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Two Very Different Things

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Summary: entry for challenge 1634- the summer fic a thon. Dawn has a thing for Richie Ryan, but does he see her as more than just a kid?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Dawn-Centered > Pairing: Richie RyanevansFR1512,581031,39012 Sep 0612 Sep 06Yes
Disclaimer: I own none of the following characters or fandoms and I am not doing this for any profit.

Challenge #1634- the Summer Fic-A-Thon Challenge

Written for: lamia4227

Who Wants:
List Three Btvs/ Ats Major Characters: Dawn, Faith, Giles
List at Least Three of the above Genres That You'd Be Tickled to Receive: X-Men, Highlander, Charmed
List Three Things You Want in Your Fic: Uh, well, I don't rightly know. Do I really have to have an answer for this one?
List Three Things You Don't Want in Your Fic: Bitch Buffy, Super Xander, UberWitch Willow

A/N: There’s a little scene in here that I modeled after in a scene in the fourth (or fifth) season of Buffy. It’s where Riley and Buffy and Xander and Anya are having a date night and are watching a movie together. It just kind of struck me as funny, and served as inspiration.

Two Very Different Things

By: evans (a.k.a. Roswell428)

Dawn Summers grunted as she hit the ground, hard. “Ouch,” she grumbled as she got back up from the mat. “I don’t have that quick healing thing that you do.”

Richie Ryan just grinned at her unrepentantly. “You wanted to learn how to fight with a sword, so you’re learning to fight with a sword- with all it’s bumps and bruises.”

Dawn just glared at him. She sighed and began rubbing her bruised arm. Sure, it has seemed like a good idea at the time to learn how to sword fight, what with all the hanging out she’d been doing with immortals lately (as her sister was currently dating a certain Highlander with a reputation and all), but she hadn’t expected just how hard it would really be. Or just how bruised she would get, for that matter.

Surprisingly, Buffy had thought it was a good idea for Dawn to learn and then had promptly asked Richie to teach her. Which wasn’t that good of an idea, in Dawn’s own humble opinion. Sure, it meant that Dawn got to spend a lot of time with him, but it also meant she wasn’t focused on what she was doing half the time- which usually ended with her butt kissing the floor. She sighed again as she watched Richie taking a swig of water, with his back to her. Damn, but he had a fine ass.

Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to notice her in the same fashion. She was just ‘good old Dawn’ who was a ‘great kid.’ He hadn’t seemed to have even really noticed that she was of the female persuasion. And she was nineteen years old dammit- she was hardly a child.

He definitely didn’t have that problem about her sister. He had taken one look at Buffy and had practically drooled.. Of course, Buffy was off limits as she and Mac spent a lot of time behind closed doors, when they weren’t patrolling together. Which left Dawn at loose ends a lot, with Richie being the one keeping her company. And that only made her crush on him worse, as he went out of his way to make sure she wasn’t feeling lonely. It wasn’t that she begrudged her sister’s happiness or anything, she just wanted some of her own. She was tired of just being the little sister of the Slayer, and so had decided to learn how to fight- starting with sword fighting thanks to their new friends’ mastery of it.

And this had led to her current predicament. She had hoped that Richie might see her as more than just a buddy in all their time spent together, but it hadn’t happened. And what’s worse, was that she wasn’t really improving in her training at all, what with all of her attention being focused on him instead of the moves she was learning. She did really want to learn to be a good fighter and her stagnation had left her frustrated- on top of being bothered because of her Richie issues.

Richie moved back over to her and she got into a fighting stance.

He looked at her critically and then noted, “Your stance seems to have improved.”

She flushed with the praise, and then was knocked on her ass again as Richie, taking advantage of her distraction, moved too quickly for her to defend.

“You keep letting me surprise you, Dawn. You’ve got to watch what I’m doing. You can’t let me distract you- no matter what I say,” he said as he helped her up.

Dawn flushed again, this time with embarrassment.

“Ah, it’s okay, kid. Mac used to knock me on my ass plenty.” He grinned at her easily.

She grinned back. “He still does.” And then she dashed backwards as he playfully made a lunge for her. What she hadn’t counted on was tripping over the edge of the mat, and taking him down with her.

He fell on top of her, his face mere inches from her own. As she shifted beneath him, trying to adjust to his sudden weight, his face took on a strange expression.

“Dawn,” he breathed, a new light in his eyes, as he looked at her lips.

Just then the elevator door into the dojo burst open and Mac and Buffy stood there, both looking a little disheveled. “What’s going on in here?” Buffy asked, her eyes suspiciously taking in the scene.

Richie pulled them both up and then turned to face her sister in the doorway. “We were training when we tripped on the mat and fell.”

Duncan looked at them suspiciously as well, but all he said was, “Huh.”

Dawn’s adoration of Richie only grew in that moment. She knew he liked her sister and wouldn’t want to look like a clod in front of her, but regardless of that, he had said he tripped as well, so she wouldn’t feel like a total klutz in front of them.

She saw Buffy still looking at her strangely, so she said sarcastically, “What were you two doing anyway, like we don’t already know?”

Buffy turned pink. “Never mind. We just came to see if you guys wanted any dinner.”

Richie looked back at Dawn. “We’re at a good place to stop for the day, anyway. What did you have in mind,” he asked turning back to Buffy and Mac.

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The four ended up eating Chinese takeout and watching old kung fu movies in Duncan’s apartment. It was an interesting experience as both Buffy and Duncan kept critiquing every move the actors made- sometimes arguing vociferously with each other about it, but all in good fun. Even Richie piped up occasionally, adding comments like “the director should have at least hired someone who knew something about martial arts” and “that move would never really work- there’s a little thing I like to call gravity.” At which point, Buffy had turned on him and said that she had done that move successfully, thank you very much. Which started another heated debate on the fairness of the abilities of souped-up mystical warriors and whether an average person would be able to do the move in question.

All in all, Dawn ended up laughing hysterically several times, especially when Richie was shown exactly how well that move would work, by a smugly grinning Buffy.

Later, after Richie gave her a ride home on his motorcycle and dropped her off (as Buffy was once again staying over at Duncan’s) Dawn reflected that her life at the moment really couldn’t get any better. The only thing she could wish for, would be for Richie to see her as a woman and in the same light as she saw him.

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When Dawn woke, it was to the sounds of someone fumbling with the lock of the apartment. She leapt out of bed and grabbed the sword she had propped against the wall next to her night stand. (Years of being kidnaped thanks to being the sister of the Slayer had taught her the true value of caution at all times). She raced into the main room and waited breathlessly for the intruder to show himself. When he did, Dawn was prepared to take him down.

What she wasn’t prepared for, however, was to have a badly bleeding Richie stumble through the door. He just made it into the apartment before he collapsed.

Dawn dropped the sword and raced to catch him, but was pulled down with the dead weight of him. She looked him over quickly, trying to see where all the blood on his chest was coming from, as he seemed to be covered with it, but he interrupted her inspection.

“No point,” he choked out. “Mortal... wound.”

Dawn’s eyes closed painfully. She knew that he couldn’t really die permanently, unless he lost his head, but her heart felt as if it was being ripped to shreds at just seeing him like that.

She needed to know what had happened to him, if whatever had done it was still a threat, but realized it would have to wait until he’d come back. The only thing she could do in the meantime would be to make him as comfortable as possible until his body could heal itself. She cradled his head in her lap and stroked his hair reassuringly.

“Shh,” she breathed, “It’s okay, baby. You just rest.” Her eyes stared down into his, and he must have seen something astonishing in them, for his eyes widened marginally, before they closed and his struggle to breathe ended.

Even though she knew what he was, had had it explained to her and everything, it was still one of the most terrifying moments of her life- second really only to Buffy jumping from that Tower. (And second only because Richie was expected to return to life, while Buffy had not been). Because when it came down to it, being told that someone you cared about couldn’t permanently die and seeing it firsthand were two very different things. She felt as if her heart had frozen in her chest as she waited for him to wake back up. ‘Oh please, let him wake up. Please don’t let it all have been untrue. Please let him wake up.’ She repeated this mantra in her head over and over while she waited and watched him carefully for any signs of life. Because if he didn’t wake back up, she really didn’t know what she would do.

A sob of relief escaped her as his eyes suddenly flew back open and his chest started moving again. She scooted down and wrapped her arms tightly around him and began to sob in earnest on his chest. He lay there for a moment while he oriented himself and then he moved his arms around her and held her while she cried.

“It’s okay, Dawn. I’m alright. Really, it’s okay,” he told her soothingly.

Her sobs quieted and she pulled back so she could look at him, as she tried to make sure that he was in fact alright and that there were no lingering injuries.

“I really am fine. I mean, it wasn’t pleasant or anything, but there’s no lasting damage.”

She sighed with relief and burrowed back into his chest. “Oh, thank God. I know what you are and everything, but still...” She trailed off, unable to say it out loud.

“You thought you’d never see me alive again,” he finished for her.

She nodded unhappily and he tightened his arms around her. As emotionally drained as she was, the rational part of her (the part of her that she got from Buffy) knew that she had to find out what had happened to him, because whatever had done this to him could still be out there harming other people.

She moved back so she could look at him again. “What happened?”

“I was attacked by a couple of demons. They were scaly and they had these spikes that shot out of their arms.”

“Polgara demons,” she said quietly.

“Right. Anyway, they jumped me, but I managed to hold them off with my sword. I even was able to take down one of them, but then I slipped up and the other one shoved his spikes through my chest. I succeeded in beheading it while it’s spikes were stuck in me, but by then it was too late and I knew that I was about to die. I had to get someplace safe which is why I came banging in here. It was just... if I hadn’t been immortal, I never would have made it through that.”

She shivered at his tone but then something odd occurred to her. “What were you doing so near here? I mean, you couldn’t have made it very far after the attack since you were so badly hurt. So how close were you?”

He colored a bit and looked away. Dawn just looked at him in astonishment- was he blushing? “I...” He started and then he tried again. “I never really left after I dropped you off.”

“What! What were you doing all that time?”

“I was just sitting there, trying to think of what to say to you.”

“To me? About what?”

“About earlier.” If it was possible, he was even redder now. “About what ... uh, happened in training.”

“Oh,” she said, as she felt herself turning red as well. She began to extricate herself from his embrace. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t-“

“No,” he cut her off, reading her correctly, while tightening his hold on her. “No, I’m not sorry it happened. It opened my eyes to feelings I didn’t even know I had.”

“What feelings,” she asked around the lump in her throat.

“I really like you, Dawn,” he said with complete sincerity in his eyes and voice. “And so I was trying to figure out how to tell you that without scaring you off or ruining our friendship, when those demons jumped me and ruined my bike. But what gives me hope is what I saw in your eyes a few minutes ago...” he trailed off there, waiting for her response.

Dawn felt like she could explode with the emotional tumult she was feeling. First had been pain and terror, now there was happiness and love. And the feelings of love won out- rushing to the surface and overwhelming the feelings of emotional anguish she had felt only a few minutes ago. She moved as close to him as possible and kissed him, with all the blinding passion she felt. She put her whole soul into the kiss and felt it as he responded in kind.

When they broke apart a few minutes later, both were breathless but beaming.

He nuzzled her hair. “You never told me how you felt.”

She smirked at him. “Do I really have to, after that kiss?”

He chuckled and then she whispered against his lips, “I really like you, too.”

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The next morning Buffy and Duncan watched with raised eyebrows as Richie and Dawn walked into the dojo, hand in hand.

Buffy opened her mouth to say something, but then Duncan put his hand on her shoulder, stopping her. “I only have one question. Are you both happy with this?”

Both nodded and smiled brightly at each other.

Buffy took a closer look at Dawn. She was practically glowing. “Alright. I only have one thing to say as well.” She turned to Richie. “Hurt her and I get my shovel.”

Duncan only laughed while Richie gulped and the two Summers sisters grinned at each other.

The End

A/N 2: Also, I know that one of the gang (esp. Dawn) watching one of the Immortals die is a little cliche, but I couldn’t help it. It is usually done as a way of the Scooby finding out about the Immortals and their secret, but I thought I’d twist that a little here. Anyway, this was my take on it. Thanks for reading!

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