In all the multiple tragedies of a bloody atrocity at a college sorority which the media soon dubbed 'the Black Christmas Massacre', one particular heartbreak stood out for the survivors and the victims' families. This was the complete disappearance of Melissa Kitt.
During the ensuing police investigation, it was swiftly confirmed by them that Melissa had been one of the female students trapped on a snowy Christmas Eve in their school residence by a homicidal maniac who'd then slaughtered virtually all of these young women. Except, Melissa's body was never found among the other corpses in the sorority. Once this was established, a massive search by the authorities immediately swept through the neighborhood, all in an effort to find a possibly injured and/or disoriented Melissa before she succumbed to exposure out in the freezing winter weather.
When the hunt for the missing girl found no local traces of her, the search was quickly widened to the entire town and its outskirts. Again, nobody had any luck whatsoever in discovering where Melissa had vanished. With great reluctance, the search was eventually called off. It was glumly felt by all that when spring came, this unlucky college student's body would be revealed by the melting snow somewhere close by.
Yet, that never happened. Years went by, with Melissa's disappearance becoming a minor mystery occasionally brought up again to the public at large by those interested in the incident. The only theory which offered even the most meager crumb of comfort to the Kitt family was that their daughter had successfully escaped her attacker, but she'd either decided to never contact them again or had developed some form of amnesia from the whole stressful situation. In any case, as long as it wasn't definitely proven Melissa was dead, her family could cling to the faint hope that their loved one was still alive.
As a matter of fact, she was. Just not in this dimension.
Melissa screamed in utter terror as the skate boot with its attached razor-sharp blade came spinning at her head. Thrown with deadly force by Billy Lenz, this impromptu tool of murder was moving too fast through the air for her to dodge-
Everything went green around Melissa.
A split second later, the young woman pointlessly flinched from a no-longer-there ice skate. Trembling in shock, Melissa wildly looked around at the utterly unfamiliar room. She'd just found herself here, without remembering at all entering this place with a large conference table a few yards away now occupied by several people staring back at her with equal amazement.
One specific astonished person seated at the table resembled Melissa so closely that it seemed they were identical twin sisters...
A busy hour later involving a good many half-believed explanations, Willow Rosenberg announced to the Scoobies, "I think I know what happened, but it's not something I can do anything about right now."
The witch glanced around at Giles, Buffy, Xander, Dawn...and Melissa back again in the conference room. This latter person was desperately clutching at a restoring cup of hot, strong tea and still giving the occasional fearful shiver while seated next to the younger Summers sibling. Of her Sunnydale comrades at the table, all save one now directed their total attention to Willow who had to clear her throat to attract Dawn's notice from the constant bemused gaze she was aiming at her opposite number.
"Melissa?" Willow kindly asked. When the pale face of this newcomer jerked upwards to look at the red-haired woman across the table, she heard in this same gentle tone, "I'm sorry to bring it up again, but this is important. When you were in the sorority and that serial killer was about to murder you, you were absolutely sure you were going to die, right?"
Gulping a few times at the horrific memory, Melissa then shakily nodded once. Her sudden reaction to the worse ever moment of her entire life was lightened by the sympathetic expressions sent her way by the others at the table.
They also next heard Willow announce, "That's exactly when your Key powers kicked in, Dawn. Somehow, a psychic connection formed between our worlds so that your dimensional counterpart was then teleported here by a mystical portal."
"Wait a second!" Dawn instantly protested. "I've never done something like this before! Are you telling me that I might do it again, yanking another-me out of danger in some sort of last-minute rescue? And it could happen at any time at all, with her showing up where I am, like Melissa did?"
Willow resignedly shrugged, and sighed, "Yes."
Hearing this, Dawn in turn groaned, and slumped down further in her chair.
From where he'd been switching back and forth his fascinated stare at the pair of young women absolutely alike save for their different clothing, Xander cheerfully commented, "Hey, Dawnie, what's the problem? You saved somebody's life, and even if Melissa's stuck here now, this place can always use more beautiful ladies like you both."
For tactlessly saying that even with the concluding compliment, Xander received matching feminine scowls from across the table. Melissa then pleadingly appealed to whom she'd never thought to meet, a real-life witch, "Uh, Willow, are you really sure I can't go home again? Ever?"
That addressed Wiccan threw up her hands in a very frustrated gesture. "I promise I'll keep looking for a way, but your innate lack of magic makes it as close to impossible as makes no difference. Even if Dawn and you are perfect body doubles, down to the same blood type and fingerprints, she's the Key, and you're not. That means I don't have any ideas on where to even start about finding your non-magical dimension, much less how to get you back there."
Melissa's face became truly sad at this dismaying news. Her eyes filling with tears, she was taken completely by surprise at Dawn comfortingly patting her counterpart's right hand.
At the same time, Giles spoke firmly from his position at the other end of the table, "Ms. Kitt, you have my promise that while you're staying with the New Council, we'll provide you with whatever you need. I've already started the process of giving you a new identity, along with the required documentation. When you feel more capable of planning for your future here, either with our organization or on your own, don't hesitate to talk to me and the rest of us about this. We'll always be there for you."
Her jaw dropping at this unanticipated offer, Melissa unthinkingly blurted out, "But, but, why?! I mean, I just showed up, and you're all being so nice to me!"
Buffy had a hint of moisture in her own eyes when she told the newest member of their crazy family, "Look, Melissa, we've already had a totally unexpected addition to the Scoobies. It turned out okay in the end," (Buffy traded very wry expressions with her younger, magically-created sister) "but we really could've done things better through it all. So, right now, you're one of us and we'll deal together with any problems that come up about it. Hey, like Andrew keeps quoting from the Vor-whatever books, if it's already been done once, then it's a tradition for the Scooby Gang."
Author's Note: Because Michelle Trachtenberg should never, ever die on-screen.