Disclaimer: I don't own any of characters. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
A/N: _Reset_ takes place in the future after all of my other current stories. To know how I created the relationships mentioned, read the shorts I have posted together under the title _Of Slayers, Smurfs and Sneakers_ plus _Judge, Jury.._ and of course _Off Switch_ which this is a followup to. Warning: I started this story intending it to be a one shot but it sort of got a life of its own and became a little...odd. I hope you enjoy.
The smells from the street vendors; the sweet aromas of spices, breads, and meats drifted up and beckoned like a siren’s song. Dawn Summers, currently known as Anne Sumpter, looked down at the souks below. The young looking woman pushed her long bangs out of her face and licked her lips at the thought of having some street food. She looked back at the Skyway she was on and started plotting her decent into old Chicago. She double checked her pocket to make sure she had the proper ID for her current persona. She wanted to get back up without a hassle. Licking her lips at the smell of a tangy barbeque that reached her, Dawn headed for the nearest down ramp.
The lower walkways of the Skyway had been the first phase of building what was now considered New Chicago, directly over what came to be referred to as Old Chicago. It was of course not originally planned that way. The Skyway system was originally planned to help reduce traffic on the congested city streets by making it more convenient to walk safely between office buildings. As the city grew and technology advanced, the old streets and buildings below crumbled as the new monoliths were built above them.
Dawn made her way down to Old Chicago picking her way through the maze of corridors, walkways, stairs and escalators. She held a small computer interface down in front of her, making notes, requests for reports and comments on an endless list of projects. Stopping for a second she took the time to glance at her reflection in a window. She smiled, long bangs and short hair where the current style of the under twenty five crowd. It had been a long time since she’d snuck out without her current matronly glamour. She’d almost forgotten what she looked like without it. She sniffed the air. What was that? Sesame chicken. She returned to her quest.
One more walkway and a set of stairs and her quest would be over. Dawn stopped and turned off her computer. Somebody was following her. Putting her computer away, Dawn placed a hand on the hilt of her knife, Mr. Sharpie. “I know you’re there.” She said conversationally. “Let’s have a look at you.”
A man stepped out from around a corner. He was a bit taller than Dawn, with closely cropped salt and pepper hair, a solid frame and square jaw. He let the front of his classic old style trench coat fall open as he approached. “I am Joseph Israel Miller.”
“Nice to meet you, Joe.” Dawn said quickly. “I can call you Joe. Can’t I? It’s not like we’re in a professional relationship here or anything.”
“I saw you. I recognized you from a long time ago in London.” The man said as he stepped forward and drew a sword out from under his jacket. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen another.”
“Whoa, wait right there.” Dawn held up her hand that was not clutching the handle of her knife under her jacket. “I’m not who you think I am.”
“You can’t deny it.” Joseph said. “One thing I’ve learned is to never forget a face. Now prepare to defend yourself.”
“But I’m not like you.” Dawn said. “Don’t you feel it?”
“What?” He brought his sword forward as Dawn stepped back.
“Exactly!” Dawn tried to smile. She could defend herself against most people and had spent years training slayers, but this was a centuries old swordsman and all she had was the knife her sister had given her so many lifetimes ago. “I admit it, I’m a lot older than I look, but I’m not like you. I’m not part of the game.”
“Everybody plays.” Joseph replied. “It’s the price you pay for your immortality.”
“No, it’s not.” Dawn said. “I’m not one of your kind. Do you feel the quickening at all?”
Joseph looked a little confused. “No.” He took a half step back.
“That’s because I don’t have it. I’m not quickened.” Dawn stated starting to get a glimmer of hope. She wished she had her wizarding wand. She’d be able to get out of this without anybody getting hurt.
The Immortal remembered something. He’d heard once that those who were old or strong enough could learn to shield their quickening to hide from other immortals.”
Dawn watched the man’s eyes. Something changed. “Damn.”
Joseph swung so fast Dawn barely had time to duck and pull her knife. Only her experience sparring with slayers gave her the skill and timing she needed to get under the Immortal’s swing and stab the man in the back. Dawn stumbled away and tried to run down the alley as pain surged through her side. Joseph had reversed his swing and caught her side as she stabbed him. She made about five steps then all the strength left her legs and pain exploded through her body. She looked down to see his sword protruding from her stomach. Screaming as pain seared through her very being she fell forward sliding off the blade.
It took all of her remaining energy to turn and look at the Immortal, Joseph Israel Miller, standing above her. “You stupid shit.” She choked through the haze of pain and blood pouring from her mouth. “You’ve signed your own death warrant.”
“There can be only one.” Joseph proclaimed as he prepared to take the head of the first Immortal he’d found in over a decade.
“Yea, good luck with that.” Dawn spat more blood on the ground, then nothing.
Joseph pulled the fine old knife out of his back and prepared for what had to be a powerful quickening. He held out his arms and waited. Nothing. He looked at the headless body lying in a pool of blood at his feet. Could it be? Did he just kill somebody who wasn’t part of the game? He looked at the remains of the young woman. His stomach clenched and he turned and lost his lunch. Sesame Chicken.
Joseph Miller wiped off the girl’s knife and put it in his belt. He took one more look at the remains of the attractive young woman and limped out of the alley leaving the body where it fell.
To be continued....