his students.

It was difficult to go back to his normal life but really for him what was normal. What he really wanted to do was track down Klaus and Stefan. Oh yeah and that little nugget of information that Elena gave him, Stefan and joined sides with Klaus and left town. Un-fucking-believable. So they were left in Mystic Falls to live their lives as normal as possible. So Alaric woke up that morning in a fairly decent mood. His dreams we not that bad last night. He showered and shaved and ate breakfast and drank coffee and breathed in and out and drove to work. He made his way through classes all morning with out a hiccup. Today was going to be a good day.

He sat behind his desk at the front of the class room waiting for his students to file in and take their seats.

"OK guys were did we leave off?" he started after the bell rang. Then there was a knock at the door. He turned and saw a tall, thin girl standing there with long brown hair.

"Hi can I help you?" he asked.

"Yeah I am a new student." she said and walked in. She handed Alaric her attendance card and stood waiting. The class looked at her but she didn't let it bother her. So she was the new kid in school. Whatever.

"OK." he said and looked down at the card. And there went the good day. Last name: Summers, First name: Dawn. Summers like Jenna only spelled different.

He looked back at her annoyed but it wasn't her fault.

"OK Dawn take that free seat in the back." he said. Dawn nodded and walked quickly to the desk he allotted to her.

"OK guys this is Dawn Summers. She is a transfer student from California. Please give her a warm welcome." And that was the extend of her introduction. She had been through this all day and most of the kids probably already knew who she was.

Alaric focused his attention back to the blackboard and taught the remainder of his class.

The bell rang 40 minutes later and the students jumped up out of their seats and out the door laughing and yelling at one another. Dawn walked towards the front of the room.

"Dawn." he called to her. "Sorry about before. I was the new kid in school a few times and the first few days always suck so I figured to not make a big deal and have you stand up here and make a speech about where you came from."

"NO its cool. I understand. I appreciate it. I have seen all of these people all day. They should know me by now." He smiled at her, a genuine smile. It felt like a long time since he had done that.

"OK so here is the syllabus and what we have covered so far. I can give you about 2 weeks before I have to test you on the subject. If you need help just ask."

"I really appreciate it Mr. Saltzman. Thank you." she said and left the room.

Alaric gathered his things and left the room for his lunch break. He walked through the quiet halls out towards the parking lot. He wanted to sit in his car and just turn off. As he walked he saw Dawn sitting on a bench by herself. He thought twice then walked over towards her.

"Hey do you mind if I sit with you?"

"No." she said and moved over for him. Alaric sat down next her and stared straight ahead.

"So California?" he said. "Where abouts in California?"

"Sunnydale." she said after she swallowed some water.

"Sunnydale. I think I have heard of it." he said thinking. He had heard of it but where from and why?

"Oh gosh no one has ever heard of Sunnydale." she laughed.

"Kind of like Mystic Falls." he said and she giggled.

"So are you and your parents getting along ok here?"

"I don't have parents." she said. Alaric looked at her puzzled. "Oh no I mean my parents are no longer with me."

"Oh I am sorry." he said feeling a twinge in his stomach.

"I am here with my older sister. She is my guardian."

"OH thats good. At least you have family."

"Yeah. We are pretty close. We are all each other has."

The silence between them got awkward. How strange this must look a teacher and a student sitting having lunch together.

"OK." he said standing up. "So if you need any help with the work let me know and we can arrange something."

"OK thats great. Thank you Mr. Saltzman."

Alaric smiled at her and walked towards his car and sat in the drivers seat. He watched Dawn sit alone and eat her lunch. He felt a kinship towards this sweet 15 year old girl.

The rest of the week had gone by quickly. Alaric had more good days then bad and he was grateful. At lunch he noticed that Dawn had acclimated perfectly well and she now sat with some girls in her grade. She took well to her school work and was ready by Friday to take the exams she had missed since the beginning of the year. This made Alaric happy. She would prove to be a good student.

Saturday night and nothing to do but hit the bar and get drunk.

Alaric sat at the bar at The Mystic Grill and downed his 3rd, 4th or 5th whiskey. He wasn't even sure anymore.

Dawn and Buffy walked into the Grill to grab a bite to eat.

"I haven't had a chance to get the kitchen situated just yet. I promise that next week we will have home cooked meals." Buffy said to Dawn as they were led to a booth. Buffy looked around at the faces of her new town.

"So anything interesting pop up yet?" Dawn asked her. Buffy knew exactly what she meant. She raised and eyebrow to Dawn.

"No not yet Dawnie. But we both know something will bare its teeth." They both laughed at her joke and looked at the menu. Dawn saw Mr. Saltzman sitting at the bar.

"OH hey there is my teacher Mr. Satltzman over there." she said pointing towards him at the bar.

"Oh good the drunk teacher. Your english teacher?" Buffy asked.

"No history. Come on I want you to meet him." Dawn said sliding out of the booth. She reached for Buffy's hand and pulled her up to her feet.

"Come on Dawnie I am starving and tired."

"It will take two minutes cranky." Dawn said and walked up to Alaric.

"Mr. Saltzman. HI" she said over excited.

Alaric turned and faced them. He noticed Buffy first. Then his eyes shifted to Dawn.

"Oh Dawn hey how are you?" he said. Buffy was surprised he wasn't slurring his words from the amount of alcohol she could smell on his breath.

"Mr. Saltzman this is my sister Buffy. Buffy my history teacher Mr. Saltzman." Buffy extended her hand to shake Alaric's.

"Your name is Buffy. Really? Buffy?" he snorted.

"Yes. It is." she said taking her hand back from the empty space between them. "It was very nice to meet you Mr. Saltzman." she looked back at their table and the waitress was bringing their food. "Oh dinner is here. Goodbye Mr. Saltzman." she said almost frigid.

"See you Monday Mr. Saltzman." Dawn chirped and walked back to their table. Alaric sat at the bar and turned his seat to look at them. To look at her. He was disgusted with himself yet again. Here he was drunk off his ass and a new student is here and he was rude to her and her beautiful sister. Wait a minuteā€¦ beautiful. Where did that thought come from? He watched from the bar as Dawn and Buffy talked and laughed. He remembered laughing. It seemed like a million years since he had laughed. Out of the corner of her eye Buffy noticed him watching them. They had finished dinner and Dawn walked up to pay the bill. Buffy got up and grabbed her jacket and lay it over her arm. She slung her purse strap over her shoulder and walked towards the bar and Alaric. He watched her walk. She moved past him and leaned in to the bartender. She put a twenty dollar bill in his hand.

"Do me a favor and make sure my friend Mr. Saltzman gets a cab home. He is in no shape to drive." she said and glanced in his direction. She turned around and walked towards the exit door.

"You can call me Alaric." he almost shouted after her. Buffy turned on her heels and looked back towards him.

Your name is Alaric. Really? Alaric." she said. He looked at her and laughed a real laugh then she turned and left the Grill with Dawn.