Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or any of the other characters in that or any other show on TV

Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or any of the other characters in that or any other show on TV. Maybe when I'm older and rich... and succesful...

Chapter 1

It was winter in Colorado. Snow was scheduled for the next few days, and the familiar sharpness was already filling the air. Dawn and Cassie, dressed in long warm coats and carrying their school bags, were laughing as they rounded the corner home. Jack and the others were away on another mission and Dawn was to stay at Janet's house with her best friend. The next morning, they were planning to go Christmas shopping and hopefully get their presents sorted for the team before they came back. However, it was not to be.

Around the corner, there waited five young adults. All of them were wrapped up warm - warmer than Dawn and Cassie and it was as if they felt the cold much easier. They also seemed to be waiting for somebody.

At first, Dawn and Cassie planned to walk straight past them. There was nothing to indicate they might be waiting for the girls, and nothing to indicate that anything might be wrong or that they were interested in the pair at all. It was only when one of the young men, a male with messy brown hair and a smile, stepped out in front of their path that they thought about moving around.

Only to find they couldn't. The two young girls were surrounded. Instinctively, Dawn stepped in front of Cassie, putting herself between the younger girl and the messy-haired male and settling into a defensive stance.

"We just want to go home OK… so if you could just step out the way no one has to get hurt."

The others laughed, before a pale man sporting an out of date Billy-idol look spoke up. "I wish it was that simple little bit, sadly it's not. You've got to come with us."

He spoke with a lower class British accent and swallowing slightly, Dawn pressed the speed-dial on the mobile her Dad had got her last year. It would connect directly to the SGC's emergency line.

"Your friend the alien can go though. We're not interested in her." He allowed with what he probably thought was a kind smile. Cassie just thought it was creepy.

Dawn frowned. She had found out Cassie was an alien after the pair had been kidnapped by the NID the year Cassie had come to Earth, and she knew damn well that people were never interested in her. She was earth born and bred - no different from any other teenager. "You want me?"

A young woman with dark hair let out a beaming smile. "Yes we do little human girl. Do not worry, we will not hurt you. I have brought cookies and milk and we can eat them as we wait for the others to finish their completely not dangerous and safe business."

Dawn glanced over at Cassie who was looking slightly nervous. "Well that's all very good but we have to be going, me and Cassie have the whole night all planned out and we have important stuff to do tomorrow…"

The smallest female, her hair dyed blonde and the picture of a Californian bimbo snorted. "Let me guess you're going to paint each others nails and gossip about the new boy at school who just happens to be a spy for a bunch of people who want to rip you into shreds." She rolled her eyes, and then stared appraisingly at the two girls. "Take my advice, stay away from him."

Another female, a red headed young woman, chuckled nervously. "Ignore her; she tends to get paranoid about these things."

The messy haired young man snorted. "When every single date you get tries to eat you or sell you on the black market you'd turn cynical too."

Dawn and Cassie turned to stare at him. He shrugged. "What? It's a fact of life - particularly when you're living on the Boca de Infierno."

A faint growl from the Billy-Idol look alike caused the two girls to jump slightly. "Enough of this. Little Alien, run along home, Dawn - you're coming with us." Reaching out, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him, ignoring the protests of his companions.

Cassie glanced at Dawn, torn. Dawn nodded encouragingly and Cassie walked nervously towards the edge of the circle - glancing back frequently. When the two females moved aside to let her past without any hesitation, she stopped and gazed back at Dawn torn, before turning and running towards home. There was no way she would be there in time to get help, but she was going to try. She wouldn't abandon her friend without trying something - even if there was nothing she could do personally.

"Right then little bit, you can come quietly, or we can knock you out and carry you. It's your choice." The British sounding one stated, his eyes watching her like she was a particularly interesting specimen. He wasn't the only one - the blonde was watching her with interest too as was the rest of the group.

Dawn snorted. "What sort of choice is that? Besides, I make it a habit never to go anywhere with strangers and I don't even know your names. But seriously, that whole Billy Idol look? Please!"

The man scowled, before glancing over at the blonde fondly who shook her head with amusement. "Right little Spitfire we got here, hey?" He glanced at Dawn, the annoyance replaced with amusement. "I'm William, Blondie here is Anne, the whelp is Tony, the red head is Red and the cookies and milk person is Jen. So now you know our names, we're not strangers…"

He stopped and Dawn examined his expression curiously. It was almost a distant look, but strangely focused at the same time. Turning to look at the others she noticed they were all suddenly on alert too. The blonde, Anne, and William were both looking around, as if scenting the air. Dawn swallowed as the others moved closer in, forming a wall around her. Something was up.

"How many?" 'Tony' asked. The carefree - almost clownish - young man was gone replaced by someone who could quite easily be ex-black ops like her dad.

"I get at least eight but no more than fourteen." Anne stated, shifting into a stance that looked a strange mixture of relaxed and dangerous. It screamed confidence and Dawn was given the impression not to ever underestimate this woman before her. "You lot get Dawn out of here. William and me can take them."

Red frowned. "You sure? They're not like the usual minions - these ones actually want to live. They'll be more careful."

Anne glared at her. "The day I can't take twenty…" she paused and glanced at Dawn, her glare softening slightly. "We'll be fine. Go and get her somewhere safe."

William nodded, his eyes flashing golden for a second causing Dawn to take a step back with a small gasp of shock. Remembering her phone and the connection to the SGC, she choked out, "Your eyes… they flashed yellow."

The British sounding man nodded in a condescending man as if it was an everyday occurrence that she should be used to. "Of course they did bit, but don't worry I ain't interested in you."

Tony slapped him around the head and gained himself a disgruntled look. "Leave the kid alone…"

He was interrupted when eleven shadowy forms stepped out of the shadows. The leader moved forward, his voice a low growl. "Tell you what, you give us the Key, and we'll let you walk away. You be able to enjoy your last months of freedom before your world's crushed and after… well, maybe the Great Goddess Glorificus will let you fight in an arena for her amusement or something instead of just killing you out of hand…"

The blonde snorted. "Been there done that - so not fun. So you can tell your goddess to go to Hell… Oh! I forgot, she can't 'cause we have her precious little Key don't we?"

The leader growled in anger, his cocky attitude dropped. "Give us the Key and we'll let you all go free. This is your last warning."

"Little Dawn is staying with us. Go find someone else to destroy the world with." Tony commented off handedly taking Dawn by the shoulders and stepping back with her, Red and Jen flanking him and obviously prepared for a fight "We got her first."

Dawn twisted out of his grip angrily, glaring at them all. "The whole lot of you are nuts you know that? Just let m…" Anne glanced at her, then at Tony. Dawn had time to notice a fist swinging at her at impossible speeds before she collapsed into Tony's arms. She didn't even get a chance to finish her sentence. The last thing she saw was everything fading to black. She gave one last twist, but she was out of it before she could do anything. Her last thought was that she hoped Cassie was safe.