"When the battery is inserted into a device, a circuit is completed."

Dawn's eyes were drawn to her desk as her friend Shannon slid a square piece of paper onto her open notebook. Returning her gaze to Mr. Dumire, she casually covered the complexly folded note with her hand and slid it on to her lap.

The screeching of the chalk across the blackboard faded into the background as she opened the note. Brian Tully hasn't stopped watching you all period. With studied casualness, she tossed her hair over her shoulder and sneaked a glance at Brian. He was studiously copying notes from the board and didn't appear to notice her looking his way. In fact, he didn't appear to be noticing her at all.

"A chemical reaction inside the casing produces power." Mr. Dumire droned, drawing a complicated diagram on the board. Dawn pretended to copy notes as she wrote her answer. "Most of the energy produced is in the form of heat, but because the chemicals are confined within the casing, electricity is produced instead."

She refolded the note and slid it back across the desk just as Dumire turned back to the class. "A collector inside the battery conducts the energy out of the battery and into the device, powering it." While waiting for a Dumire to look away again, she began copying the notes from the board.

Dawn couldn't wait for Buffy to come in for parent/teacher conferences and meet Mr. Dumire. Buffy's fashion sense would be horrified by the too-short brown polyester pants and the not-quite-beige, not-quite-white oxford shirt. But it was the striped tie that would send her sister over the edge.

Just as Dawn moved on to mentally critiquing her teacher's greasy hair, a wave of dizziness washed over her. She gave her head a quick shake in an attempt to clear it, but the movement only made her dizzier. Closing her eyes for a moment, she rubbed at her temples trying to ease the building headache. Why was this happening in science, the one class in which she really needed to pay attention? Science hated her, no matter how hard she studied. And now, not only did she have yet another blinding headache brewing, she was dizzy on top of it. The room began to spin around and she closed her eyes tight. Her pencil clattered to the floor unnoticed, as she clutched her head.

"Dawn, are you ok?" Shannon sounded like she was miles away instead of in the next seat over. "Dawn?"

Dawn could hear voices rising in concern nearby, someone even yelled for Mr. Dumire, but the pain and dizziness had multiplied, leaving her powerless to answer. She struggled against it, but the onslaught was overwhelming. A rushing noise filled her head just as the room went black.

The engine of the KX8 purred as the black Jaguar rounded the same corner for the third time. The driver looked through his darkly tinted windows, unable to believe that such a simple brick building held the prize he'd searched so long for. He pulled into the parking lot and stopped the car between a Douglas fir and a Chevy Nova that had seen better days. He turned down the classic rock he always blared while driving and leaned over to pull a tattered map from the glove compartment.

"Can't be," he muttered. He quickly rummaged through the pocket of his beat-up leather jacket and triumphantly pulled out a small vial of green powder. Popping off the top, he sprinkled the contents over the map. As powder met paper, an eerie green light shimmered over his exact location on the map. He shook his head and leaned back, running a hand through his thick hair.

"A high school?" he chuckled. "My source of unearthly mystical power is hiding somewhere in the confines of a bloody high school?" He looked up at the building once again, an amused grin on his face. "Such charming irony. Serves me right for dropping out." He settled himself more comfortably in his seat and considered options for entering the building and nosing around.

It didn't take long for the school bell to ring, and soon students were flooding out of the doors. He watched as they hurried in all directions, some toward the parking lot, but all eager to escape their enforced learning. Several of the students passing by, threw envious looks at his car, causing him to chuckle.

"Ah, to be young again." He admired the view of a group of giggling teenage girls approaching the car. He idly entertained the idea of performing a glamour spell and availing himself of the joys of youth. He quickly dismissed the idea, however, turning his attention back to the building. There'd be more than enough time to play and, more importantly, more than enough power to play with, once he'd found his beloved source of energy.

"I'm fine," Dawn insisted, as she and her friends descended the wet steps, happy that they had caught a rare break from the rain as they left school.

Liz shook her head. "You almost passed out. Scared the class to death. Even Mr. Dumire looked panicked."

"He called Miss Whedon up to the room and everything," Shannon added.

Dawn cringed at the mention of the school nurse. She was probably around Buffy's age and was really nice, but Dawn had seen her so often lately to get aspirin for her headaches, they'd probably be on a first-name basis by Christmas.

"I just forgot to eat lunch," Dawn said. "It was nothing." She missed her friends' synchronized eye-rolling, as she scanned the parking lot for Giles and the Suburban. She didn't see either, but her eyes did fall on something interesting. "Nice wheels," she said, nodding toward a sleek black Jaguar.

Shannon and Liz followed her gaze.

"Can't be a student's car," Dawn said.

"Ain't a teacher's, that's for sure," Liz added. "Not on their salary."

"Driver's ed?" Shannon suggested with a hopeful grin. They all giggled at the thought.

"I wish," Dawn said, and then started for the car. The mirrored-tint on the windows prevented her from seeing inside, so she leaned closer to get a better view.

"Dawn, someone might be in there," Liz said, keeping her distance. As always, Dawn's boldness raised both awe and concern in the redhead.

The driver was busy studying the building, when he felt a sudden jolt of energy. He'd been so absorbed in formulating a plan to get inside that he was completely unprepared for the exhilarating dizziness that accompanied his proximity to such a power source. As he turned, he gave a start when he realized the group of girls he had been admiring earlier was now standing next to his car. One, in particular, was leaning forward, barely an inch from the driver's side window, trying to peek inside.

When his eyes fell on her, he was hit by an even more powerful jolt. The energy seemed to pour out of her. It excited him, and he was immediately hungry for more. As he leaned closer, he could practically feel it swirling within her, and he wondered if she was even aware of the power that flowed through her veins. His lips curved into a cruel smile. Who would have thought that such delicious power would come wrapped inside such a lovely and innocent package? No matter. It would soon be his.

He lifted a hand to the window and traced his finger along the outline of the girl's curious face.

"Well, 'ello lovely," he murmured. "I'll be seeing you soon." Leaning back in his seat, Ethan chuckled with delight. This was going to be more fun than he could have ever imagined.


Previously   Credits

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