posted on 8-Nov-2001 5:12:26 PM
Author: DMartinez
EMail: shockerdm⊕icqmail.com
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Joss, Melinda, Jason and UPN. No infringement intended.
Rating: PG-13
Crossover: Buffy/Roswell
Summary: Dawn makes a new friend, he's special and he's not from around here.
Challenge by: inquisitive1
Challenge: Zan (Max's dupe from Roswell) shows up in Sunnydale.
Dawn and Zan become friends
Buffy and Spike become suspicious.
Weird things happen and they find out about Zan and Zan finds out about them.

Close Encounters of the Strange Kind

"No." Buffy shook her head and pointed to the table full of school books. "No patroling on a school night. I don't know what Willow and Tara were thinking... letting you go on patrol at all."

"Spike always looks out for me." Dawn begged.

"Do your homework! You're fifteen. Do your homework, be normal. I'm patroling." Buffy huffed and grabbed Mr. Pointy. She was out the door before she could hear Dawn's mutterings.

"I'm not normal." Dawn crossed her arms and scowled.

"She's only looking out for you, Dawn." Giles' voice made her turn. He had his glasses in hand, wiping them with a hankerchief. "It's not safe out there and you're all she has."

"But I'm not real. Remember?" Dawn stomped up the stairs. They had been over it many times. She was Dawn Summers. She was a real girl. She could bleed, she could die, she could open up the barriers between all dimensions and destroy all of creation. "Normal, my ass."

Dawn stormed past the room that Willow and Tara had claimed. She ignored the giggles issuing from it and slammed the door to her own room. She just stood there. It wasn't real. It wasn't her. Who had programmed her personality? She had pink sheets. Pink sheets! What fifteen year old girl had pink sheets? Or pink curtains... flapping in the breeze of an open window.

A devious smirk crossed her face when she leaned over to turn on her stereo to some angry, sappy music. That would be the clue everyone needed to leave her alone for the night. Then she grabbed her jacket. What fifteen year old girl didn't sneak out of the house every now and again?

Dawn had to be careful. She stuffed pillows beneath the blankets just in case someone came checking. Lights had to be off if they were going to be confused enough to fall for it. She slid out the window and braced her feet on the roof while she turned carefully. Making sure the window was open slightly, she started her descent. Careful. Don't slide off the roof. Into the tree, through the branches, slow all the way to the ground. Maybe she had a little more of the Slayer than they thought in her genes.

She glanced around and then sped for the cover of the bushes. She kept to the shadows until she was 12 blocks away where she tripped over a rise in the sidewalk. It was too late to call up the friends and set up a rondeveuz but she could always sneak into the Bronze. The shadows covered her well until she reached her destination. The Bronze was packed, the perfect place to get lost in.

The music pumped, vibrating through her body. Grooving her way through the crowd, Dawn nodded to people she saw from school. Then she ran smack into a dangerous looking guy. Eyes wide, she backed away from his glare only to run into two more. "Sorry."

"What's a pretty little thing like you doing all by herself?" One leered at her.

"Hey." Another voice caught her attention. The first scary guy she had run into was glaring over her head. "She's a kid. Leave her lone."

"Who're you?" The other set of scary guys stepped forward.

"Does it matter?" He raised a pierced eyebrow and pulled Dawn towards him. "Me and the kid's gonna take a walk. Don't be here when I get back." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and started walking without a glance back at the other guys or down at his newly saved charge. "Kid, I have a feelin' you know better."

"I--I."

"Look. You got any friends here, you go tell 'em to beat it." He shoved her toward a group of kids from school. Dawn did as told and spread the word that something was going on. She took it upon herself to be the last out to make sure everyone else got out.

Just as she was making her way out, a hand grabbed her arm. "Look what we got here. It's the pretty little thing." The hand swung her around to the face of a demon. "Who's your friend, little girl?"

"Friend? What friend? I don't have any friends." Dawn smiled nervously. "I'm going home now."

"No. You're going to stay here with us. You scared off our meal." The demon shook his head and clucked his tongue.

"Kid." The scary guy with the piercings made his way over. "I told ya to leave."

"I was going to but..." She trailed off when he grabbed her other arm and shoved the demon so hard she knew it was unnatural.

"Run. Don't look back." He ordered and shoved her toward the door. She didn't think twice, she just ran. All the while she could feel his hand on her back urging her faster. Eight blocks away, she tripped over a rise in the sidewalk. Cursing, he grabbed her and took off down an alley with her clutched to his chest. Suddenly he stopped running and knelt down. Thrusting her to the ground he reached down and pried a sewage cover off. "Get down there."

Dawn didn't even had time to react before he had pushed her down the manhole and had landed on the dank bottom. He hung from the opening while he pulled the cover back closed and then hopped to the floor. He pulled her to her feet and rushed down a few tunnels before shoving her into a niche in the wall. He stepped in behind her and motioned for her to be quiet.

Her wide blue eyes ran over his grungy appearance. From his greasy spikes, over his piercings and tattoos to his worn clothes. She thought she saw a pair of tire tracks across them when he turned slightly. This guy was not from Sunnydale. "Who are you?"

His head snapped around to her as though he had just remembered that she was there. His amber eyes ran over her hair and preppy clothes. "Who're you?"

"Dawn Summers." Her voice sounded so small next to his deep one.

"I'm Zan." He nodded stiffly to her. "Those guys followed you into the Bronze. Know why?"

She shook her head.

"You special or somethin'? They's gunnin' for you." Zan sank to his knees.

"I don't know what they want. I... I have to go tell my sister..." She trailed off and she wanted to kick herself. "If... if they know who I am, they know who my sister is. We have to warn her. She's out patroling and if they find her..."

"Chill. We ain't goin' nowhere until it's all clear." He raked his eyes over her again. "What are you 14?"

"15." She scoffed lightly. Then she turned her blue eyes down to the dirty ground and sank down to sit next to him. "Were they really following me?"

"I's seen you come in and then I sees them come in. Then they starts makin' trouble." He shut his eyes.

"Why did you help me?"

"I's got a baby sister. I ain't there for her and I hope someone's lookin' out for the bitch." Zan muttered, ignoring her gasp at his attitude toward his sister. "If I cain't be there, I want someone to be. You remind a little of her when she was younger."

"I... kinda snuck out tonight. My sister thinks I'm at home... so does everyone else." Dawn sheepishly admitted. "Giles is going to be so mad when he finds out."

"Ain't nothin' wrong with sneakin' out... I think... I ain't never had to report to no one." Zan stretched his legs out in front of him, still keeping an ear out for movement in the dark sewers. "I ain't got no one. Thought I'd check out Cali and see how that is."

"You like it? I mean, where are you from?"

"I's from New York, yo. City just got too cramped, ya know? Figure I could chill it out here." He ran a hand through his spikes. "That club the only action round here?"

"Legally, anyway. If you want to chill, Sunnydale isn't the place for it." Dawn warned softly. "The night life is a bit... lively."

"Cool."

"No. I mean... if you aren't from around here, you wouldn't understand. Things like what happned up at the Bronze aren't exactly unusual." She whispered, afraid that talking about the demons would make them appear. "It's not at all calm at night. Not like it is during the day."

"It's cool. I'll stick it out." Zan stood. "Let's get you home. I think they's gone."

TBC

[ edited 9 time(s), last at 16-Dec-2001 7:50:11 PM ]
posted on 10-Nov-2001 12:05:48 PM
Part 2

"So, how old are you?" Dawn asked softly as they walked the streets as quietly as possible. Her brow furrowed at how he almost stumbled at her question. "It wasn't supposed to be a hard question."

"I guess I'm like... 18 or somethin'." Zan shrugged and kept walking. "This way?" He pointed down a street.

"No, that way." She shook her head as she started down the correct street. They walked in silence for a few moments more but the curiosity got the better of her. "How can you not know how old you are?"

"Kid, I'm an orphan. No one left instructions for me. It's been pretty much guess and check." He turned his face up she couldn't see it as well.

"Oh. I'm an orphan, too. I mean, kinda. My mom's dead and I've never really met my dad." Dawn stammered. She had memories of horsing around with her father but in reality, none of that had ever happened.

"You said you got a sister. She looks out for you?" Zan noticed how she was shivering in the chill air and yanked off his sweat shirt.

"Yeah but she's busy. Patroling keeps her out late and so she sleeps during the day." Dawn stared at the sweat shirt a moment then noted his clothes. Under the sleeveless sweat shirt was a ratty sleeveless shirt. "You need that more than I do."

"Take it. You cold." He draped it over her head and kept walking. He ran his hands over his bare arms and suddenly didn't feel nearly as cold. He turned to watch her pull the sweat shirt over her head.

"Thanks." She whispered, her cheeks turning red.

"No problem. How close're we to your place?" He cleared his throat and motioned for her to give directions.

"Just down this block." She pointed to her house where the lamp in the living room told her that Giles had fallen asleep reading. "Guess I'd better go in the same way I got out. Wouldn't want to wake anyone up. Buffy would be pissed if she found out I snuck out."

The walked in silence the rest of the way. Zan let out a low whistle when he looked up the tree she had climbed down. "You made that? Nice."

"Not so hard." Dawn smiled even as she was getting a grip to climb back up.

"For a kid." Zan rolled his shoulders.

"I'm not a kid." Dawn called down.

"Sure you are, Kid." He called back up, snickering at her scoff. When the rustling in the tree stopped he peered up into the branches. "Need help, Kid?"

"Your shirt is caught on a branch." Dawn groaned.

"Here I come." Zan shimmied up the tree and noted she was already on the roof but his sweat shirt hood had gotten hooked on a thick branch. Reaching out, he unhook it at the same time he lost his balance. He let out a curse as he gripped the edge of the roof. Dawn however had screamed.

Zan heard the scurry of activity beneath his dangling feet. Just then a sharp blow to the stomach sent him flying back against the tree.

"Zan!" Dawn screamed and ran for the window to take the safer route to the ground. She raced through her room and down the stairs, pushing Giles away when he tried to keep her in the house. "Zan! Are you okay?"

When she made it out to the tree again, Buffy had Zan pressed up against the tree and a stake in hand. He was smirking oddly enough which seemed to piss Buffy off even more. "Do it. I dare you, psycho."

"Buffy! Don't!" Dawn screamed and rushed between them, sending her sister back a few steps and bracing her body back against Zan's.

"Dawn, get back in the house." Buffy ordered, reaching to pull her away.

"He's not one of them. He saved my life tonight." Dawn's mouth kept running then her voice dropped several notches. "He's human, Buffy."

That last statement made the stake fall from her hand. Dawn saw Buffy's hand shaking and her walk backwards looking extremely pale. That's when Dawn noticed Spike. He steered Buffy toward the house then moved for Dawn. "Come on in the house, Lil' Bit."

"You're not going to hurt him, are you?" Dawn felt Zan nudging her forward.

"It cool, Kid." Zan cleared his throat, not even bothering to feel the red marks on his throat. "I see what you mean 'bout the nightlife. I'm'a go now. Catch you 'round."

Dawn looked back at him one last time before Spike herded her inside. Zan just shoved his hands in his pockets and strolled off. Once the door closed, she couldn't see him anymore.

"Dawn..." Buffy started and squeezed her eyes shut tight. "What's going on? Who was that guy?"

"Zan." Dawn inched toward the stairwell.

"What was he doing here?"

"Um... helping me sneak back in?" She attempted a sweet smile but all the stern faces made it dissipate. "He really did save my life at the Bronze tonight. I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't been there?"

"You snuck out to the Bronze." Buffy ground her teeth together.

"Go to your room." Spike told her. Dawn raced up the stairs. "And stay there this time." Buffy tried to gain control of her shaking hands but they still shook. Giles cleaned his glasses and sank onto the couch.

"What are you going to do about this, Buffy? It cannot go on." Giles looked up at her. "Buffy?"

"First off." Spike interrupted. "He may have saved the Lil' Bit's life but he's not human."

"What?" Giles turned his tired eyes to the Vampire standing there.

"He's not human. He smells a lot like a demon."

--

Zan trudged through the sewers and found the niche they had hidden in earlier. From inside a crack he pulled out his backpack. Inside was a new sweat shirt that he yanked over protesting muscles. That Buffy had done a number on him. Shutting his eyes, he concentrated on healing the aching muscles in his back and neck. His strength was nowhere near to full and it had been so long since getting run over. He was lucky he was able to pull Dawn out of the Bronze in the first place.

TBC
posted on 15-Nov-2001 12:36:13 AM
Part 3

Giles watched Buffy move around the house in a daze. Her hands shook while they touched things as if she were reminding herself what they were. "Buffy, is something the matter?"

"What?" Her head snapped up and then she shook it silently.

"Hey guys." Dawn entered the kitchen cautiously. She sat at the counter and waited for her punishment.

"Dawn, you're never leaving the house again." Buffy whispered. "What were you thinking going out to the Bronze and then bringing that thing home."

"Thing? Zan is a guy." Dawn couldn't stop herself from correcting her sister. "If it wasn't for him, I would have been trapped in the Bronze with a whole... flock or herd or whatever a big group of demons is called."

"He's not human." Giles cut in. "Spike said he didn't smell human."

"Don't go near that guy again." Buffy ordered and then took a good look at her sister. "And what are you wearing? Is that his shirt?"

"I'm going to school, now." Dawn backed out the door. "I'll go. I don't need an escort."

She was gone before anyone could stop her. Giles cleared his throat. "That was good."

"What was? Her running around town with some demon?" Buffy tried to pour herself a glass of juice but her hand shook too much. Gile reached over and steadied her hand. "I can't even pour a damn glass of juice."

"Buffy, I mean the stern hand you took with Dawn. You have to be the adult here. I know that you don't want to be but it's what you are." He whispered, catching her eye. "You are her guardian." He released her hand and felt how it was still shaking. "What's wrong Buffy?"

"I got scared." Buffy admitted. "Last night I had a stake to him. I would have driven him through and he wasn't even a Vampire. For about five minutes there, I was sure I would have staked a human... I know. I know he's not human, he's a demon but... Can I tell the difference anymore?"

"Don't start doubting yourself now. You can't. You can't believe in the doubt." Giles spoke urgently. "I noticed a pattern with all the Slayers who made it past 18, Buffy. They got complacent, they doubted and believed it. You never believed it before."

"In my head, I almost killed a human. How many Slayers made that mistake? I only know of one and I will not allow myself to become Faith."

--

Opening her locker, Dawn couldn't stop the blush from covering her face. Her friends were gossiping about the cute guy at the Bronze. No one seemed to remember the demon parts but they remembered the cute guy that had walked her over to her friends. "Omigod, so Dawn, who is he?"

"Yeah. I mean, he's not from around here, that's for sure. I mean, no one from around here looks that... dangerous." They giggled.

"Guys, come on. Just stop." Dawn shook her head. "It's not a big deal. You guys have gone out with Seniors before. He's the same age and besides he's just a guy." Suddenly her friend gripped her arm. "What?"

"He's just a guy that's headed this way." She squealed.

Dawn's head whipped around to see Zan strolling down the hallway toward her. Her friends kept tittering on until he was within hearing range. "Yo Kid. What's the what?"

"Huh?" Dawn shook her head to clear it of the haze.

"What's the damage? You restricted or what?" Zan ignored the whispers around him.

"Yeah, I'm pretty much grounded until further notice. Buffy was pretty upset. She... she says... well, I won't say what she said about you. She's wrong." Dawn shoved her books into her locker and couldn't quite figure out what else to do.

"Come on. Let's bounce. I'm starvin'." Zan grabbed her hand and started walking. She had to jog to keep up with his long stride. His eyes slid over her. "My shirt looks better on you."

"What? Oh." Dawn turned a bright red as she let him lead her out of the school. "I was going to give it back."

"Keep it." He shook his head. "So where can we grub in his town?"

"There's a donut place downtown." She suggested, afraid her hand was beginning to sweat. They raced across the street before he released her hand. She tried to keep up with his pace, which was slow for him but quick for a shorter person. "So... um... Buffy didn't hurt you, right? She doesn't know her own strength sometimes... and she not exactly ask questions first person."

"I'm cool. Ain't no big thing." Zan shrugged slightly, ignoring his protesting muscles. He wasn't about to admit he was still in a little bit of pain. Buffy hadn't been gentle when she had kicked him from the roof, or shoved him against the tree, or wrapped her hand around his throat.

"So..." Dawn clasped her fingers together, casting quick glances up at him. "Why'd you come get me from school?"

"You decent." His amber eyes slid to the corners of his eyes to take in her blush. "'sides, I need a tour guide."

"Ok, well that place last night was the Bronze." Dawn rubbed her hands together, her left hand was still warm from his. "You saw my house... this is the strip. All your boutiques and things... That down there is the Magic Shop, which we will avoid because that's where Giles and Anya work." Dawn put a hesitant hand on his arm to guide him to the doughnut shop. "This is the doughnut place I was telling you about. You have now seen mostly everything. There's still the college but Willow and Tara tend to be there."

"You got a lotta people to hide from." Zan commented and tried to contain his drooling at the smell of fresh doughnuts.

"You said you had a sister. Where is she?" Dawn saw the longing on his face as he stared into the showcase. "I could pick up the tab. I don't have much money but I have some."

He nodded stiffly, ashamed that she was having to pay for him but he was starving. "Can we get outta here?"

"Yeah. Just a minute." Dawn turned to the counter to place their order.

--

Buffy slammed her fists into the punching bag over and over. Giles watched her carefully, her movements were mechanical. His brow furrowed when he thought about how few Slayers in history had ever lived as long as Buffy had. In the past five years, he had never seen her move so emotionlessly, without so much as a flicker of anything in her eyes.

She turned and saw him standing there with a book in hand. "What's that?"

"A glossary of demons who can take on human form. Wesley left it behind, it may prove useful." Giles hesitated before he spoke. "He may not be evil."

"What?" Buffy blinked and stepped closer. "Demon, not evil?"

"You know as well as I do that there are some demons who do not pursue evil doings. Didn't... Angel once mention his demon colleague... Doyle, I believe his name was. A Braccken demon, peaceful people." Giles muttered as he flipped through the book.

"But we don't know what Zan is. I don't like him. I don't like that Dawn was wearing his shirt this morning or that it looked like she was sneaking him into her room last night." Buffy stopped her rant suddenly. The flicker of life that Giles saw there quickly faded. "I have to protect her from whatever he is."

"Well, we could look in any case. Did he have any marks about him?" Giles motioned for her to follow him into the shop where a table lay littered with several open volumes.

"He had a lot of tattoos." Buffy remembered a few and reached for a piece of paper and a pencil. "A lot of tattoos."

"Good. Some sects of demons mark themselves. It will help us determine if he's evil or not."

--

Dawn made a face at what he was eating. "Did you just put Tabasco sauce on a lemon filled doughnut?"

"Mm-hm." Zan mumbled and continued to devour the entire doughnut.

"That is so gross." She gagged and leaned back against a tree. The afternoon sun filtered down through the thinning branches in anticipation of winter. "So... you never answered me. You said you had a sister."

"Yeah. I do." Zan paused in his chewing, a cloud passed over his eyes. "She's back home."

"Oh."

"She's not the sisterly type." He mumbled and reached for another doughnut, Tabasco sauce in hand. "Lannie, she thinks she's the center of the universe and it don't help that people treats her like she is."

"Oh, so you're not close?" Dawn asked softly, regretting the sad look in his eyes.

"She's the reason I left." The way Zan sat up straight reminded her of the way Buffy ended a conversation without giving an explanation. "What's up with your house? Loads of people."

"Yeah. My mom died and then Buffy was gone for a while... so everybody pitched in to help out. Tara and Willow moved in. Giles... he didn't move in until after Buffy came back." Dawn sighed heavily. "Spike looks out for me."

"Spike?" Zan cracked a smile that made Dawn's stomach flutter. "That his name?"

"Well, that's what we call him. I think Giles told me his real name once but I don't pay much attention to that stuff." She rushed through with a weak smile. "We're not all that interesting. Just do a lot of research."

"Research?"

"Don't you know? We're near the Hellmouth. In fact, that old burned down place over near that park... that used to be the old high school. The Hellmouth opens in the library." She stopped her rant when he raised an eyebrow. "Trust me, once you've lived here awhile, it pays to know that kind of stuff."

"Ain't no such thing as heaven or hell." Zan shoved another piece of doughnut into his mouth.

Dawn locked eyes with him. Blue eyes matched to the amber of his. "Don't brush it off like that. There are things in this world and the next that most people don't want to understand. Living in Sunnydale teaches you to believe in everything from aliens to vampires."

"No such thing as vampires, Kid." Zan shook his head. There was definitely something about this girl. He could tell she really believed what she was saying. "I agree though. There're things in this uninverse ain't nobody on this planet could ever comprehende, even you, Kid."

Dawn tried not to look away when she realized that she had sat up and was very close to him. She kept her gaze steady. "I'm not a kid."

His hand felt so warm on her face. "No... I guess you ain't."

--

Giles peered over Buffy's shoulder at her drawings. "What's that?"

"His tattoos." She shaded in her lines to make them darker. "I've never seen anything like them."

"I have..." Giles ran a hand over his face.

"What?"

"It's Watcher lore. We don't believe in aliens but we study the stories just in case. Every lore has a basis in reality. Goodness knows this town has proved that." He ran his eyes over the volumes on the table top. "I'll need to find the reference book..."

"What?" Buffy noticed his stiff appearence. "What? What's with the being still?"

"I didn't recover all my volumes from the library. I didn't bother looking for that one because we all believed it was nonsense." Giles pulled his glasses off and cleaned them in the nervous way he had.

"I'll go take a look. What's it look like?"

--

Dawn couldn't breathe, her heart beat against her breastbone. It wasn't her first kiss but it was different this time, she could feel it as his face hovered near hers. His lips had just brushed agaisnt hers when she suddenly felt a draft.

Her eyes sprang open to find Buffy straddling Zan a few feet away. "I don't know what you are but you stay away from my sister. Understand?"

"What's the problem?" Zan just lay there staring up at Buffy. "I ain't done nothin'."

"And you aren't going to. Stay away from Dawn." Buffy shoved herself to her feet and pointed to Dawn. "Let's go. You're going back to school."

TBC
posted on 27-Nov-2001 12:45:43 AM
Part 4

Buffy stepped into the rubble of what used to be Sunnydale High School and fought the urge to cringe. Her hands shook the nearer she got to the library. She had been in Heaven and now she was approaching the Mouth of Hell... literally. Taking care to check the sturdiness of the door frame, Buffy hopped into Giles's office, ready to leap back into the doorway at anytime in case of a collapse.

There were a few books laying around. She picked them up, their charred covers no longer boasting their names. Some pages had been burned out. "Hope those weren't the only copies." She murmured and continued to rummage through the debris, thankful that no one had thought to clear up what had remained of the school. Maybe it bore some kind of reminder to the people of Sunnydale.


Yanking open a drawer of the desk, she fished some books out of the stagnant water that had collected inside. "Watcher Lore, where are you? Yuck." Stacking up the books she found, she tilted her head and saw a book under the desk, between it and the wall. Pulling it out she knew it was the one. There was hardly any damage to the cover but then she noted the watermarks. The rain over the past two years had gotten to it.

Sitting in the door frame, she opened the pages to find some pages had been wiped clean but others still held some information. Flipping through the damp pages, she caught nuggets of information. "Crop circles... Native Americans with the ability to survive long periods of time without oxygen in the mountain city of... Artifacts found, allegedly from the lost city of Atlantis... Roswell crash of 1947... Shapeshifters..."

Buffy read more carefully through the book. "The Council has theorized that perhaps there is some truth to the Roswell crash of 1947. These symbols have been found amongst many Native American dig sites in New Mexico. The elders interviewed spoke of 'visitors' and shapeshifters. Stories of alien shapeshifters have been investigated but no concrete evidence ever found. Victims with silver handprints have turned up but they faded after a few days, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

"Notes on the victim autopsies have one other consistency; the bodies were burned from the inside out. These creatures don't leave a trace, follow ups on alleged identities reveal nothing. The identities taken lead to dead persons by the way of internal burning or to persons unrelated to crimes committed." Buffy closed the book after reading one line. "If these creatures do in fact exist, they would be hostile creatures with untold intentions and immense capacity for evil." She stood and tucked the book along with several others into her arms. "Zan, you better stay away from my sister. I will not hesitate to take you out."

--

Zan picked at another doughnut before tossing it into a flock of birds feeding before the flight south. Talking to Dawn had got him thinking about Lannie. He had tried to kiss her to change the subject. He had always found that method quite effective, especially since her feelings were constantly marching across her face. It was a little endearing to have her looking at him like that. It almost made him feel human.

Taking a swig of Tabasco sauce, he leaned back against the tree. Thoughts of Lannie marched across his mind again. The bitch had tried to kill him. If it hadn't been for the protector, he would have died in New York. Cal was the one who had suggested California.

['Just stay away from L.A., kid... and find your own ride.' He paced the length of the warehouse, glaring at Zan at every turn. 'You kids are so stupid. You're freaking kids, not royalty. You mean nothing to them, nothing. Keep your head down and plan to live on this planet for the rest of your natural life, kid.'

'Name's Zan.' His strength was slipping but he forced himself to heal the internal damage quickly.

'You. You are not Zan. You are a pale imitation of an arrogant fool. You are not the king of Antar or any other foolish notions you have based on your coded memories or do you even have those?'

'I'm Zan.' Was all Zan could muster from where he lay on the ground. 'Ain't nothin' gon change that. Where you been all this time?'

'Accepting my human fate as Cal Langley and guess what? I like it! You kids are not pulling me back into this life of servitude. Hope you heal.' Cal took one last look at his king and left.]

It didn't matter how much time had passed, sometimes he could still feel the tires of that truck on his back, on his legs. Placing a hand over his ribs, he strenthened the brittle bones just a bit more. It had been a slow process but he was finally healing those old physical wounds... it was the emotional ones that were still raw. It had taken him a year to cross the country, weeks of hiding in sewers, eating garbage for strength.

He had been about ready to give up. He had been in Sunnydale a few days before finding the Bronze. He had been looking to pick a fight, maybe do some permanent damage to himself. He thought he had found it when that girl had run into the guys with the masks. When she had gotten caught he couldn't leave her there. He had to help Dawn.

In less than 24 hours the girl had gotten under his skin. She was the epitome of innocence but was so wise at the same time. She was new but she had this weight about her. It was fascinating especially because she was only 15. Technically, she was older than he was, not that he had ever cared before. Dawn was a mystery. Several things had struck him as odd.

Her sister 'patroled' at night but didn't look like she was a cop. What cop used wooden stakes? Then there were all the people that lived in her house. Who was Giles? Tara and Willow didn't seem to be related, so why did they all try to take care of her?

--

Dawn stared out the window of her math class and sighed. Buffy had walked her all the way to school, through the principal's office and all the way to her class. As if she wasn't embarrassed enough, Buffy had given the teacher permission to tie her to the desk.

Her lips still tingled a little at the thought of Zan kissing her. Twirling her hair around her pencil she groaned inwardly when she thought of how she was never going to leave her house again. There was no way she was getting any Geometry done today... or ever. The bell rang and just as she was getting her things together, the teacher spoke. "Miss Summers, you are to report to detention until someone in your house comes to pick you up."

"Great." Dawn nodded and grabbed her things to go to detention. She sat as far away as she could from all the actual deliquents in dentention hall and started in on her homework. Half an hour later she was bored out of her mind and turned to the window, where she saw Zan walking around the quad. A grin spread across her face at the implications. Then she saw him talking to one of her prettier friends. Just as she was drowning in self-loathing, her friend pointed over to her and both turned to find her staring out the window at them. Startled, she waved.

Zan strode straight over to the window, opening it noiselessly. "Hey Kid, what's the what?"

"I'm in detention." She whispered before realizing their assistant principal had stepped out. Clearing her throat, she spoke a little louder. "I'm supposed to stay here until Buffy, Willow, Tara or Giles picks me up... but if their going to go by my contact list probably Xander or Anya too."

"Got a lot of babysitters, Kid." Zan flashed her a smile. "Got any pictures of any of 'em?"

"Yeah, why?" But she was already rifling through her purse for a group picture that had been taken sometime on Halloween.

"Be right back." Then he was gone through the bushes outside the window.

Groaning and half wondering what was going on, she waited. And waited. Assistant principal Kelsey walked in with Zan. "She's normally such a good girl but after what her sister told us, even good girls get a little crazy around boys."

"We'll have a talk with her and hopefully get this rash behavior straightened out." Zan spoke smoothly and evenly, making Dawn sit up straight.

"Miss Summers." AP Kelsey motioned for her to rise. "Your afternoon escort is here. I'm glad that your sister had sense enough to involve Mr. Giles in your family situation. He has always managed to get through to her when administration couldn't."

Dawn tilted her head at Zan but gathered her things and followed him out the door. She stared between him and the classroom. "Why did she let me leave with you?" She started walking, not willing to get caught again.

"Maybe she thought I was this Mr. Giles, guy." Zan shrugged and handed her picture back.

"What'd you do, hypnotize her?"

"Somethin' like that." He nodded with a wry smile. "Let's bounce." His arm came around her shoulder a little heavier than it had before.

TBC
posted on 27-Nov-2001 12:48:03 AM
Part 5

Buffy peered into the detention room and her internal alarm went off when she couldn't see Dawn. Knocking Buffy peered closer and AP Kelsey opened the door to greet her with a smile. "Ms. Summers, hi. Nice to see you again so soon but Dawn's already gone home."

"With who?" Buffy had to fight to keep the agitation out of her voice.

"Mr. Giles. He is such a wonderful man and I'm glad that he is still there for your family after all that mess with the last high school." Kelsey went on and on, making Buffy feel better that Dawn was home but annoyed that everyone seemed to think they knew what went on in her house. "He really dotes on you like he would a daughter. I never heard anything but glowing words from him about you."

"Thank you. That's Giles, glowing words." Buffy managed to eek out. "I'm going to go... straighten out my sister now."

"Don't go too hard on her. I recall you had more than one boyfriend in high school yourself."

Buffy cringed when she walked away. Calling Zan Dawn's boyfriend was like saying Spike was a decent man. At least Dawn was home.

--

Dawn enjoyed the feel of Zan's arm around her shoulder until she realized that he was leaning on her to keep himself upright. "Zan? What's wrong?"

"Nothin's wrong." He shook his head but his pale face gave him away. "Just a lil dizzy."

Her panic level shot up when he stumbled. She pushed him toward a bench to sit before he collapsed. He had seemed fine enough when they had made it out of the school but he was getting very pale. "I should go get some help."

"No!" His hand grasped her arm tightly. "No doctors." His head rolled back on his shoulders and his eyes closed. "I should've stayed down in that hole. I shouldn't've come up today." He cursed to himself. He had been feeling stronger after having eaten those doughnuts but he had thrown a mind warp and he should not have. He could barely manage one when he was healthy much less when he was still so damaged. "Stupid."

Dawn's eyes widened she saw him clutching his stomach. "Zan, I know I don't know you too well but you've got to get to a doctor. Why didn't you tell me Buffy had hurt you this bad?"

"What kind of name is Buffy? With a punch like that, her name should be Tyson or Whittaker." Zan winced after giving a short laugh. His ribs hurt, they were still too thin to be moving around so much. "Nah, Buffy ain't done this. This been done a long time, Dawn. I like dawns, they pretty when the sun hide just under the horizon."

"Zan?" Dawn sucked in a breath when he didn't open his eyes, then let it out in a whoosh when his hand fell limply at his side. She whipped her head around for anyone who could help. Then she saw the construction site down the street. A quick check of the sign showed the name of the company Xander worked for.

--

"No, the newt eyes can't go next to the deer hearts. They'll react off each other and be no good to any customer trying to cross the threshold between this realm and the next." Anya took the jar away from Giles and set it on another shelf. They both turned when Buffy walked in.

"Another fun-filled day at The Magic Shop?" Buffy smiled brightly and then glanced around. "Where's Dawn?"

"Dawn?" Giles blinked and took off his glasses to clean them.

"Yes, Dawn. Short girl, looks like me, you picked her up from school." Buffy waved her hands around. "Where did you leave her?"

"I didn't pick up Dawn from school. I've been here all day." Giles shook his head.

"But the assistant principal saw you, she talked to you..." Buffy trailed off when she took the time to think. "Shapeshifter."

"What?" Giles watched the fire enter his student's eyes for the first time since she had been revived.

"The Watcher book, it said that Zan is a shapeshifter, an alien. He has big evil inside of him." Buffy bit back the urge to cry. "Anya, you stay here and make phone calls. Call anyone who Dawn might know... Call Willow and Tara to see if they can help. If Spike shows up... he'll help. We have to find her before she ends up a corpse."

"Buffy." Giles rushed over and stopped her from fleeing the shop. "Can you kill him?"

"I have to find a way. No one believed he was real and so no one tried to kill him. He can look like anyone he wants to." Buffy yanked open the door. "I'll stop him if it kills me."

--

"So, who is this guy?" Xander dropped the limp body on his couch.

"He's a friend. I think you guys have the same name. He calls himself Zan." Dawn smiled nervously.

"So why did we bring him here instead of a hospital?" Xander stood up to face the nervous teenager. "He's not wanted by the law is he?"

"Well, no." Dawn took a deep breath. "It's just that he didn't want to go to the hospital and I can't take him home because Buffy doesn't like him."

"Oh I see. Big sis doesn't approve so you're going to play me for a sucker?" He crossed his arms. "How much trouble will I be in when Buffy finds out?"

"Well, she won't find out." She shook her head. "It's just, I don't know where he lives and I'm worried. He's a really nice guy. He's sweet, really."

He groaned. "He kissed you didn't he?" He ran his hands through his hair. "I'm never having daughters."

"Xander, please." She begged. "Don't tell Buffy. She's out to get him and all he did was save my life."

"Oh, so that's the ploy they're using now?" He scoffed and spat at the prone body on the couch. "Don't think I haven't tried that one buddy. I know it works. You should be ashamed of yourself preying on innocent girls."

"Xander stop." Dawn grabbed his arm. "It's just until he comes to and feels better again. I promise."

"How do we know when he's better?" Xander put his hands on his hips to stare at the punk again.

"He's hurt. I don't know how long. Buffy beat him up pretty good last night." She turned a pair of sad blue eyes on him.

"You know someone we can call?"

"No. He's from New York, he's got a sister there but I don't think they get along too well. He doesn't have any parents..." Dawn sat on the edge of the couch. "He was fine earlier. We were walking home from school when he just got all... tired. Then he was talking gibberish and then he was unconscious."

"Is he on something?" Xander asked carefully. "If he's overdosing..."

"No. I don't think that's it. He was saying something about how he's been hurt a long time..."

"Long time, Kid." A voice spoke from the doorway.

Both Dawn and Xander whipped their heads around. Xander lifted a hand to the stranger. "Hey aren't you that guy..."

"Yeah. I am. Say 'g'night.'" He raised a hand and the world went black.

TBC
posted on 30-Nov-2001 6:11:16 PM
Part 6

Dawn woke first, night spilled into the room from the open curtains. Xander was still out like a light. Then she turned to the couch and found Zan missing. As she rose to her feet, Anya came rushing through the door. "Oh thank whoever you're alright." She ran right over to Xander, patting his cheeks lightly. "Sweetie. Honey. Wake up." She glanced up. "Oh hi, Dawn. Buffy's looking for you."

"I know." Dawn whispered.

"Oh honey. We called and called and you weren't at the site and you weren't picking up the phone, I was so worried." Anya cooed over Xander as he came to.

"We brought that friend of Dawn's here and then some guy... you know, that one from that movie we rented a few nights ago. That guy showed up and then I don't remember anything." Xander struggled to sit up but his head was spinning. "Dawn?"

"He took Zan." She whispered.

"Good. Buffy said that guy was all evil." Anya nodded her head.

"Buffy's wrong! We have to find Zan." Dawn ran out the door.

"Wait, I had an evil guy in my apartment?" Xander sat up and looked to Anya.

--

"Kid, I hate doing this. I really do. Your clone never... I take that back. Your clone gives me plenty trouble." Cal griped as he propped his would-be king against the wall of the sewer before going to work on his injuries. "I should have just done this to begin with and this would have never happened. I'm not up to full strength myself."

"Where's the kid?" Zan whispered.

"She's taking a nap." Cal bit out. "What is with you kids? All I ask is to be left alone but no, you have to drag me back into all this alien crap."

"Back? You an alien." Zan glared for a second but closed his eyes as his old wounds began to heal.

"Shut up, Kid. I had it made. Huge mansion, my choice of babes, plenty of work, more money than God." Cal released his hold on the teenager. "Your clone ruined that. I have to start all over if I don't die first. You kids should have never come out of those pods. I thought for sure when I put you in the sewers that you'd never survive."

"Screwed up your plans again, eh?" Zan slid to the ground. "What about the rest of me?"

"I left a message for Max. He'll show up soon enough but you don't tell him I was here." Cal stared at him hard.

"Who the hell is Max?"

"Your clone, haven't you been listening to me?" Cal leaned against the wall for support for a moment. "I gotta get back. I hate you kids." He panted a moment and then stood up straight. "I'm going home. You stay away and keep your nose out of trouble."

"What the hell was he talkin' 'bout?" Zan muttered as he took his first deep breath in over a year.

--

Buffy heard a noise on the other side of the bush she was walking by. She couldn't help thinking that something horrible had already happened to Dawn but she kept looking. The noise got louder as she neared the corner so she waited... and caught the petite brunette as she rushed by. "We're going home."

"Buffy... wait, you don't understand." Dawn protested but found herself drug along behind her pissed sister.

"Who knows what that thing could have done to you? I have been searching all over for you, thinking that he had burned you up or... or whatever alien shapeshifters do to people." Buffy charged her way down the street. "How did you get out of detention? Giles didn't go get you and I didn't... Ms. Kelsey said he did."

"Zan got me out." Dawn admitted quietly.

"Dawn, listen to me, he's dangerous. I found out what he is." Buffy turned to look at her little sister. "He's an alien. He kills people."

"No, he doesn't. You don't know him."

"Do you? It's been barely 24 hours, Dawn."

"How long until you knew Angel?" Dawn had the words out before she even realized she had thought them. Buffy's silence cut into her. "There is something about him but he is not a killer... if he was... wouldn't I be dead by now?" Buffy didn't answer. "Someone took him. I think he might be in danger."

"He's not human. If you learned anything by what happened with me and Angel, human is safer than not." Buffy whispered and dragged Dawn along with her toward home.

"Spike!" Dawn shouted. "I... If Spike hits Zan and gets a headache... it'll prove he's human." She regretted it almost immediately. If Spike hurt Zan, then she'd be to blame.

"Spike hitting Zan, sounds like a good plan."

--

Max rubbed his eyes as he made his way to the door. It was really late and if Michael woke up, the night would have gotten worse by 10 times what it already was. He opened the door and blinked at the man in the uniform standing there. "Urgent message for Max."

"I'm Max." He nodded and took the clipboard to sign for the express envelope. "What is this?"

"Don't know, sir. I just deliver 'em." With that the uniform walked off.

Max shut the door before ripping open the envelope.

'Max:

Left a present for you in Sunnydale, CA.

Manhole, intersection of Woodwin and General.
Take it down six yards. Left it propped against a wall.
Present is fragile, slightly damaged, handle with care.
Might not be there when you get there.

Don't even think of coming over to thank me. Let's just say it's a job well done. Just thought you'd like it. Reflect on it. You'll see what I mean.

Cal.'

Max took a deep breath. Cal hated him. Cal couldn't kill him personally but would he leave something there that would? Did Cal hate him that much?

"Michael!" No answer. "Michael!"

"WHAT?" Michael emerged, obviously angry. "This is my one night off, it had better be good."

"Cal left us something in California." Max gestured to the paper in his hands.

Remembering what Max had said about Cal's place, Michael blinked. "Like in a will?"

"No. He's not dead but this says he left something in Sunnydale for us." Max handed the letter over.

"Not us. You." Michael commented after reading the first line. "You gonna go pick it up?"

"I don't know. He hates me. I'm a little wary of anything he might have left for me." Max voiced his fears aloud. "What do you think?"

"I don't know... you telling Liz?" Michael raised an eyebrow.

"If I go... I have to. If I don't... I don't want her telling me I should." Max sighed. "I don't even know what it is but he says it might not be there when I get there."

"Then it's alive." Michael mused. "I mean, if he was going to kill you, he'd make sure it'd be there. I think this is a person that we should talk to."

"So what now?" Max looked to his friend. "If you say ask Iz, you're talking to her. She'll kill whoever wakes her up at this hour."

"Well, we have to tell her something. If we leave her out, she'll kill us."

"You've got a point... but I don't want to risk it being gone."

"Then we risk waking her and the girls... then take a flight to California."

TBC

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Dec-2001 1:12:37 AM ]
posted on 9-Dec-2001 4:56:55 PM
Part 7

"To what do I owe this treat?" Spike looked up when Buffy entered the crypt.

"Zan. You're going to find him and beat the crap out of him." Buffy's eyes flashed. "I have Dawn's permission to make the request. If he's evil, you can kill him. If he's not... Well, he is. So we won't think about it."

"Excuse me. You're asking me to take a chance on a disabling headache that happens in my head, not yours." Spike rose to his feet.

"We have to prove to Dawn that he's evil."

"That's all well and good. So where's the bloke?"

--

Zan pulled himself up the ladder but had to drop back to the ground. The protector had strengthened his weakened bones but hadn't done much to restore his strength. He hadn't mentioned Dawn so he figured the kid was alright. Closing his eyes, he rested his head against a wall. He would just rest for a little bit. Just as his eyes were closing, he noted that it was the same tunnel that he stashed his things.

--

Liz whispered with her mom urgently while her father opened the restaurant for the day. "Mom... He could find something that will lead him to his parents in California."

"Why doesn't he just take Isabel?" Nancy shook her head.

"She is going. Her and Jesse both." Liz paused. "What if it were you? You didn't know who your parents were, didn't know where you came from and you had the chance to find out... wouldn't you want Dad with you?"

"But that's different." Nancy tried to protest.

"No. It's exactly the same." Liz insisted with a maturity beyond her years. "You love Dad and you make a committment to be with him every day when you wake up. Max and I do the same. We may not be legally married but, Mom, there will never be anyone else for either of us." Nancy had caved. Liz could see it in her eyes, so she pushed. "I'm taking my cell phone. We'll be in Sunnydale, California. We'll call with the name of the hotel when we check in. This is important, Mom. That's why I'm telling you."

"Liz, I just don't know. What would I tell your father?" Nancy sighed heavily.

"Tell him the truth. What we're doing might turn out to be nothing and if it does... Max will be devastated. He'll need me." Liz focused her brown eyes on her mother's blue ones. "Mom, we're not going to do anything illegal. Max and I discussed it and we're getting separate rooms. Nothing bad is going to happen... and if something does... I'll to go Vermont. I won't fight you on it."

"Go, before I change my mind or your father stops you."

--

Dawn stayed in her room all night and all morning. She would wait until Buffy was gone. Then she would set out on her own to look for the missing Zan. She had to warn him before Spike got a hold of him... if only she knew where he was. All she could do now was wait for everyone to let their guard down enough.

--

"Buffy, are you sure that Dawn's not right?" Giles argued. "I've been over and over the text and none of the evidence is conclusive."

"Why are you taking her side? If Dawn were capable of character judgement, then maybe I would but we're talking about the same girl that lied to us all so she could make out with a boy that turned out to be a Vampire."

"Perhaps you have a point." Giles cleared his throat. "While I'm glad to see you back to your old self, I'm more than a little concerned with this behavior."

"My behavior? My behavior being where I'm trying to keep my little sister alive?" Buffy bit out at him.

"I think you're letting the role of being a Slayer interfere with the role of being a sister." He told her plainly. "Granted, most older sister do not have preternatural abilites to fight evil but... you're taking it a little far."

"You said I had to be stronger with her." Buffy threw up her arms. "Which is it? Do I take on a stronger role with her or do I let my guard down? When you find the manual, let me know."

"Buffy, calm down." Giles demanded and took his glasses off to clean them. "There is no real right or wrong with families. I'd like to think that you've taken note of that with all the events of these past years. I promised that I would be here for you but I can't answer all your questions."

"You've lost me." Buffy whispered, sinking onto the couch.

"Part of being a Slayer was to protect the innocent from the evil. To determine your threats before you went after them. To divine the most pressing of evils before leaping blindly into the fight. I would have hoped that my lessons had ingrained themselves in your mind." Giles let out a huge sigh. Buffy's eyes went to study how much older he seemed. She couldn't ever remember seeing him like this before. He wasn't that old. He had tried to tell her that many times. He shouldn't look this old.

"They did. I was listening." She whispered. "That's why Spike's still alive. That's why there are still demons in Sunnydale."

"Yes. I know it is very difficult to keep these aspects of your life separate but lessons as a Slayer may apply in your life as a woman and vice versa. Not all but some." Giles sat beside her. "You've lived longer than most. 25 was the longest any Slayer ever lived. Even those became sloppy. Those girls weren't balancing Slaying and a normal life. That's what makes you different. You're living your destiny without the aid of the Watcher's Council, another thing that no other Slayer has ever done."

"What are you trying to say?" Her eyes focused on the coffee table. How many times had that table been broken and put back together? "That you expect more of me?"

"Precisely. I have never seen you like this, Buffy. Through everything else, you've managed to keep a level head. It know that it's too much to expect that you'll retire from this life and live to a ripe old age." Giles took off his glasses so that he could hold his face in his hands. "When I was first given this assignment, I was elated. I had been chosen just as you had. I was made to understand that you might not be Slayer material even if it was your calling and that I could very well expect to outlive you."

Buffy remained silent so he kept talking. "I very soon realized that you were like no Slayer that I had ever read about. The first time you died, it hit me. You were human just like I was. Maybe you're stronger and can sense evil in a way that I can't but you are human. I broke a rule."

"You did?"

"I let you inside me. I tend to look on you like a daughter, Buffy. When you died, a part of me died. I should have gone on home but there was Dawn. I realized her special circumstances and I couldn't just leave until I was sure that she would be safe with Willow and Tara."

"Thank you for that."

"When you were resurrected, I was angry. I was upset with Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya. They were meddling in forces too volatile for any human comprehension. I was still extremely grateful to have you back but I was angry. I was even more so when I saw you. I was certain that something had gone wrong." He whispered. "There has been something missing all this time."

"I died for her, Giles. I could have thrown her into that portal and it would have bee done with. She was prepared to do it." Buffy let the tears slip down her face for the first time since her resurrection. "I couldn't. My job is to protect the innocent. Dawn may not be completely human but she is innocent and it's not only my duty as a Slayer to protect her, it's my duty as a sister to make sure she lives. When she lied to us that time, I was furious. I spared her life, gave mine and she would have died from something that I would not have been there to protect her from."

"You're not angry with her." Giles whispered, suddenly understanding. "You're angry with yourself for dying so soon."

"I..." Buffy couldn't talk anymore.

"I want to remind you of something. Dawn was created out of you. She has some of you inside of her. She is not you but parts of you. She killed that boy herself. Dawn can take care of herself to some extent. She's a normal teenage girl. I do recall you being as much a pain in the ass at the same age." He managed a laugh that illicited a strangled laugh from Buffy. "You wanted it all. To be prom queen and the Slayer. Buffy... those years are not too far behind you. You are barely 21. For six years you've known about evil and how to fight it. You were never normal but you wanted to be. You've created your own normal. Dawn will find her own in time."

"I don't trust Zan." Buffy wiped at her face, the tears subsiding.

"I don't either but I know why."

"Why?" She turned to look at him.

"I see Dawn as a daughter as well... and Zan seems to be today's answer of myself at that age." Giles started laughing. "Dear Lord, I never expected to hear myself say those words." Coughing, he regained his senses. "Buffy, ask yourself what really bothers you about him."

--

Zan pulled himself into his hole in the wall. The feat had taken him all day to accomplish. If he had some food, the healing would go faster. He would just have to stay still and hope that he didn't pass out again.

--

Two cars pulled into the hotel parking lot as dusk was settling in. Jesse leapt out of his car and marched over to Max's, nearly pulling him out of the car. "What the hell were you thinking to be driving that fast? We could barely keep up."

"I told you to let Isabel drive." Max answered him coolly. "We're on a time limit here. The longer we wait, the less of a chance we find anything out. Do you want to be the one to tell Isabel that any connection to the parents that gave birth to her is gone because you had to be a law abiding citizen and go the speed limit?"

Jesse released him and walked back to his car to retrieve his wallet from Isabel's purse. Liz put a hand on Max's arm. "Hey. They're married now. He's got more of a right to her than you do."

"I hope you're right about this, Liz." Max whispered. "I broke his nose once. I can do it again."

"Get in line." Michael mumured from where he had fallen asleep in the back seat.

"Let's get checked in and then we'll get something to eat while we figure out which was is up in this town." Max opened his door and got out. "Welcome to Sunnydale, guys."

--

Willow and Tara kept sneaking glances at Dawn as they walked. She had been quiet all day and then jumped at the chance to go grab something to eat, with Buffy's permission of course, only to go silent again once they'd left the house.

They ordered their food and sat down to eat it. Tara nudged Willow when she noticed that Dawn was simply moving things around on her plate and her milkshake was untouched. "So, Dawn... what's with the silent treatment? Are you mad at us?"

"What?" Her head snapped up. "Oh, um, no. Not mad at you guys. Thanks for getting me out of there."

"Ok, as long as we're still buddies." Tara gave her a small smile that faded when suddenly Dawn had tears in her eyes. "Hey, are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Dawn lied. "I'm gonna get... a water." Dawn was out of her chair before they would say otherwise. She had seen a familiar face in line at the counter and she had to be sure before she panicked.

The couple in front of her barely had a breath between them and when the guy turned to whisper in her ear, Dawn could see part of his face. He looked an awful lot like Zan. The hair was different, as were the clothes but she caught his eye once and those were the same. She was ready to cry.

Too late, she realized one had slipped down her cheek and that their gazes were still locked. "Zan?"

He blinked at her. Then confusion crossed his face as he turned to face her fully. "Excuse me."

"You could have just said something." She blurted out. "I could have taken it. You've got a girlfriend, fine. You didn't have to... change your hair or make me worry, Zan."

"What?" The girl turned around.

"When that guy from the movie about the boat came and took you, I was scared. I thought something happened to you." Dawn couldn't stop herself from talking.

"You've seen Zan?" The guy gripped her arm. "Are you sure? And Cal?"

"Zan?" The girl whispered. "They said he was dead."

"You're not him, are you?" Dawn whipsered and noted that there were no holes where the piercings used to be.

"Where did you see him? Is he still here?" The guy demanded.

"Excuse us." A voice spoke suddenly. A turn of Dawn's head revealed a pissed looking Willow. "Take your hands off of her." Dawn saw the shift in Willow's eyes and recognized what that meant.

"I saw a guy that looked a lot like you. He said his name was Zan." Dawn said urgently. "He passed out yesterday and then his guy showed up, knocked us out and took him. He looked like this actor guy I saw in a movie once. I haven't seen either since." Dawn pleaded. "Do you know Zan? Can you help him?"

"My name is Max." The guy relaxed his weak grip on her arm and turned ot his girlfriend. "If this guy is who he said he is, I'm betting that's what Cal was talking about."

"Max? What's going on?" Isabel joined him.

"Time to distract Jesse." Max whispered and then turned to the three women in front of them. "I have to ask these people about... our brother."

TBC
posted on 12-Dec-2001 9:45:55 AM
Part 8

Spike waited until the rosy tint disappeared from his windows before he ventured outside for the hunt. Like any animal, he preferred to do his hunting at night. Taking an unnecessary breath of air, he strode into the night. Anything to get him into the Slayer's good graces.

--

"If he's going to find your brother, shouldn't you be with him?" Jesse protested as they sat to eat their dinner.

"Jesse, honey." Isabel began and sighed. "I'm here for my brother. I never intended to find anything out about the people who abandoned us in the desert. I'm here because he needs me here. He needs to think that he's doing this for me."

"Isabel." Jesse started to protest.

"Max knows how I feel. He does but it's still important for him to think like that. Liz is here to keep him grounded. I'm here for the support. People think he's crazy, Jesse. Max was never happy with his life and looking for answers calms him. I don't need that kind of validation." She smiled broadly at him. "I am happy. I love my parents, I love my brother and I love my husband. Let's eat. I'm starving."

At a loss for what to say to her, Jesse picked up his fork. Staring at her, he suspected that he would never figure her out if they lived to 103.

--

"Willow, please, let me go with them." Dawn begged as the group walked down the streets of Sunnydale.

"We have to tell Buffy, first." Willow shook her head. Then she turned on Max. "If you're really Zan's brother, then you're the same as he is, aren't you?"

"Um..." Max cleared his throat and squeezed Liz's hand.

"It's always you isn't it?" Michael muttered and stretched his neck.

"Shut up, Michael." Max glared at him then turned back to the red-head. "What exactly do you mean, like him?"

"I think you know what I mean." Willow burst out. "I mean, this is Sunnydale, home of the big brewing evil. It attracts all sorts, evil aliens it turns out, too."

"Who's evil?" Liz asked carefully.

"Aliens." Willow told her. "The one that knocked out Dawn and Xander shape-shifted into that Cal Langley guy that was in all those movies."

Max snorted. "That was Cal Langley."

"What?" Tara blinked. "Cal Langley. The only man on this planet I would go straight for, he's an alien?"

"Um..." Liz's eyes widened. "I'm just going to go with yes."

"Whoa." Michael blew out a breath. "What about Zan?"

"He was helping Dawn sneak into the house. For all we know he was going to shift back into his alien form and kill her." Willow pressed.

"Okay. I give up. I'm going back to the room. Call me when our secret is a secret again." Michael stormed off.

"You people know too much and not enough at the same time." Liz whispered. She let go of Max's hand. "So, you're saying that you know Zan's an alien."

"Yes. Buffy did the demon looking up thingie and couldn't find him. So Giles remembered a book that talked about aliens from Roswell and these weird symbols that he had tattooed on his arm." Willow continued, unable to stop talking. "I gotta say you look a lot better than he does. Are you sure you're just brothers and not like... twins?"

"Just like the other duplicates." Liz tugged on Max's arm, he just nodded. Liz noted how Dawn was quiet. "I'll go talk to her."

Dawn sat on a bench nearby as Willow and Max continued their back and forth of answering but not answering. She nearly leapt off when Liz sat beside her. "Are you an alien too?"

"No." Liz shook her head. "Just in love with one. You met Zan?"

"Yes and he's not evil like they keep saying." Dawn blurted out. "He saved my life. A bunch of demons were going to get me and he got me out of there."

Liz felt a grin spreading across her face and looked to where Max stood, completely baffled about whatever Willow was saying. "I guess they're the same no matter what."

"Who?" Dawn shook her head.

"Zan and Max." Liz smiled at the younger girl.

"Oh." Dawn ducked her head. "I... He's kinda confused. He doesn't like to talk about his family. All I know is that he's an orphan from New York and he hates his sister but still loves her if that makes sense."

"Yeah. I kinda know the whole story." Liz nodded.

Dawn blushed at what she was about to admit to a total stranger. "He kissed me. Just barely but it was way better than any other kiss I've had. Not many but enough for a comparison."

"I know what you mean." Liz bowed her head a little. "Max is amazing. We've been through so much but somehow, some way we always make it through and I always think of the first time he kissed me."

"How... How old is Zan?" Dawn asked softly. "He just, doesn't know."

"We don't know exactly. Max is almost 19 but that's just the birthday that his adoptive parents gave him."

"Oh. I'm barely going to be 16." Dawn cleared her throat. "We should really find Zan before Spike does. Buffy sent him to see if Zan was human or not. I don't want him to get hurt."

--

Zan tried to scoot to the inward most wall of the little hole as the footsteps got closer.

--

"Look." Max cut in. "I have to find him. I was left a place to maybe find him. I don't know if he's evil but I do plan to find out. If he's really hurt, it'll be easier to take him."

"Answer my question. Are you an evil alien or not?" Willow demanded, her eyes shifting dangerously into black. Only Tara's hand on her arm calmed her down.

"Fine." Max spat. "I'm an alien. I'm not evil though."

"What? The book said that you have immense capacity for evil."

"What book?" Max raked a hand through his hair. "None of this is making any sense."

"Oooh.... look. He's got a clue." Willow pointed at him. "That's why we have to talk to Buffy first."

--

The shadow towered over him. Zan shivered. The fist drew back and Zan shut his eyes.

--

"Just tell me where Woodwin and General is and I'll get out of your hair." Max demanded.

"We're standing on it." Tara pointed to the signs just 10 feet away.

Just then howls of pain echoed from the drainage pipes beneath them. That was followed by a boiterous burst of laughter.

--

"You freakin' freak." Zan laughed. "You cain't hit me, can ya?"

"Sod it all!" Spike roared against the sewers.

"What you tryin'a do? Bite me?" Zan held his sides, they hurt too much for him to keep laughing. "This town is freaky. I think I kinda like it."

--

Max jumped into the sewer and reached up to help the women down. He dropped Liz and Willow into the tunnel. Willow immediately conjured up a light that filled the tunnel. Max reached up and helped the next girl down only to feel a strange tingle when their flesh met. The little one, Dawn.

Shaking it off, he reached to help Tara and then took the lead in leading them down the tunnel, where the laughter was fading and the cursing increasing.

"I know you're not human. I can smell it. What are you?" Spike was about to kick at him until he thought better of it. "Damn this chip. The second I can get it out, you are all dead."

"Stop it. You're killin' me." Zan laughed weakly. His eyes met Max's suddenly. "Who the hell are you and what the hell you done to my face?"

"Zan." Max stopped in his tracks.

"How... neva mind." Zan shook his head. "What you want? The protector send you?"

"Can you shut up long enough for me to get you out of here?" Max nodded emphatically to their surrounding guests.

"Who said I wanted your help?" Zan tried to sit up without wincing.

"Zan?" Dawn pleaded.

"Hey Kid, what's the what? Where'd you find this punk?" Zan let his eyes travel the group. "That your girl? Nice."

Liz scowled at the injured king and stepped behind Max. "Are all the dupes like this?"

"Let's go, Zan." Max stepped forward and reached for his hand.

"Who died and made you King?" Zan's eyes flashed suddenly.

"You did. Let's go."

TBC
posted on 16-Dec-2001 12:21:11 PM
Author: DMartinez
EMail: shockerdm⊕icqmail.com
Disclaimer: Character's belong to Joss, Melinda, Jason and UPN. No infringement intended.
Rating: PG-13
Crossover: Buffy/Roswell
Summary: Dawn makes a new friend, he's special and he's not from around here.
Challenge by: inquisitive1
Challenge: Zan (Max's dupe from Roswell) shows up in Sunnydale.
Dawn and Zan become friends
Buffy and Spike become suspicious.
Weird things happen and they find out about Zan and Zan finds out about them.

Close Encounters of the Strange Kind

Part 9

"Mom, we got here fine. Yes... How did... oh... oh... okay... Yeah. We'll be careful... Promise... Mom... Yes! No! You know what I mean!... To clarify, Max and I will not be sleeping together... or doing that... or that... I plan to come home a virgin, Mom." Liz winced against her mother's screeching. "I love you, Mom. Dad, too. We'll be home soon."

Max massaged Liz's neck as she talked to her mother. He had left Michael to look after Zan in the next room. Kissing the top of her head, he rested his head atop hers. Feeling eyes on him, Max searched the room. Dawn was staring at them. Her sister was pacing the room, waiting for someone to give her a clue but Dawn was watching him with Liz. He thought about the slight tingle he had felt when he had touched her. He wondered if Zan had felt it too.

"Can we talk now? Or does anybody else need to call Mommy?" Buffy blurted out. Dawn's hand on her arm calmed her somewhat. "I would just like a clue. A big one."

"What do you want to know?" Max settled Liz between his legs as she hung up the phone.

"What is Zan? Why is he after my sister? Who are you?" Buffy huffed.

"He was not 'after' me." Dawn protested.

"She's right. I don't think your friends are right. Zan's not evil." Max shook his head.

"Wait. Wait. You weren't sure?" Buffy blinked at him.

"You talkin' bout me?!" A voice from the adjoining room called out.

"Shut up and be injured before I injure you more." Michael's voice boomed in response.

"Whateva, Mikey. They's talkin' 'bout me, I wanna be in there." Zan argued passively.

"What is he?" Buffy repeated, barely sparing a look in the direction of the adjoining room.

"Dawn's right. He wasn't after her to kill her or anything." Max shook his head.

"Then why?"

"She's cute?" Max shrugged and got an elbow in the stomach for his trouble. "I mean, he thinks she's cute. Not me, him."

"Cute is for kittens." Dawn muttered under her breath.

"What's with the guy with the... forehead and the teeth?" Liz asked suddenly.

"Vampires!" Zan shouted from the next room. "Maxi-pad! Could ya get yo ass in here and heal me? This freakin' hurts!"

Max ground his teeth together and shook his head.

"A healer?" Buffy blinked at him. "That's the big secret?" She scoffed. "Listen buddy, there isn't anything that you can tell me that would surprise me. I've seen it all. Vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, trolls, there was an alien thing that comes by meteor every century... warlocks... robots... you name it. Spill."

"You know about aliens?" Liz whispered.

"Just the one." Dawn whispered. "It tried to eat my mom. It's dead now."

"Anyway. Just tell me what's going on. It's kinda my job to know." Buffy demanded, then marched up to Max and stared down at him. "Once you drag your crap into my town, it's my business. Cal Langly, alien?"

"Yes." Max nodded stiffly.

"Just tell 'em!" Zan called out.

"I said quiet." Michael growled.

"Tell me what?" Buffy asked him.

"Cal Langly is my... our protector." Max said finally, his eyes locked on Buffy's. "He's an alien shape-shifter who hates his job. He abandoned us and left us to fend for ourselves. Some of us were luckier than others. We don't mean to be evil."

"You're not evil, Max." Liz whispered softly.

"She's right. Spike got a headache when he tried to punch Zan." Dawn burst in, trying to deflect some of Buffy's anger. "So... no evil there."

"Huh?" Liz shook her head in confusion.

"He's got a chip... kinda long story." Dawn waved her off.

"So you are an alien." Buffy deadpanned.

"You bet sweetheart!" Zan's voice called into the room again.

"That's it punk!"

"Michael! Don't hurt him!" Max called over his shoulder.

"He's a pain in the ass." Michael shouted back, obviously wanting to smack the once king.

"We're not getting anywhere this way." Max said finally. "You are obviously into things beyond my comprehension and vice versa. Let's all just go our separate ways and pretend we never met."

"Sounds like a good idea... as long as you don't come back." Buffy told him.

"Deal. Any clue why he was here?" Max asked softly.

"He was just passing through." Dawn interjected.

"So there was nothing here he wanted?" He pressed her for more information.

"Not that he told me. Two days, not much get to know you time." Dawn shrugged helplessly. "He's just weak and I don't understand that."

"He'll be okay." Max reassured her. "I'm going to fix him."

"Then hurry it up!"

"What's wrong with him?" She asked softly. Buffy scoffed and walked off.

"About a year a go his sister and best friend pushed him into the road and let him get run over by a delivery truck." Max whispered. "I don't think he's ever gathered enough strength to heal himself. I don't know how he got out of there in the first place without them knowing. They think he's dead."

"Oh." Dawn blinked back a tear. "So that's why he hates his sister."

"Yeah." Liz whispered.

"Can I stay while you heal him? I wanna make sure he's alright." Dawn felt better at Max's nod, even if Liz had to prod him for it.

--

Dawn watched as Liz shooed Michael from the room. Buffy had insisted on being in the room if Dawn was going to be in there. Max was leaning in the doorway with his eyes closed.

Dawn sat on the edge of the bed. "Hey you."

"Hey Kid." Zan flashed her a smile. "What's the what?"

"Max is going to heal you."

"Bout freakin' time." Zan shut his eyes.

"So... you're leaving after you're better."

"Says who?" He attempted to sit up to look around the room.

"Max made a deal with Buffy. You guys are all leaving. You can't come back." She gave him a weak smile, eyes on her hands. She nearly jumped when his cold hand wrapped around hers.

Zan wrinkled his brow at the funny feeling he got and cleared his throat. "It'll be cool, Kid. Call me when you turn 18."

"She will not." Buffy fixed him with a look.

"Whateva. Let's get these bones mended." Zan turned his head to Max. Max strode over and sat on the edge of the bed. "I'm ready. Do your do."

"Alright. Um... your hand." Max gestured to where Zan still had his hand on Dawn's.

"Little weak here, Chief." Zan admitted softly, no hint of playing in his voice. "Hurts to lift the arm."

"Okay." Max nodded and gently removed his duplicates hands from the young girl. "You might want to give us a little room."

"You know... if I had been one of the others... I'd be dead around now." Zan told his duplicate. "They can't heal so well."

"I know." Max nodded again. "You ready?"

"Yeah." Zan locked his eyes with an identical pair.

Dawn watched as they stared into each other's eyes. Max placed his hands on Zan's chest and then suddenly they were convulsing. When Max grimaced, she panicked and reached out to touch them both.

"No." Liz started to protest when suddenly a bright light filled the room at Dawn's contact. The brightness eventually condensed but didn't fade.

"What's going on? What happened?" Buffy pulled on Liz's arm.

"I don't know. No one's ever done that before. We always give Max his space when he heals..." The more Liz stared the more that wasn't clear. Max's back arched, as did Dawn's. Zan seemed not to notice. Then it became clear. Max and Zan weren't the ones glowing. Liz turned on Buffy. "What is she?"

"What?" Buffy blinked at her.

"She's glowing. What is she?" Liz demanded. She wanted to pull Dawn away but she didn't want to hurt Max or Zan.

"Dawn?" Buffy called out but the girl was in the throes of something beyong anyone's comprehension.

Then it went dark, or seemed to. The room had been so bright that when the glow was gone, it was so dark. Only one sound filled the room. Sobbing.

It seemed like hours before Buffy could make out shapes in the room again. She could hear Dawn crying but couldn't see her. Finaly though, she saw Dawn wrapped in Zan's arms. He was stroking her back, trying to calm her down. "I'm sorry."

"Sh, Dawn. It's okay. You done good." Zan whispered to her.

"That's never happened before." She whispered so softly.

"Max?" Liz called out from the doorway.

"I'm here." Max called over his shoulder, not trusting his vision enough to get up. It was all so clear in his head. He turned slightly to stare until he could make out his counterpart and the girl in his arms. "What are you?"

Buffy stumbled her way over to the bed, gingerly following the side of Zan's leg until she found Dawn. "Dawnie?"

"Buffy." Dawn turned and flung herself in her sister's arms. "It's because of what I am, isn't it?"

"Sh. It's okay. It's all okay."

--

Isabel blinked when she walked into the room with Jesse. There were serious faces all around and most of them she didn't recognize. "Hey guys."

"You missed the fun, Iz." Michael muttered.

"Where's Max?" Isabel rushed to Michael's side.

"In the next room..." He paused and flicked a glance to Jesse. "With your other brother."

"What?" Isabel paled. "I thought he was dead."

"He's plenty alive, now." Michael halted her progress through the room. "There's a situation. Stay out here until they're done in there."

"Situation? What kind of situation, Michael?" She demanded, shrugging off her husband's hands when he tried to calm her down. "What's going on in there?"

"Um." A blond interuppted. "Hi, I'm Tara. Mr. Giles just wants to know what's going on. They're filling him in. Zan was kinda around and things need to be talked out."

"Who is Mr. Giles? And why are all these people here?" Isabel spared the girl a single cutting glance and turned on Michael.

"Like I said. There's a situation." He flicked another glance at Jesse and then went to his seat by the door. "They won't even let me in there."

--

Buffy held the still trembling Dawn in her arms as Giles spoke softly to Max, Zan and Liz. "Buffy's not like other girls. She was born with a preternatural strength and ability. She was called some six years ago. She fights the forces of darkness and protects the innocent.

"Dawn appeared nearly two years ago. She was placed in Buffy's care to protect her from an evil god. She looks normal enough but she was never born on this earth the way humans are. She is a key. Her blood opens the portal that allows all dimensions to merge. The opening of the portal brings about the end of creation.

"We've stopped that threat and we had no idea she had other capabilities. For all purposes that matter, she is Buffy's sister. They, we, all have memories of her being in our lives but she's very new."

"When I touched her earlier... I felt a... tingle." Max admitted softly. "I didn't know what it meant."

"I kinda felt it but I was really weak. I didn't what from what." Zan adjusted slightly on his bed.

"Yes, well... perhaps your alien status had something to do with that." Giles nodded solemnly. "What exactly happened when she interrupted the healing?"

"Nothing wrong." Max spoke softly, his arm tightened around Liz. "Just... suddenly there was more power flowing through me than I thought possible. And then... she opened doorways in my mind that have been closed all my life. I remember everything."

"Me too, yo." Zan agreed. "I remember Antar."

"So clearly." Max whispered.

At the confused look on Giles's face, Liz spoke up. "That's their home planet."

"They're twins?" Giles asked, curious.

"No. Clones of the last King of Antar." Liz clarified. "He died quite young but as the only hope for their enslaved people, his essence was cloned and sent to earth with his queen, sister and war commander. They made two sets because they weren't sure how strong the mix would come out. So one's more human and one's more alien."

"And you are the queen?" Giles asked her seriously.

"No" "Yes"

Liz shot Max a look and he smiled sheepishly. "No, I am not the queen of Antar. I am completely human, or was. Max healed me and I've changed somehow. With a little help, I can project but I'm not ready to test my limits just yet. The queen is on Antar right now."

"Yo, I cannot believe you knocked up that bitch when you got cherry sweet, right there." Zan wrinkled up his nose.

"I didn't know she was a bitch at the time." Max protested. "Besides, there were other circumstances."

"Whateva. I still woulda been after cherry sweet."

"Excuse me. Is that supposed to be a compliment?" Liz glared at Zan.

"Just call it how I see it." Zan held up his hands.

"I thought you had never met before." Giles pulled off his glasses to clean them.

"We haven't. When we heal, we exchange some memories." Max sighed. "We didn't get any from Dawn though."

"Is that good?" Giles asked. His curiosity was threatening to take over.

"It's better than if we knew every detail of her life and she knew it." Max nodded stiffly. He turned to his duplicate. "Are you coming home with us?"

"Why not? I ain't got no better place to be." Zan shrugged. His eyes slid over to Dawn. "She gonna be okay?"

"She's just scared." Liz whispered to him. "She's never done anything like that before."

"I'm fine." Dawn's voice came out surprisingly strong. "Summers' women are strong."

"That's right." Buffy let a smile cross her face. "You okay, Dawnie?"

"Fine."

"Can I ask you to do something?" Zan spoke up and the whole room turned to look at him. "It'll be the last thing, I swear it."

TBC
posted on 16-Dec-2001 7:27:31 PM
Part 10

Cal didn't even bother to get out of bed when the twosome entered his bedroom. "Thought I told you punks to leave me alone."

"We'll go soon enough." Max told him and stepped forward and then Dawn entered the room, clinging to Zan.

"Wow. It's him." She whispered. "Tara's gonna freak when I tell her."

"What's with the kid?" Cal shifted so he could see better.

"Will you trust us?" Max asked him, apology written all over his face.

"Max, yo. I'll do it." Zan cleared his throat.

"No. I did this to him. I'll undo it." Max said softly and approached the bed. "Do you trust me?"

"That's a stupid question, Max." Cal reached for a lemon beside his bed. "I can't taste this."

"Would you like to?" Max countered. "I can do it... that and a lot more but you have to trust me."

"I can taste lemons again." Cal swallowed, trying to keep his uncertainty from showing. "What else?"

"Lemons and Tabasco would be your favorite foods but you'll have more choice in the matter." Max made to sit on the bed. "You trust me?"

"I ain't got much to lose kid... much else anyway. I've lost six movie deals since you been here before." Cal lay back.

"You'll have to look into my eyes." Max told him and put his hands on Cal's. "Just relax."

"You don't gotta do this." Zan whispered to Dawn.

"I want to." She whispered back.

"Why?"

"You asked me to." Her blue eyes met his. "I almost ended the world. It's the least I can do, help people."

"You're up." Zan nodded in the direction of Max and Cal. He shut his eyes to keep from being blinded by the light that would engulf the room. Her light warmed his face, reached into him.

--

"So that..." Jesse had to bite his lip to keep from cursing about his wife's brother. "He's your brother too? I mean, yeah. He looks just like Max but..."

"It's okay, honey. He's coming back to Roswell with us. You'll get to know him a little better and so will I." Isabel glanced around at her surroundings.

"And the guy that lives here?" Jesse followed her eyes with his own. The place was expensive.

"A distant uncle. He tipped off Max in the first place."

"Then why..." Jesse gave up. He was never going to understand.

"Distant. He used to piss on our parents. We mean nothing to him. Max is just setting the ground rules now. We appreciate his help and we won't be asking for any money or connections." Isabel smiled brightly at her husband. "Because we don't need that, we have each other."

"You know, even I'm about to gag." Liz spoke, speaking the very thought on Michael's mind.

"Did I ask you about your gag reflex?" Isabel glared at the person who could quite possibly be her sister-in-law.

"But she's right. We're all choking on the sweet." Buffy announced from her position in the mansion. "Milk anyone?"

"I'm gonna go see what's taking so long." Liz announced and ran up the stairs.

"So why did that little girl come with us here?" Jesse was asking Isabel as Isabel decided she needed a tour of the house.

--

Cal blinked and blinked again. When his eyes focused again, the girl that had interrupted the healing was curled up in Zan's lap, trembling. Cal looked to Max, who was also blinking his way back into vision. "The power that girl has..."

"Is hers." Max finished.

"You want your way back home, that girl is it." Cal hissed.

"But we're not going home, Cal." Max corrected him. "She's going home to be as normal as she can be."

Zan picked up Dawn in his arms and pushed past Liz in the doorway to get the girl downstairs. Liz noted the tension and went in to retrieve Max, who was still blinking rapidly. They made it to the door when Cal decided he was going to follow them.

"Dammit Max. You have all the answers you're looking for right there and you're not going to take it? You can go home and find your son." They all stopped when Isabel and Jesse stared up at him.

Isabel winced and then raised her hand. A painting fell off the wall and hit her husband in the head. When she was convinced that he was out she glared up at the rest of them. "I hate doing that to him."

"You're the one that married a human, sweetheart." Cal spared her a look and turned back to Max. "All mighty King, why don't you tell me why you're going to let the greatest weapon we've ever found in this war get away?"

"Because she's a 15 year old girl! It was enough that we asked her to come here and fix you. We only had the chance for one favor and we took it." Max yelled back, silencing everyone in the room. He calmed slightly. "She's going to go home and forget she ever met us. I get it now, okay? I get it now. I screwed up the life you made for yourself and I'm not going to do the same to someone that has nothing to do with us."

"Max, she could destroy Kivar." Cal pleaded.

"It's an order, Cal. Don't bring it up again." Max hated doing that to him but he had to. "We're human, now. You told me that. My son... has my prayers."

Everyone watched as Cal tried to speak but couldn't. He couldn't bring it up again. Max swallowed thickly. "Fine. Your people will die."

"My people were dying before I was born on this planet. You shouldn't follow any of our orders anymore." Max shut his eyes. "You won't follow any of our orders anymore."

"You're making a big mistake." Cal said finally.

"No, I'm not." Max shook his head and motioned for the others to leave.

"You are the same selfish son of a bitch that I always knew." Cal stopped abruptly when a short blonde stepped in front of him.

"That's my sister, not a weapon. Trust me when I say you don't want to mess with me. You've invaded my territory. I'm the peace keeper on this planet. Not even the government messes with me." Buffy told him firmly. "I've killed an alien before and I won't hesitate again. I don't like Zan and Max but they've just earned my respect. You'd do well to do the same."

She stomped off, pulling Zan with her. Max took Liz's hand and faced Cal once more. "It wasn't right of me to try to use you and it's not right to use her. She's a teenager and I don't have the right to interfere. Just know that I had a choice in the matter." Max cleared his throat. "I chose righting a wrong over going home."

"Jesse, honey. You okay?" Isabel pat his cheeks to get him to open his eyes. He looked around in a daze. "Come on. It's time to go."

--

Cal watched through one of his windows as the group talked in his front drive. He saw Zan lead off the little girl, exchange a few words and then kiss her forehead. How such a small girl ended up with so much cosmic power was beyond him.

He absently took a mint from a candy dish and popped it into his mouth. His mouth exploded with the subtle flavors of the mint. He stared harder out the window as he picked up another mint, able to feel the rough texture of his surface. Then it all clicked. If he had to chose between going back to the hell that was Antar and being able to feel sensation like a human, he would chose the latter.

Closing his eyes he concentrated on the feel of his clothes hanging on his body. The silk of his night clothes whispered against his skin, his fuzzy slippers cradled his feet. He knew that Max was down there looking up at him and realized what exactly it was the kid had given up for him. Such a simple pleasure in exchange for the fate of a world. "Thanks Max."

--

"I meant what I said, Max." Buffy told him. "You have my respect. For all I knew, I could have been handing Dawn over as a weapon in an long distance star wars thing but you were up front with me."

"I've done a lot of growing up these past few months, Buffy." Max squeezed Liz where his arm was wrapped around her waist. His gaze wandered over to the sight of his sister coddling her wounded husband. "It gets tough when not everyone you know can be trusted with the secret. It's really hard on Isabel."

"How does he not know?" Buffy followed his gaze to the couple.

"Isabel's spent her entire life playing a part and she's got it down pat. Poor Jesse gets knocked on the head every single time he hears something he shouldn't. Then he plays it like he never heard a thing." Max chuckled. "He's going to get a concussion one of these days if she isn't careful."

"So, you're planet is in trouble?" Buffy brought him back to the subject.

"Yeah."

"And Dawn could end it all?"

"Probably."

"But you're not going to let her."

"No. It's not her fight. I have a child on that planet and I'm just going to pray that he makes it and that... he'll forgive me someday." Max kissed Liz's forehead. His eyes wandered over to where Zan and Dawn were talking near the Chevelle.

Zan pulled her away from the blue car because Michael kept glaring at him. "Guess this is goodbye, Kid."

"I'm not a kid." She protested weakly.

"I know." He flashed her a smile. "Look, I'm serious. Give me a call when it's all good."

"Where are you going to go?" Dawn searched his face.

"Don't know. Might hang it with Max and Liz over there. See what this family thang is 'bout." He shrugged. "Could be cool. Maybe I'cin get 'em to loosen up lil bit. Party."

"Am I really all that powerful like Cal and Max were saying?" She whispered.

"Yeah but don't worry 'bout it." Zan pulled her close and pressed a warm kiss to her forehead. "'member. 18 and I'll be talkin' to ya."

"Right." Dawn smiled and hugged him tight.

Max shifted his eyes up to a window where he could see Cal standing, eyes closed like he had just tasted the best thing in the world. "Later, Cal."

--

Buffy snuck a look at Dawn as they rode the bus back to Sunnydale. "Hey, you alright?"

"Yeah. It's just weird. I didn't know I could do that and I now I do." Dawn whispered, fingering the cut off sweat shirt she was using as a blanket. "It makes me all kinds of tired but I feel, older."

"Don't grow up too soon." Buffy stroked her sister's light brown hair. "It's not all it's cracked up to be." She let a smile cross her face without even realizing it. Dawn sat up straight and a bright smile plastered itself on her face, tears filling her eyes. "What?"

"You're smiling. I haven't seen you do that since... I mean you smile but not like that." Dawn reached over and squeezed her older sister tight.

"So, what were you and Zan talking about?" Buffy brushed it off, deciding not to think about it too hard.

"Nothing." Dawn whispered with a sly smile. "He doesn't want me to get involved with the spacey stuff."

"That's good."

"Is it alright if I write him?"

"I don't know. He doesn't seem like a pen pally sort of person. Doesn't seem like the stay in one place person, actually."

"But he's going to. He wouldn't come out and say it but I think he will."

"If you're sure, okay then. But... Well, I won't say I told you so if it comes back unopened." Buffy warned her.

"Okay."

--

Isabel turned her head slightly and called up front. "Zan, where are you going to go?"

"I don't know. Thought I stick it in Roswell for awhile." He watched the desert fly by through the window of Jesse's car. He could see the bright circles that Max's car behind them were throwing. Michael had looked relieved when the five had decided they were going to squeeze into Jesse's car instead of splitting up.

Isabel had told Jesse it was a family thing. He had bought it after his head had stopped throbbing. "I... Mom would love to meet you. You thought about what you're going to do?"

"Thought about workin' on a GED or somethin'." He turned his head to see Max and Liz cuddled together while Max drove them home. "That's what people do, right?"

"Some people try high school." Liz told him.

"I ain't never been." He raised an eyebrow at her. Then he craned his neck to see Isabel sitting in the back with her husband's head in her lap. "Know a place I can crash?"

"Oh well..." Isabel faltered then too late realized that Jesse was awake. "Max isn't at home anymore. He's on Michael's couch and my apartment is kinda small."


"It's cool." Zan shrugged and turned back to the window. "I'll figure somethin' out."

"Zan, you're more than welcome to stay with us but, like Isabel said, it's small and the couch is the best we have to offer." Jesse spoke up.

"I'm gonna talk to Dad. Tell him what I can about what's going on." Max shot a glance back towards Jesse who had sat up to hear what was going on. Thinking quickly, Max cleared his throat. "Jesse, you're family and I don't want to get you into trouble. I'm just going to say that finding my brother is something that I've been working on for a while and most of my means have not been exactly legal. I didn't want to get my parents involved."

"Why didn't you say anything?" Jesse demanded.

"It's complicated. Just think for a minute of a reason, any possible reason that a set of parents would abandon their very young children in the desert." Max slid his eye back to the road. "It's not exactly a fairy tale type of story."

"How do you mean exactly?" Jesse prodded but Max remained silent.

"Put it this way, chief." Zan spoke up. "I ended up in a New York sewer without a single parental figure. Moms and Pops weren't 'xactly the Cleavers. It's best left. Got it?"

"Okay." Jesse backed off and turned to Isabel. "That why you don't care?"

"Pretty much." Isabel nodded. "Besides, our whole family is in this car. Michael's behind us and Mom and Dad are waiting at home. Those are the important people."

"That's right." Max squeezed Liz at his side and watched as Zan turned back to stare out over the desert. Hopefully things would stay this way.

TBC
posted on 16-Dec-2001 7:49:43 PM
Part 11

"Dad, it's the truth." Max's voice carried into the kitchen where Zan was pouring over his books as studiously as he could manage. Both boys had moved into the Evans shortly after arriving in Roswell. Mrs. Evans was busy trying to cook dinner and pretend that her son's 'twin' didn't disturb her.

"Max. I just don't get why you won't tell me everything."

"You know everything you need to know. I've been gathering information on my biological parents and... I found my brother instead." Max pleaded so urgently for his father to understand that Zan was touched. "I thank you for letting him stay here while he catches up on his school. I thank you for letting me come back. There is so much that I don't understand and I can't expect you to either."

"What is it? Drugs?"

"No! It's..." Max lowered his voice so dramatically that Zan wanted to laugh. "Dad, it's a government conspiracy and the only way to get information is to have information. I got what I needed to get what I needed. If we let it drop, we live out the rest of our natural lives."

"What are you saying? That the government will exterminate you? Our government doesn't work that way."

"Dad, what did you think was going to happen in Utah? I am on a hit list." Max pleaded with his father. "If I tell you everything, you go on that hit list too. I'm protecting what I have."

"You. You're protecting us."

"Yes. You only laugh because you don't understand but you couldn't possibly understand. You will have to take what I say at face value and trust me."

"How can I trust you Max?"

"Go on faith, Dad. I swallowed my pride to come back here. I had faith that you would try."

Zan cleared his throat. He could hear the tears in Max's voice and it made him uncomfortable. He couldn't recall the last time he cried. He glanced up to see Mrs. Evans looking at the doorway. "They always like that?"

"What?" Diane turned to face her... tenant.

"Max and his dad, they always like that?" Zan gestured over his shoulder.

"They didn't used to be." She shook her head sadly. "Oh!" She wiped her hands on a towel and reached for a stack of mail beside the stove. "You got a letter."

"I did?" Zan stood up to take the letter, warily. Then a smile broke out when he saw the return address and bubbly handwriting.

"Girlfriend?" She teased him. With her smile she felt a little relief that she could unnerve him. She had actually made him blush. "Ah, you leave someone behind?"

"Um..." Zan cleared his throat loudly. "Not a girlfriend, more of a friend with um... hope of that later."

"Oh?" She nudged him a little as he continued to stare at the front of the letter.

"She's young." Zan said finally and turned away to open it.

"Oh, I see." Diane shook her head. "Well, hopefully you can both wait for each other. Max and Liz... that situation just breaks my heart. They are so good together and..." Zan tuned her out as he sat to read the letter.

'Dear Zan,

I hope you don't mind. I had a friend in L.A. do a little looking up and he found that you were still in Roswell. How is everything going? I'm great... I still get a little tired from that healing. Buffy keeps hounding me to eat more protein or something. Whatever floats her boat.
What does that saying even mean? Floats your boat?

Anyway. Hope you're liking it there. Buffy thinks I'm crazy for even writing. She thinks you'll be gone before the letter gets there but I know different. Sometimes, I get these pictures in my head. I don't know what they mean but... I see this really dark sewer and this girl that looks like Isabel but with really short hair. Once I saw... well... I saw Max and Liz together in this really dark apartment with a lot of candles. It was sort of adorable.

There are some that scare me though. I see aliens, like in the movies but worse. I see stars and then I see Earth and then crash into it. Why do I see that? Is it because of what we did with the healing?

Don't worry about it. Giles thinks it might be risidual something or other. He used a lot of big words that I didn't understand. I guess I've rambled enough. He kinda took off. We all knew he would I just never believed it. He was kinda the only father I knew. It's insane the things that go on around here. Did you know there are singing and dancing demons? I'll see you around. Expect a call two years, six months and seven days from now.

XOXOXO
Dawn Summers'

Zan had just finished reading the letter when it was ripped from his hand. Max walked off reading it. "Hey, give it back."

"Is this that girl?" Max picked a pepper out of the pan on the stove, ducking his mother's swattings. Zan stood and took the letter back. "So maybe it is."

"So what if it is?"

"She's young." Max warned and took the letter from his hand.

"And it's just a letter." Zan reached for it again.

"You're not planning on doing anything, right?" Max pulled the letter out of his clone's reach.

"Not as much as you and Liz. I know 'bout the apartment and the candles." Zan taunted him. Max shot a glance toward his mother and then slugged Zan in the arm.

"Ow. Punk." Zan snatched the letter back. "Hope you usin' a rubber."

"Oh, you're gonna get it!" Max dove for his dupe and nearly ran into the pantry when he ducked.

"Boys!" Diane cried out. "Are you eighteen or eight?" They settled down. "I'm suddenly glad I didn't raise both of you at the same time." She shot Max a look. "Are you being careful?"

"It's not really an issue, Ma." Max shoved Zan before taking a seat at the table. "Seeing how if I get within ten feet of Liz her father comes charging at me with a shot gun."

Zan folded the letter and put it in his pocket before he cleared his books off the table. "I would too. You one ugly son of a... gun." He quickly amended himself before Diane could catch him cursing.

"Look who's talking. No wonder Buffy wants you far, far away from Dawn." Max shot right back.

"Dawn?" Diane asked, eyebrows raised.

"See what you did, punk." Zan muttered. He had to admit, it felt really good to horse around like that.

--

"Ah! What are you trying to do? Give me a heart attack? Get those things out of here!" Anya leapt onto a table when Dawn walked in with a cage containing one large bunny and several smaller ones.

"It's okay. They can't get out and besides, they're cute." Dawn peered into the cage. "I'm watching them for the weekend."

"Their disgusting and those teeth." Anya shivered and slowly climbed off the table. "So, what's up?"

"Waiting for Buffy. She's supposed to take me to the museum for a project. She said something about evil things happening inside those things and me needing protection." Dawn set her books down. "After the whole dancing thing last week, she's a little wary of me and ancient artifacts. She thinks maybe my energy or whatever must be invoking those demons or whatever."

"It's possible. If you've got enough energy to heal the dying aliens then you could probably set one of those amulets off. They are so sensitive." Anya patted her head and went about dusting the shop.

Dawn swept her eyes over the table and found a stack of letters. "What are these?"

"Oh, Buffy was checking the mail when something came up. She came straight over. She must've left them there." Xander walked in, reading a book. "More evil brewing. One must ask one's self if evil ever gets tired of brewing."

"It doesn't." Anya muttered as she walked past the bunny cage with fingers crossed in front of her.

Dawn shuffled the letters until she saw one post marked New Mexico. "Oh my god!"

"What? What? Did the bunnies get ou? I told you they would. Now they're going to hop all over me." Anya hopped onto the counter.

"Anya, we've been over this. Bunnies are not evil." Xander told her without looking up.

"I don't care what you say. Nothing with ears that long can be good." She glared at the cage.

"Whatcha got there, Dawn?" Xander watched how Dawn stared at the envelope.

"It's a letter, from Zan." Dawn carefully opened it to find scratchy and slightly tag-like handwriting.

"I still don't like that guy." Xander shook his head.

"Well, you didn't like Angel. And Riley was a fluke..." Anya stopped and looked at her fiance. "You are not a good judge of character."

"I am a very good judge of character." Xander started to say more when Willow poked her head out of the back room. Apparently she had been listening a while. "What?"

"Well, it's just... there was Ampata, the Science teacher, the hyena pack... Cordelia and you're engaged to a demon. You kind... suck at the judge of character thing." Willow shrugged her shoulders.

"See, besides Zan's a good alien." Dawn climbed up the stairs to the loft to read her letter while the others continued to bicker about the normal things.

'Dawn,

Yo, I ain't so good at this pen pal stuff. Glad you cool and all. It's aight here. I menshoned that partment thang to Max in front of his moms and he nearly blew a gaskit. But that ended us both wit gettin' a safe sex talk. Yo I ain't even need to hear that stuff from his parents.

Sorry for the spellin', Ma Evans says she ain't see nothin' this bad ever. I tryin' though. I'll get me a GED or whatever, maybe get a job. I hate stayin' here if they don't make me pay rent. I do chores and stuff but I ain't hardly know these people and they puttin' me up so I can get situaded.

Me and Max, we tight like brothers. I kinda like it. Liz is awesome, yo. She helps me out and she thinks I'm more hopless then Ma Evans does. Izzy's husband keeps lookin' at me like I gon steel the TV every time I go over. He's a trip, yo. I picked up one of his books and I like it. I ain't never thought I'd be a slimy lawyer but they make the green. I ain't gon tell that ta Pa Evans. He'd go off and I'd never get no other choes bout it.

I menshoned those vision thangs to Max. He said he thought you was immoon or somethin'. Says it happen when he heal Liz too. They like... took each others memories. So the crash and the scary aliens, those gotta be from Cal. The partment thang with Max and Liz really happen, yo. That girl you saw in the sewer. She was my sister, Lannie. She messed up yo. She tried to kill Max too. I like Isabel better.

Yo, I'll catch you on the flip. I gotta get back to the books.

Zan

I'm a wait for that call.'

"Dawn, let's go." Buffy walked in and nodded but stopped when she saw what Dawn was holding. "I told you he'd write."

"You did not. You said he wouldn't even be there." Dawn made a face at her sister as she climbed down the stairs.

"I did not. Come on. Let's go. Museum closes in an hour." Buffy pointed to the door. "When I get back, we got that evil thing to kill and then we gotta figure out how to make supper with only eggs, cereal and no milk."

"There's a place around the corner with really good greasy hamburgers." Dawn pointed out. "Then there's the pizza place on 3rd."

"No pizza. Healthy food. I think we have lettuce, maybe celery."

"That's for the rabbits, not for us." Dawn protested.

"Hey! Hey!" Anya screamed after them, making turn around just as they were going through the door. "You're forgetting the evil fur balls. Take them out of my sight. You can't leave them here. I don't have a license to keep live creatures here." She pouted and turned to Xander as they left with the cage. "Honey, they were going to leave the nasty things here."

"It's okay. I'll protect you from the evil that bunnies wield." Xander stroked her back reassuringly.

Willow raised her hands in the air and mouthed. 'why bunnies?'

The END