Disclaimer : I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Wheel of Time they are both copyrighted by their creators and I make no money from this fanfiction.
Dawn stopped walking when she noticed Rand bringing up his bow with a slight jump, turning around she was too busy looking for whatever had spooked Rand to notice that Tam had stopped the horse and wagon. Sweeping her eyes back and forth over the road trying to find anything out of the ordinary, she welcomed the familiar rush of adrenalin heightening her senses as her breathing slowed. Everything was calm and quite for as far as she could see, the only sounds besides the constant wind was the creaking of Bella's leather harness and the nearly silent footfalls of Tam coming up behind them. Glancing at Tams calm face she slowly let the tension drain from her shoulders and arms as she lowered her bow, though she still kept the arrow notched just in case.
She swept her eyes around the land once more as Tam questioned Rand about what he had seen.
"Dawn saw it too." Rand said looking at Dawn for confirmation . "Didn't you?"
"No Rand, I'm sorry." Shaking her head and glancing at Tam before shrugging her shoulders "I didn't see anything. Just you. I thought you had seen something to cause alarm but when I turned there was nothing there."
"But there was. I swear there was!"
"We believe you lad," Tam reassured placing a hand on Rands shoulder. "But whatever it is its gone. We can't spare the time too look for it right now, we'll have to keep our eyes out as we walk. I want to get this apple brandy to Bran and be back to the farm as soon as possible. After this winter I don't want to leave the farm unattended more than necessary."
Rand merely nodded his understanding gripping his own bow tightly as Tam made his way back to the front of the wagon. Looking over at Dawn Rand asked,
"You believe me right."
"Yeah." Seeing his dubious look she added, "really Rand. Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there, doesn't mean it isn't dangerous. Keep sharp."
Rand just looked at her and for a moment she wondered if she had overdone it, but then he nodded and moved to fallow the wagon. Shifting her grip on her bow she fell into step on the other side of the wagon using her free hand to pull her cloak tighter around her with a grimace. She had been in this world for five years now and still wasn't used to the cold. She'd never even seen snow until she came to the two rivers, the closest she'd come to snow before that was the pictures from national geographic, and to her own way of thinking that was close enough. The cold hadn't been the only thing she'd had to get used to, this world was so different from Sunydale and Los Angeles.
Every once in a while she would still wake up hoping that it was all a dream that it wasn't real, but those days were happening less and less. She liked to think that was because she was moving on, making this place her home so she could carve out a new life for herself. That it was for the best she forget about her world, it wouldn't do to live in the past after all. Most of the time that reasoning made her feel better.
Most of the time.
But then some nights she'd lie awake in the dead silence surrounded by an unending darkness and she'd feel the despair rising up in her chest again as strong as ever. Even though Sunydale was smaller than LA it was still never truly quiet or dark, not even in the middle of the night, not like it is here. On those nights she would lie awake unable to silence the hateful little voice in her head saying that she was giving up, she was settling for a life that wasn't meant for her. The little piece of her deep down that resented her friends and family for not finding her, for not saving her. She hated that the most. After those nights she was always up first making tea, sharpening her knifes, waxing her bow strings, and sometimes she'd just sit looking at the door. The urge to leave almost overpowering.
At first the urge to leave was easy to ignore, she was new to this world. There was so much she didn't know, she knew that she wouldn't be able to last a week in this place on her own. So she stayed. The Al'Thor farm became her home, they became her family as she learned how to survive in this place. After three years she was sure that she had learned all that she needed too to be able to move on, but still she stayed, unwilling to leave her new family behind. She came up with various reasons why she shouldn't leave yet, why it wasn't the right time. But as much as she loved Tam and Rand the need to leave had only gotten stronger. The last couple of months her pack had sat by her bedroom door packed and ready to go.
Somehow she knew that this was the year she needed to leave, she couldn't explain why. Maybe it was some survival instinct left over from Sunydale maybe it was something else, but whatever it was she was never more certain that if she didn't leave here she would die. She was planning on leaving after the Beltane festival tomorrow, heading north to Barlon first, and then seeing where her feet took her. She planned on looking over Bran Al'veres old maps to plan her route of travel while Tam and Rand unloaded the apple brandy.
She still hadn't told them she was leaving, although she suspected that Tam knew anyway. The last three months he had taken to throwing questions at her throughout the day. What plants are poison, which were safe, how do you build a fire so it isn't visible from the road, what are the best foods to take on a long journey, how do you know if you are overtaxing your horse. And even when she was a little snarky with her answers she was still happy that he cared enough to make sure she knew the answers. Yes she was certain Tam knew, which left only Rand.
How was she going to tell him that she was leaving? Her dear little brother who had no thoughts of leaving the two rivers himself. Sure he talked about it with his friends Matt and Perrin, but that's all it was. Talk. She knew leaving to have an adventure was a idle daydream for him, that he had no real ambition to be anywhere but the west wood on his own farm. And she couldn't blame him for it. This was the only life he had ever known. And while it would be nice to have him along she didn't really think he was ready to go anywhere. He was too young. She knew it was strange to think he was too young when she was only three years older but she figured it was his innocence that made him seem so much younger.
At almost twenty he had an innocent naïveté about him that wouldn't have existed in someone from her world, hell it hadn't existed in her since she was thirteen. It was almost ten years ago that she had been forced to realize that the darkness of the world wouldn't pass her by just because she didn't seek it out. That staying alive sometimes meant making the hard decisions, and dealing with what happens afterwards. He'd never seen someone he cared about killed by a demon. He had never been in a situation were it was kill or be killed. In the number of years they had lived they were close in age, but in experience she was so much older than him, older than all the boys and girls of their generation in Edmonds field. She couldn't help but feel protective of him. Sometimes it made her wonder if this was what Buffy had felt when she looked at her.
She was dreading telling him, which was why she had decided to wait and tell him after the festival. She didn't want to ruin the celebration for him, especially when he had been looking forward to it for so long.
As Emonds field came into view she mentally braced herself to deal with the women's circle, this worlds version of PTA on steroids. They were always after her to put on a dress and act as a proper young woman should. They almost always had some wonderful young lad they wanted to marry her off to. Somehow without having kissed a single boy she had gotten a reputation as a heart breaker. It was totally not her fault every eligible young man had approached her to ask for her hand, and every one left looking like a kicked puppy when she said no. It had become a bit of a joke to Rand and his friends, they would guess the order of suitors and laugh when she sent them away.
Glancing at Rand she could see the smile already brightening his face, no doubt he was already planning to meet up with Matt and Perrin so he could catch up on all the gossip before they headed home. She smiled as she looked away, thinking of their reaction to her calling them gossips. Rand had pouted, even though he still swears to this day he hadn't been pouting, Matt had just crossed his arms and scowled at her. She should have known that meant trouble. That night Matt slipped black ink into her tea turning her teeth black. The wisdom had chased him all across the green for that, the way she heard it from Egwene he hadn't been able to sit comfortably for three days afterwards.
Matt had never really been fond of her after that, like he blamed her for the tanning he'd taken. As if it had been her idea for him to douse her tea with ink. But then that was the way Matt was. He was always getting himself into trouble one way or another. And to his way of thinking his punishments were never fair or just. She was just glad that Rand and Perrin didn't let him pull them into his schemes to often. They both had good heads on there shoulders.
Dawn smirked slightly as they made their way through town to the mayors tavern. While Tam was friendly and answered everyone called greeting with one of his own he didn't slow the wagon even a little bit. If he spent to long in conversation one of the women who thought he should remarry would come over trying to mother hen him and introduce him to some woman she knew who just happened to be available. Her smirk faded when she realized that some of the women were starring at her intently. Some of the women who had given here trouble in the past, trying to stuff her in a dress. Turning forward she hurried after Tam.
It's not that she was trying to run away from them, really, she just didn't want to fall behind.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The opportunity to slip away came when old man Cein planted himself in front of the wagon forcing Tam to stop or run him over. At first Dawn wanted to hear his new complaints about the wisdom Nyneave, but when she saw Daisy coming over she decided to book it and make her way to the tavern by herself. If Daisy got her hands on her there was no telling how long it would take to get away, the woman was a force to be reckoned with.
She was so preoccupied by her thoughts that she couldn't remember what platitudes she'd offered mistress Al'Vere but in no time she was alone with the books, free to look at maps without having to explain why. The maps weren't the most detailed but that wasn't exactly unexpected, no one from Emonds field ever went anywhere so they didn't need good maps. There was enough for her to plan a route north by Teren Ferry and then up to Barlon. She figured that once she got there she would be able to find a better map. As she was putting up maps Tam walked in glancing at her as he headed to the hearth to stare into the fire.
"Did you find your path north?"
Tam merely nodded still looking into the fire like as if it might hold the answers he wanted. Dawn moved closer to the fire knowing that he had more to say, stopping on the other side of the hearth she looked at the flames as she waited for him to gather his thoughts. He glanced at her from the corner of his eyes the back at the fire.
"You plan to tell Rand after Beltane."
"Yes." She answered even though it hadn't been a question.
He was silent again for several minutes before he seemed to rouse himself from his thoughts. Moving away from the fireplace he straightened as he turned to face her.
" I trust you realize you will always have a place with us should you want it again. You have become family to Rand and I."
" yes of course. " Dawn couldn't help but smile at that statement, not only because of the sentiment involved but because she had never seen him look so uncomfortable.
Tam shifted on his feet and cleared his throat. Turning on his heel he turned and headed out the door calling out over his shoulder as he went,
"You should find Rand while I gather the cart and horse, I want to be on the way home within the hour."
Clearly he'd had all the heartfelt conversation he was up today. She knew he loved Rand and thought of her as the daughter he'd never had, but he wasn't really the touchy feely type. Not that she minded, he kind of reminded her of Giles in that way. Only less British.
Dawn headed over two the green she figured that was the best place to find Rand and his friends. She hoped Matt hadn't already pulled him into some kind of mischief, the boy could bring on trouble faster than a lightning strike.
When she finally found them she was surprised to see that Rand, Matt and Perrin were all together, not that it was uncommon them to be together they were all friends after all, but what was strange was the woman they were talking to. Dawn had never seen her before, and after five years she knew everyone in Emonds field and the surrounding farms. Looking closely at the woman she noticed her fine cloths and the tall man standing behind her, she was almost certain that this lady wasn't from the two rivers at all and the man only made her more sure of that fact. He was tall and his eyes seemed to take in everything around him all at once, she recognized that look from her sister and people around here just didn't have that kind of watchfulness about them. And they had no reason to as nothing ever happened around here. But it wasn't just his eyes, by the way he moved to fallow after the mystery woman she could see that his sword wasn't just for show, he knew how to use it. She was willing to bet that anyone who tried to attack him or the lady probably didn't live long enough to regret the decision.
When she reached the boys she was barely able to get out 'what's going on' before they were tripping over each other and showing their golden coins (one each) and telling her all about the "lady". She wasn't sure witch of them blushed harder when they mentioned how pretty she was and how impressive he had been, but it sure amused her to no end. Although she did wonder why they had really come to Emonds field and what she could possibly want with three farm boys. She decided to keep her suspicious thoughts to herself as her and Rand walked to meet Tam, she doubted Rand would be willing to think about anything but the new strangers and the gleeman he'd told her he meet earlier.
The gleeman she was actually interested in meeting though. When she first heard of these people a couple years ago she had thought that they sounded like glorified story tellers, but now after five years of no tv, radio or Internet she was seeing the appeal. Who'd have thought she would ever miss sitting and watching Passions with Spike.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dawn sat by the fire polishing her samurai sword, it was one of the only things aside from Buffy's silver cross that made it with her from her world. It had been a gift from Angel on her fifteenth birthday, and he had spent the next three years teaching her to use it amongst other things. At first when she had come to live with him after Buffy died he had tried to keep her from any fighting. He knew that wasn't what Buffy had wanted for her, but eventually she was able to convince him that it was necessary to learn. He wouldn't always be able to protect her and besides maybe if she had known how to fight in the first place she wouldn't have been kidnaped and Buffy might not have died trying to save her.
Glancing up she noticed both Tam and Rand were reading. She had no idea what Tam was reading but she would bet anything that Rand was reading 'the Adventures of Jain Farstrider' again. It was his favorite book, he had read it at least a dozen times. Looking around she let the peace and quite calm her, as she tried to relax.
Shrugging her shoulders to release the tension she turned back to her sword working the cloth from hilt to point. Looking at the runes etched into it she doubted there was anything like it in this world. Angel had it enchanted by the Furies and while she didn't know what all of the runes were for she did know it would never break, nor would its edge ever dull, it had been made specifically for her no other weapon could come close. The sword had become a part of her in some way she didn't really understand. And to top it off the sword liked her for lack of a better word, she had lost it once and spent three days trying to find it. And then one night lying in bed she was almost asleep when something hit her stomach knocking the breath right out of her. When she could breath properly again she was stunned to see her sword lying next to her. After that it started to follow her, randomly showing up were ever she was when she knew that she'd left it in her room.
In fact that's how it ended up here in this world. One day about three months after she had arrived she'd woken up to find it sitting by her bed, sword and sheath both. She had strapped it on then and had worn it where ever she went since then. It had caused more than a few problems with the women's circle but Tam had never even blinked when he saw it the first time. All he'd asked was if she knew how to use it and when she said yes that had been that. He'd even taken her side when the village council and the women's circle tried to get her to give it up. It was funny really looking back at the uproar it had caused when she first started wearing it around the village, then grudgingly they came to terms with it. Now it hardly even garnered a glance from most people.
Putting it down on the oak table she stood and stretched before crossing the room to get herself another cup of tea. It was late, and after this cup she should try to get some sleep. Just as she was about to put the tea pot back down there was a thundering pounding on the door and she froze. Who would be calling at this time of night?
Tam was already standing with the sword he had retrieved earlier in hand, moving towards the door he called to Rand to stay back. As he reached for the door latch there was a great cracking sound and the door flew in knocking Tam aside. A giant form stood in the doorway at least ten feet tall and once it stooped to enter it straitened and Dawn got here first glance at a demon from this world.
It was massive and horrifying to look at, it had a wolfs snout, a cows hooves for feet with horns on its head. And even from where she stood she could smell it, a sickly sweet smell of decay that caught in her throat and nearly made her gag. She threw the tea pot at its head and lunged for her sword but she wasn't fast enough and just barely managed to dodge a swing of its massive sword. Backing up she was trying to find a way to get to her sword when she heard Tam shout.
"Rand Dawn get out. Run!" Sword in hand he charged the demon.
Knowing that they would only distract him and possibly get in the way in such a confined area she turned to Rand and pushed him towards a window and out.
"Come on Rand we have to get to the tree line!"
"But my father. . . "
"Tam will be fine there is only one in there and . . ."
Suddenly she stopped looking around with growing horror. They were surrounded, there was dozens of these things all over.
"We need to split up two targets are better than one, make for the barn and wait for me or Tam there. If I cant meet you there soon head to Emonds field we will meet up there."
Rand tried to object but at that moment the demons noticed them. They let out bloodthirsty howls as they charged. Dawn pushed Rand away from her and shouted.