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Dawning Light: Talks? Bad

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This story is No. 10 in the series "Dawning Light". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Anita wasn't quite sure what to expect when Dawn said she wanted to talk... it certainly wasn't "The Talk". (A Dawning Light missing scene)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Dawn-Centered(Past Donor)MhalachaiFR1311,9684309,2613 Mar 073 Mar 07Yes
Dawning Light Missing Scene: Talks? Bad
A Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Anita Blake crossover
by Mhalachai


Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Anita Blake belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton. No profit has been made from this fic.

~~~~~

"Anita?" Dawn called as Anita walked in the front door. "Can we talk?"

"Huh?" Anita wrestled with simultaneously kicking off her shoes, putting down her purse and stumbling towards the living room. "About what?"

"Come in here and I'll tell you."

Giving one shoe a final nudge, Anita tripped over her gym bag and arrived at a headlong rush in the living room. "Hi, Dawn."

"Hi." Dawn set aside her book and folded her hands in her lap. She had a very serious expression her face. The fact that her legs were sticking out straight on the couch only detracted a little from her intensity. "Sit down."

Anita frowned. "Is everything okay?" she asked, sitting next to Dawn on the couch. She dropped a kiss onto Dawn's head. "You're okay?"

"I'm okay." Dawn patted Anita's knee. "But we have to talk."

"Sure thing." Anita sat back. "What do we need to talk about?"

Dawn looked up at Anita, face deceptively innocent. "Sex."

Anita blinked. And blinked again.

"Now that you and Richard are dating, again, we need to get some things straight," Dawn continued calmly. "You're having sex, right?"

Anita started to hyperventilate at hearing Dawn say sex. "Dawn, I'm not talking about this with you!"

"Yes, you are." Dawn gave a nod. "Are you on birth control?"

For the first time since learning how to talk, Anita was speechless.

"Because we don't want any little Richards running around, do we?" Dawn wrinkled her nose. "Little Richards. That's funny."

"Dawn!"

"We don't!"

"Dawn! Oh my God, stop!" Anita shot to her feet. "You need to stop talking! What are you talking about? You're seven! We can't talk about these kinds of things until you're thirty!"

"But you are on the Pill, right?" Dawn pressed. "I'd have gone through the prescriptions but Micah told me I wasn't allowed to play with the bottles after the Tylenol incident."

"Replacing the painkillers with gobstoppers wasn't funny," Anita said automatically, pacing back and forth. "Did Jason put you up to this?"

"No one put me up to this," Dawn said, the beginnings of a scowl on her face. "But you're not going to do anything stupid with Richard, are you?"

Anita came to a halt mid-step. "Dawn--"

"Because we had everything working!" The scowl grew. "You and me and Nathaniel and Micah and Jean-Claude and everyone, we were working fine! But you're going to mess everything up with Richard."

"Dawn, this is none of your business!" Anita exclaimed. "My relationship with Richard is just that, my relationship! It's not going to impact anyone here, not you, not Micah or Nathaniel!"

"Do you love him?"

Anita crossed her arms over her chest. "Dawn, I'm only going to say this once. This is none of your business."

"You do love him." Dawn slid off the couch, glaring at Anita. "But you don't really like him, and that's not right. You're supposed to like the people you love."

Suddenly feeling very old, Anita rubbed her hand over her eyes. "Dawn, I can't talk about this right now."

"You like everyone else," Dawn said stubbornly. "You watch TV with Nathaniel and he rubs your feet, and you go to my baseball games with Micah and we all have fun. We even go out with dinner with Jean-Claude and he lets me get ice cream with strawberry and chocolate sauce and you and me share it and Jean-Claude likes it!" Dawn's voice rose with every word. "But there hasn't been a single time in the last two years that I've been around you and Richard when you've been thinking that you like him!"

"Dawn--"

"And that's why you have to be on the Pill!" Dawn shrieked. "Because when you and Richard break up again, which always happens, if you have a baby then everything's going to get messed up and ugly and the kid's going to be batted around like a beach ball that no one wants but that they shove in a corner in the basement and it gets all dusty and loses air and then the next summer someone drags it out and tries to pump it up with air but it pops and then they buy a new beach ball and throw out the old one!"

With that, Dawn tore out of the room and up the stairs.

Anita knew she had to go after Dawn, to figure out what the hell had prompted the outburst, but all she could do was sink onto the couch and bury her head in her hands.

She had really thought she'd planned for everything with Richard. They'd been getting along well, and had talked about it, and decided to try dating again. It had been a few years since they'd given it a go...

She loved Richard.

But did she like Richard?

Tears pricked at her eyelids. She wanted to make this work. Her life, with Micah and Nathaniel and Jean-Claude and Asher and Damian... all with Dawn. Dawn loved each and every one of the guys in her own way, even Damian. But Dawn had never gotten along with Richard. Not after that horrible Christmas--

Anita shook her head. She wasn't going to think about that disaster now.

At the back of her mind, she knew what was wrong, but she didn't want to admit it. She'd worked so hard to get back together with Richard, had thought she'd worked everything out. But she hadn't factored Dawn into it.

Soft steps interrupted Anita's tortured thoughts. She glanced up to see Nathaniel standing in the doorway from the kitchen. "Was Dawn shouting?" he asked.

Anita stood up, arms crossed uncertainly across her chest. "She's upset."

"About what? Is everything okay?" Nathaniel asked, eyes wide.

Anita looked up at him, a sharp retort on her lips, but the words died on her lips. She stood up and crossed the room. Putting her arms around Nathaniel, she hugged him tight. "No, it's not," she whispered against his neck. Nathaniel hugged her back, a solid vanilla-scented embrace that Anita wouldn't have given up for anything in the world. "And I don't know if I can make it okay, but I have to try."

~~~

Dawn was lying on her bed in her darkened bedroom, back to the open door, when Anita knocked. "Can I come in?" Anita asked.

Dawn didn't move.

"Okay..." Anita slipped into the room. She sat on the edge of the bed. "Do you want to tell me what that was about?"

"No."

Anita sighed as she touched Dawn's shoulder. "Come here."

Reluctantly, Dawn sat up. When Anita saw that Dawn was holding Sigmund the stuffed penguin, she felt even worse. Dawn always kept Sigmund on the bedside table unless she was sick, or feeling very bad. Sigmund had been on the table for five months straight... until today.

Anita pulled Dawn onto her lap, smoothing the girl's hair off her face. Dawn's cheeks were wet with tears and she was sniffling, holding Sigmund in a death-grip. Anita didn't say anything, just sat there rocking Dawn gently.

Gradually, Dawn stopped crying, but she didn't move away from Anita or loosen her hold on Sigmund.

"You are not a beach ball," Anita said softly. "How long have you been thinking about this? About what you asked downstairs?"

Dawn wiped her nose on her sleeve. "A couple of weeks," she said, the tremor of tears still in her voice.

"Why didn't you say anything before now?"

Dawn shrugged. "Thought you'd be mad. Which you were." The faint hint of accusation was clear to Anita's ears.

"I was surprised, Dawn, not mad. You know I'm never mad at you, even when I sound like I am."

"I know." Dawn sniffled again. "I won't be mad, if you have a baby with Richard."

Not for the first time that day, Anita wished Dawn was a grown-up so they could have this conversation the right way. But she swallowed her defensive annoyance. "I'm not having a baby with Richard, or anyone," she said. "And I'm not leaving you or Micah or Nathaniel. Nothing could take me away from you guys. You're my family and family sticks together."

"But you could," Dawn said. She shifted in Anita's arms to look at up the woman. Her big eyes were so solemn. "Have a baby."

"Dawn..."

"I wouldn't get in the way," Dawn continued quickly. "I could help, and pick up after myself more, and everything."

"Dawn, stop." Anita gently took Sigmund out of Dawn's hands. "I'm not going to be having a baby. Not with anyone."

"Oh." Dawn rested her head on Anita's shoulder. "Are you sure?"

"I'm sure." Anita made Sigmund dance on the bedspread, until Dawn smiled faintly. "But even if I had a baby, even if I had ten babies, that wouldn't change that we love you. You're a part of this family forever, you know that."

Dawn reached for Sigmund again. After pulling the toy tight against her stomach, she said, "I know."

"Good."

"But you still don't like Richard."

Anita resisted the urge to sigh. "Let's not talk about Richard, please?"

"Fine." Dawn gave Sigmund a final squeeze, then slipped off Anita's lap to put the toy on the bedside table before giving Anita a big hug. "We'll agree to disagree."

Anita rolled her eyes. "We're talking about it again."

"No, we're talking about us," Dawn argued. "We always disagree on things. Like if I should be able to drink coffee. Or that strawberry ice cream on toast is a proper breakfast."

"Strawberry ice cream on anything isn't a proper meal of any sort, and you know that." Anita snapped her fingers. "Micah's going to be home in a few hours, how about we go make a big family dinner?"

Dawn ducked her head. "I don't know..."

"It'll be fun," Anita said. "We can make anything you want."

Dawn looked up though her lashes. "Can we make lasagna?"

"Of course."

Dawn jumped off the bed and held out her hand. "Come on, we gotta go tell Nathaniel," she instructed. "Otherwise he'll start making dinner and there won't be any gooey cheesy goodness."

Anita took Dawn's hand. As they were walking down the stairs, Anita said, "And while we're making dinner you can tell me exactly why you scared the heck out of me by saying we were going to have that talk."

"The sex talk?" Dawn rolled her eyes. "I'm not a little kid, Anita, I know about human reproduction."

"How, exactly?" Anita asked, trying to have this conversation without exhibiting any signs of adult horror.

"Oh, I don't know, like my biology books?" Dawn snorted as they walked into the kitchen. "The last time I was over there, Sarah Zerbrowski was saying that babies get made when the mother eats too many pickles. So I had to correct her."

Anita stopped dead. "You told Zerbrowksi's seven-year-old daughter where babies come from?" she demanded. "He's going to kill me!"

"As if," Dawn scoffed. She let go of Anita's hand and skipped across the kitchen to the pantry. "Just because a woman eats pickles when she's pregnant doesn't mean that eating pickles makes you pregnant. Correlation isn't causation. Help me get the pasta sauce."

While Anita tried to decide if the developing headache was an early indication of a stroke, Nathaniel walked into the kitchen. "Hey," he said, touching Anita's waist on the way past. "Did I miss anything?"

"Nope," Dawn said before Anita could speak. "Help me, we're making lasagna."

Anita shook her head. "I need to lie down."

"Nice try! Dinner was your idea! We need help!"

"That's for sure," Anita muttered.

"Hey!"

end

The End

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