Title: Learn to Fly
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Fifth Element
Pairing: Dawn Summers/Korbin Dallas
Summary: Dawn was his right hand man. Woman. Person. He had a real hard time keeping that straight sometimes.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and seek no profit from this story.
Words: 2,222 (give or take some editing)
Distribution: Emerald Illusions
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Feedback: Yes, please.
Thanks to Elisabeth for the beta!
She was lively. She was full of fire and spunk and a hundred other adjectives Korbin could think of. Dawn Summers was everything he used to look for in a woman. She was beautiful. Lord, she was beautiful. And smart! He loved a smart woman. Especially one smart enough to know not to rub her intelligence in the faces of those less intelligent than she. Tall, too, this one. Her legs went on forever. Not to mention that she was the first partner he'd had since rejoining the Special Forces that he trusted. Really and truly actually trusted
. She always had his back and never doubted that he had hers. They were one hell of a team. They just worked well together. So well, in fact, that nearly everyone they knew thought they were sleeping together. How else, one very blunt general had said once, could a man and a woman work so in sync? How else could they anticipate each other's moves, needs, decisions without communicating out loud? But the truth was, he and Dawn were not sleeping together. Or . . . they were not having sex at any rate.
There had been more than one occasion where a job had forced them to share a bed. Been more than one occasion where he had woken up to a face full of her hair, forced to breathe in her intoxicating scent. Or worse. He'd once woken up spooned behind her, his front against her back, and she'd felt damn good. His cock had been so hard he could barely breathe, let alone even want to think about moving anywhere but closer to her. He'd made himself get out of bed, though. Forced himself into the shower before Dawn woke up. He'd jerked himself off hard and fast, doing his best to keep the image of wild red-orange hair and infectious smiles playing behind his eyelids. He'd failed, however, and came hard, braced against the shower wall, unable to keep Dawn's face out of his mind. Big blue eyes and long dark hair decorated his fantasy, and he was damn hard-pressed not to keep from her from hearing him. Later, he admitted for the first time that maybe, just maybe, he was moving on. That was the first time he admitted to moaning Dawn's name as he came, too.
He knew, or thought he knew, that she would not push him away if he approached her. Little touches here and there and soft gazes when she thought he wasn't watching alerted him to the idea that maybe she would be interested in something . . . more. There was just one problem. Dawn was not LeeLoo and never would be. Three years LeeLoo had been gone, four since they saved the world, and two since he met Dawn. Time flies, or so Korbin thought bitterly. The trouble with falling in love with someone so pure they could truly be called an element of the earth was that she was, in fact, an element. Cornelius had explained it all. LeeLoo was not human, nor was she alien. She was matter, energy, designed to fight the ultimate evil. She took physical form every five hundred years, a different form each time, Korbin thought, but she could not sustain that form for long. He had watched for a year as the woman he loved simply faded away. And, unlike cancer, there was no hope of remission. LeeLoo was gone. She was gone and he couldn't get her back.
Korbin had thrown himself back into work just a week after she . . . returned to her true form. Cornelius called it a suicide mission. Korbin called it therapy. Then, one year into his new assignment, she'd
walked into his life. He had despised her instantly, and he'd done so with every single ounce of his being. She was too skinny, for one thing. She didn't seem have enough muscle to get the job done. She was too girly, too prissy, too whiny; he could go on and on about what he'd thought of her at first. In fact, he spent the better part of a month taking bets on how long it would be before she was crying over a broken fingernail. She'd heard every bit of it, too. Took it all in stride, mostly, though he could tell that some of the things he said really got to her. Her skin was thick though, and she took the ribbing like a man. Possibly better than a lot of the men Korbin had known over the years. It wasn't until their unit was tested that he saw her true merit, though.
They came under heavy fire in the middle of the night, suddenly. The attack was completely without warning. They'd been camped in a secure location that turned out to be nowhere near secure enough. The man in charge of Dawn's outfit was killed almost immediately, and in the madness that followed, Korbin had barely been able to keep track of his own people, let alone someone else's. It wasn't until later that he found out what happened. Dawn had started barking orders left and right. She'd held her outfit together, kept most of them alive, and had cut through the enemy with a precision that many generals did not have. Korbin knew then that she'd fought before. He just didn't know when – or what - at that point.
She'd saved over half the unit that night, and Korbin had to admit that without her, he would have lost them. Somewhere between reaming his superiors for sending him into the field with green, untested rookies and the unit returning to base, Dawn was promoted. Korbin even went so far as to recommend for her to have a unit of her own. She moved up the ranks quickly, quicker than anyone he'd ever seen, and soon she'd been his right hand man. Woman. Person. He had a real hard time keeping that straight sometimes.
"Good holy hell, Dallas! Could you just shut up already? You're giving me a headache!"
Torn out of his thoughts by the very woman he'd been contemplating, he whipped his head around and glared at her. She wasn't looking back at him though, and that irritated him for some reason. She was staring out into space from the copilot's seat. "I haven't said a damn word since we left, Summers."
She did look at him then, rolling her eyes. "But you're thinking. Loudly. Jeez. You give the word brooding a whole new level of definition, ya know? Just watching you makes me tired."
Her tone was filled with annoyance, as though she had expected him to entertain her, and that just irritated him more. "You are such a girl sometimes!"
He'd said it harsher than he meant to. Much harsher. He watched her tense, watched her eyes harden. "Really? Wow. So observant of you, Korbin! I had no idea you even noticed!"
"Dawn-" There had been bad blood between them at first. A lot of it. That was no secret. Given his treatment of her when they first met . . . well, it was a wonder they were even able to be civil with each other. He'd resented her at first for being a woman doing a man's job, sure, but he'd resented her for a lot more than that, too. Her wit, her intelligence, her beauty . . . he resented her for making him realize there were still beautiful women in the world. He resented her for making him realize he might want to . . . be with one of those women someday. They had long since gotten past all that, but he knew it still bothered her occasionally, that he had once thought so lowly of her. And he knew it was a button he should never have pushed.
"Dawn." He had to try to smooth things over. He just had to.
Dawn shook her head, stood up. "I'm gonna go do . . . something."
Korbin sighed softly as she walked out of the cockpit. He really hadn't meant anything with that comment. It was just that, on a mission with a man, even a man sitting beside him for hours on end, he wasn't expected to talk. If he wanted to get lost in his thoughts, so be it. As long as his head was in the game when it mattered, a male partner didn't really care what you did in your downtime. But Dawn, she liked to talk. Not constantly, of course. Just more than a man would. It was something that had taken Korbin a long time to get used to. It had taken him even longer to open up to her.
She knew about LeeLoo, though. He had confessed it all, and he did mean all
, one night in a haze of drunken conversation that he would never be able to forget. She had listened to the story in its entirety, and then calmly, sweetly, told him that she was sorry for his loss. There was so much feeling in her words that he'd known
she'd lost someone, too. He just hadn't realized how deep that loss ran until she told him about herself in return.
Korbin hadn't wanted to believe it at first, but . . . who would make up something like that? Especially when she had the scars - and the nightmares - to back everything up. She had been ripped out of her world, out of the past, and transplanted into his. She didn't know why or how, just that it was what happened and that there was no changing how things were. Vampires, demons, the forces of evil . . . they'd taken over her world. She had lost everything, everyone, she loved. Family and friends, perfect strangers, her entire world. Dawn told him she'd been seconds away from certain death and then there'd been . . . nothing. She woke up in his world with a detailed memory of its history. She didn't lose a single one of the memories from her own world, though she confessed that she sometimes wished she had. It was hard, she told him, missing them, loving them, and not being able to tell anyone about them.
That he understood. He understood that with an all too perfect clarity. Life had been tough on both of them, and wasn't that just the understatement to end all understatements? She was like him. Strong. She just forgot that sometimes. Korbin unbuckled his seatbelt, set the autopilot, and headed off to find her. He'd said something he shouldn't have. The least he could do was apologize.
He found her in the cargo hold, sitting on a stack of boxes. She didn't look up when he walked in, but he could tell she knew he was there. He leaned against the doorway. "Hey."
"Don't you know a good storming out when you see one?"
"Honestly? I've seen better. I mean, there wasn't even any righteous huffing. I give it a seven."
He got a little smile out of her, but barely. Crossing the room, he sat down next to her. "I didn't mean it like it sounded."
She glanced over. "I know that. The way you said it, though. You . . . you said it just like you'd say it to any of the guys, you know? Like if they pissed you off. It just . . . it just rubbed me the wrong way, I guess. I wish you didn't think about me like you do everyone else. That's all."
Korbin blinked. She couldn't mean what he thought she did. "You think I think of you as one of the guys?"
He had not been expecting this particular line of conversation - at least not now. "Dawn."
"It's okay if you do, you know. I mean, I . . . you're my best friend Korbin, whether or not you want me to admit that. I just thought maybe . . ."
He reached out, turning her face toward his. "Maybe?"
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and pulled away. "Nothing. We've got, what, sixteen hours until we get to where we're going? Maybe I'll grab a nap."
She was hopping off the boxes and walking away before Korbin could truly process what was happening. He made his decision quickly, but he knew he wouldn't regret it. He was on his feet and following her, grabbing her arm and turning her around within seconds. "Maybe what, Dawn?"
There was so much emotion in her voice he could barely stand it. "Don't what? Don't kiss you like I want to? Don't drag you off to my bunk and show you exactly what I want to do with the sixteen hours we've got? What is it you don't want me to do?"
She blinked. Then blinked again. "Ohhh."
It wasn't a word so much as a sound, but it was enough for him. Korbin pulled her to him and kissed her hard, pouring every emotion he was feeling into the kiss. Dawn's arms wrapped around him, pulling him even closer, and she moaned softly into his mouth when his tongue teased her lips. Barely a taste and he was pulling away. "Do you want this?"
"More than anything."
He could see that in her eyes now, and had no idea how he'd missed it before. He dragged her back to him, and there was no hesitation in this kiss. He lifted her, and finally felt those long legs wrap around his body. He groaned and tightened his grip on her. There was no going back now. They both knew that. The sky was falling around them and their only choice was to jump and go with the flow. Somehow he knew that, this time, he wouldn't be hitting the ground.
This time . . . this time he'd learn to fly.