Disclaimer. See Prologue for full version. Only the plot is mine…
What a difference a day makes.
Paris. Friday, 22nd April, 2005.
Dan felt more and more refreshed as the sun climbed higher in the sky. Not that he’d felt lethargic before, the sunshine just made him feel, energised. Maybe it was to do with his being thrown into the grail portal. Maybe it was partly to do with his companion. They’d walked along the banks of the Seine talking about their respective experiences, Buffy told him everything that the Guardian had said to them, and they speculated about the possibilities, cross referencing with what Whistler had told Dan.
“So in a nutshell, they didn’t know what the power source might do to me.” Said Dan.
She shook her head. “Nope. All very crypticky.”
“Well, I can already stop bullets, and vampires can’t seem to be able to bite me. So I might be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or shoot spider webbing from my wrists for all we know.. “ He joked.
Buffy gave him a sideways look. “That’s not funny. Imagine shooting that stuff all over me accidentally in the middle of a fight, all sticky and…....I can’t believe I just said that.” She said, blushing with embarrassment. She saw his huge grin and playfully tapped his arm. “Behave.”
“I’m always good. Good at all I do.” He replied, still grinning.
She giggled and leaned in to kiss him. ”Modest much.” She said.
He pulled back, hesitating. “There’s a couple of things I really do need to discuss with you though.” He said, gently.
“Well, we’re here, and we’re walking, and talking, so shoot.” She said, gazing into his eyes.
“How will this affect us. You and me. This ….. relationship. If the power, vortex, whatever it was, did something to me, changed me in some way, how do we deal with it? How do I deal with it? I don’t think this was quite what Whistler had in mind when he said I was the ‘normal‘ you needed.” He said.
She planted a kiss on his lips, and followed it with her index finger, stopping his flow. “Nuh huh, Whistler can’t be a hundred per cent right. I won’t allow it. I like playing with their moves, it gives me purpose in life.” She paused, “Anyway, we don’t know how it’s altered you,…… or even if it did, yet. So we do the crossing of the bridges as and when we get there, Ok. Now next question.”
“He took a breath. “It’s Dawn.” He said.
Buffy looked back up at him sharply. “What about Dawn, is she in troub……”
He shook his head, halting her comment. “No. I don’t think so. It’s just that when I came to, last night, when I looked at her, it was as though she wasn’t there, but she was, and there was a greenish glow around her. Then when I looked again it was gone. Is she alright?”
Buffy gave a sigh of her own. She looked around to make sure there was no-one in earshot. “I think we just might have got a handle on what your ‘enhancement’ might be.“ She said. She paused. “You remember me telling you about Glory, and the key that opened the dimensions.”
“Yes.” He said.
“Well.” She sighed. “It’s Dawn ……. Dawn’s the key. But you can’t tell anyone. Other than Dawn; there are only four people alive who know this, well five now, with you. She wasn’t always there, not as my sister anyway.”
Dan listened as Buffy related the key’s history, the fact that they had always thought that using the key was a one off deal; until the Guardians message the previous night that she still needed protection.
“And here’s me concerned about what the after effects of last night might do to our relationship. How did she take it?” He said.
“It was bad when she first found out. She kinda went of the rails, cutting herself and she became a total klepto; you couldn’t leave anything lying around.”
“She seems alright now. Isn’t she?” He said trying to gauge her look.
“She’s fine. Totally got a handle on it. I’m the one with the letting go issues. Willow thinks that the reason that I need to be fairly close to her, to see her regularly, is because of the spell;………and the fact that they made her from me. So, you see, she’s more than just a sister.”
“She’s part of you. More like a daughter.” He said, following her line of thought.
“Does that freak you out?” She asked.
He shook his head. “After the things I’ve experienced this week. Not a chance.” He said. “Anyway, as you said; whatever comes we’ll deal with it. Now. Enough with questions and explanations, how are your cuts and bruises. Do you need to see a doctor?”
She put a hand to her mouth to examine her split lip. “Actually it feels pretty good. Dawn’s first aid must be getting better.”
He looked closely at the lip, then kissed it gently. “It’s almost healed. I know you said you heal fast but that was messy last night and now it’s almost gone.”
“Wow. I don’t usually heal that fast? A couple of days for this type of injury is usual, not a few hours.” She said. She felt her side where the blast from Caleb’s energy ball had caught her.. That too was nothing but a fading scar
“Perhaps it’s all part of the new improved you package, faster healing, quicker reflexes, stronger; and that thing you did where those vamps didn’t see us was amazing.” He said.
“Maybe?” She said, shrugging. “Just part of the weirdness that is my life.”
He looked around. They’d wandered away from the river and were walking through the side streets There were several hotels and some café’s here. A couple came out of the hotel adjacent to them went to a nearby Brassiere.
“You hungry, or tired?” He asked.
“I’m a slayer, we’re always hungry.” She said. “Not really tired, though. You wanna get breakfast?”
“Brilliant plan, though I’m willing to bet that all we can get is croissants and coffee.” He said. “How’s your French.”
“I do a little Italian, mainly food ordering. Dawn’s the linguist in the family. I got the bad guy killin’ super strength.” She said, intuitively.
“I don’t think they’ll appreciate us trying to order in Italian, and my languages are crap too. Oh well, here goes.” He sighed.
They sat down and a middle aged waiter in a white apron came to take their order. Dan took a deep breath.
“Deux, petits dejuners. S’il vous plait.” He said, in his best school French, but it still had that ‘I’m a tourist’ sound to it. Dan felt impressed with himself when the waiter answered.
The waiter rattled of a couple of sentences so fast that Buffy wondered if he’d actually taken a breath. Dan’s face looked shocked for a moment. Then he blinked, smiled, and gave the appropriate answer. There followed a short discussion between the two, a little hand gesturing, and the waiter indicated at Buffy. Dan nodded and rattled a few more sentences out. The waiter made another comment and Dan grinned at him but shook his head at what was obviously a joke and the waiter spoke few more words.
“Merci beaucoup.” Finished Dan. That bit Buffy understood.
The waiter left to get whatever they had been discussing. Dan still smiling, looked at Buffy’s perplexed look.
“What? Did I get it wrong?” He asked. The smile faded from his face
“I wouldn’t know, I didn’t understand a word. I thought you said you didn’t speak French?” She said.
“I don’t. We were lucky, he spoke English.” Said Dan, frowning.
“I didn’t hear a word of English, I only heard French.” She said.
Now it was Dan’s turn to look puzzled. “Are you sure?”
“Definitely. And you spoke perfect French, or at least he understood what you said.” She replied.
“I don’t get it. Honest, Buffy we were speaking to each other just as I’m speaking to you now.” He said.
“Ok, when he comes back, ask him.” She said, pointedly.
The waiter returned with two trays one was a large tray of assorted croissants, pain au raisins, and pains chocolats. The other bore the milky coffee, and the largest cups Buffy had ever seen.
Dan was about to ask him when Buffy butted in.
“Excuse me. Do you speak English?”
The waiter looked at her as if she was from another planet. He glanced at Dan, then back to Buffy. “J’ m’excuse. Ne comprends pas.” He rattled of a sentence at Dan, who replied in French.
He looked back at Buffy. With a slight shrug, he shook his head and said slowly. “Non, je ne parle pas anglais.”
Buffy looked at Dan. “Are you teasing me?”
Dan looked surprised. “No, I wouldn’t do that. Buffy , I don’t know how, but I understand every word he says, just a though he’s speaking English!”
Dan spoke to the waiter apologising, who shrugged and left. Dan put his hands behind his head, took a breath and leaned back in his chair....... Too far. It overbalanced and he fell backwards onto the pavement. The man from the couple who had sat at the next table got up and helped him up. He spoke to Dan in whatever his native tongue was, it sounded like Russian to Buffy. Dan collected himself, blinked, and apologised in the same language.
“You did it again.” Remarked Buffy. “Dan gave her a puzzled look, then the man, and asked him a question.
The reply came back and Dan looked at Buffy. “He’s Polish. What’s going on? I definitely don’t speak Polish.”
“Yiss you do, iss werry gut.” Offered the man in broken English. Dan sat down with a bump.
The woman whispered something to the man and the couple shrugged at one another. The man asked Dan another question, again in Polish. Dan answered, and the woman gave a giggle.
”what was all that about?” She asked.
“You don’t want to know.” He replied.
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Colour me inquisitive. Tell me!”
“They asked the same question as the waiter actually.” He said, indicating o the huge pile of breakfast breads.
“And that would be?”
Dan sighed. “They wanted to know if you’re eating for two.”
“’Scuse me?” Said Buffy, warily.
“The asked if you were..……. pregnant.” Said Dan, sheepishly.
End of Chapter One.