She wasn't sure how long she and her father, who was now inexplicably blue, sat cuddled on her mothers bed. She didn't notice the light fading behind the blinds, didn't notice the yelling that eventually dwindled into occasional shouts. What she did notice was when she was set back down on the bed. She scrambled out of the covers to kneel on the bed, her eyes wide, her long hair loose and tangled, her skin more pale than it should have been and still clutching the pig and the picture.
"Don't leave me," She pleaded quietly, staring at her father, her face devoid of the emotion her voice was dripping. Hank sighed and walked forward and gently placed one large hand on her cheek.
"Never again my darling girl," He promised before frowning briefly. "I do however need to answer natures call. The bathroom?" He asked. She blinked once and nodded toward the door, the expression on her face going vulnerable. Hank sat down beside her with a soft sigh. Dawn settled back on her knees, looking at his profile as he seemed to study the carpeting. The same lines were there ... just softened. Probably the fur she mused. When had he become furry? She reached out a hand and touched the fur again. Soft. Her father chuckled and turned toward her, a silent question in his eyes.
"I missed you so much," She told him, love and heartache in her eyes though her voice was soft and simple. He smiled.
"I missed my Angels too. Especially my little fairy girl." Dawn stood on her knees and leaned forward, pressing her forehead to her fathers.
"You missed a lot. You aren't allowed to miss any more," She whispered, staring into his gray eyes with her own clear blue. He smiled, flashing a bit of fang as he did so. Dawn couldn't stop the tiny smile on her face.
"Not one single day. You are coming with me," Hank promised. Dawn nodded and sat back.
"I'd better go tell the Scoobies," Dawn told him, ignoring his confused look as she stared at the door for a moment before turning back to him. "You, bathroom. I'll be downstairs," She informed him, her voice a little stronger as she squared her shoulders. He smiled at her back as she stomped out of the room, off to wage war with her friends. He wasn't sure he wanted to know why they were scoobies. He didn't want to find out if it meant something other than the cartoon dog that she and Buffy had been so enamored of.
Dawn had an objective. She marched down the stairs, heedless of her physical disarray, ready to take on everyone in the room. She hadn't been paying attention to her adopted family and had pretty much ignored the yelling. So now she had to find out what was going on and lay down the law. Which was a lot easier done in her head than facing actual people. Such as those now looking at her as she entered the room. With a quick squeak she turned and ran halfway up the stairs before taking a deep breath and forcing herself to enter the room again. This time she paused in the doorway unsure of where to begin. Or if she even needed to actually fight for what she wanted.
"I'm going with Dad," She figured that was a safe opening topic.
"Dawn, this is an important decision," Tara started before getting cut off by her girlfriend.
"Do you know how dangerous it's going to be for you? He's a mutant. An obvious mutant, not one of the 'hide the powers and treat them normal' types that blend. Hank Summers is non-blendy," Willow told the girl, worry on her face and a slightly guilty but more defensive look shot at the two that had accompanied her father.
"Hank McCoy," Dawn figured she'd start with the easiest misconception.
"Many bitter women change take their maiden names after splitting up with their former beloved. Most don't change their spawn's names as well," Anya commented, a questioning look on her face.
"A, I am SO not a spawn. B, ... the divorce was hard on mom," Dawn didn't say anything else, mostly because she still wasn't sure what she felt about her mother lying. If it was lying. She just couldn't imagine her mother doing something so drastic for something as mundane and petty as racism.
"Spawn is anything regarded as the offspring of a form of stock. That counts mammal, marsupial, amphibian, reptile, and various other kinds of creatures. It is the politically correct term for what we call a child in demon communities. After all, not all demons give birth using their own bodies," Anya huffed as everyone stared at her for a moment before Dawn caught their attention again. She wasn't sure what the two people that had come with her father would think of Anya's little rant, but she didn't feel like delving into demonic life at the moment.
"How will you react if it turns out I'm a mutant?" Dawn asked them all quietly.
"We can deal with that when it comes," Willow answered immediately.
"I need someone to take care of me," Dawn told them all.
"We aren't doing a good enough job?" The redhead asked, hurt in her tone. Tara patted her on the arm.
"No, we aren't," Anya replied emphatically. Xander raised an eyebrow at his girlfriend and opened his mouth but she gave him a hurt look that said she knew what he was going to say. He was upset that she had changed her mind about letting Dawn leave as soon as she knew that the blue guy was her father.
"Please, go on," Tara encouraged the blond former demon. Anya perked up, looking very pleased as she shot a knowing look at her boyfriend.
"She is a teenage girl who has lost most of her family. Most of the time we are helping each other through the grieving process. Look at us, our first goal is to protect our lover, not the child. We are ... well you are, but I am newly human so I too am falling under the same self-interest driven needs that the rest of you are. Though I haven't outgrown it as long as I have existed so I doubt it will ever pass. Maybe it comes from the time I was raised, or realized what a large multi-verse it is and what I can do with enough power. Or maybe I'm just selfish," Anya shrugged and looked around as people blinked at her.
"How old are you?" The man that had come with Hank questioned.
"A lady never answers that question," Anya retorted primly as Xander failed to hide his amused grin while pulling his girlfriend a little closer to him.
"Focus, please," Dawn demanded tiredly. She felt a large hand gently encircle each shoulder and she sighed in contentment as she leaned back on her only family member left alive. He'd come to her as soon as he'd known that she needed him.
"Dawn will be coming back with me to New York," Hank McCoy told the room firmly.
"Is that the safest thing for her?" Willow asked after a moment of silence. Sure, the group was used to fighting against adults and those that would like to see themselves in charge, but they weren't used to their parents caring, at least with the exception of Joyce.
"I don't know," Hank said honestly, "But I do know it's the best thing for her,"
"Please don't take this the wrong way ... but how can she be safe? It's crazy out there with the mutant hate groups and well, crazy people obsessed with murder because evidently WWII wasn't a good enough lesson for anyone," Willow answered, trying to make him see that Dawn would be best left with her and the rest of the scoobies. Lesbians were regarded better than Mutants, and no one really knew about the wicca thing.
"It is true that there are hate groups bent on genocide," The short white haired woman told them. Dawn noted that she really did have a pretty voice, "But there are other groups as well, groups trying to help the world."
"And then there's that Magneto guy making everything worse," Anya added disparagingly. "Honestly, you'd think he would realize that he's making things worse for himself by feeding the anti-mutant establishment more ammunition." The three members of the X-men all looked at her briefly, each of them slightly amused by her irritation with the man.
"Dawn just started high school, she'd be leaving her friends and teachers behind," Willow said, hoping that focusing on academics might make big blue man pause.
"I, as well as my two friends here, are teachers at a private school in Westchester, New York. It is a very good school and I am sure that Dawn will not have a problem making new friends," Hank informed them, smiling brightly and noting that no one seemed at all surprised or shocked by his fangs. Maybe they hadn't noticed them?
"What's the name of this school?" Anya wanted to know, she had looked up many schools, thinking that if she was to help be responsible for Joyce's spawn that he girl needed a better school than one that guarded a mouth to hell.
"Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngsters," Hank answered with a smaller smile. He was proud of the school and all of it's inhabitants. He was also proud that the public still did not know that it was safe harbor for mutants. Anya shrugged lightly, she didn't know about that one.
"Look, I get that you guys feel the need to talk about this and argue or whatever, but legally speaking, Dad is my guardian and I want to go with him. The only thing you guys have on him is that he's a mutant," Dawn looked at all of them before focusing on Willow first. "You're a Lesbian Wicca who was raised Jewish. You aren't going to play into the racism game are you? Dad came as soon as he knew about Mom and Buffy, he would have been here sooner, but you guys didn't tell him." She couldn't keep the accusatory look off her face or out of her voice, and Willow bit her lip a little as she leaned into the couch a little, not bothering to defend herself.
"She did what she thought was best," Tara defended her girlfriend.
"Well I'm doing what I know is best, I'm going with my dad," Dawn told them firmly, turning around and walking upstairs, deciding to start packing. Hank watched her walk upstairs, her hair snarled, her skin pale, her lips and chin set in mulish lines. That was his stubborn little girl. He turned back to the rest of the room, his fond smile transforming into a fierce look of protectiveness.
"I am a mutant, as are my two friends here. We are taking Dawn to Westchester. She will be in one of the safest places in the world. I will let no harm come to her, nor will anyone else there. You are welcome to visit during visiting times, which are by invitation and the dates are posted on our website. If Dawn is no longer upset with you we will enjoy your visit. She was right about my being her legal guardian. I have very good lawyers, so I wouldn't suggest you trying to gain custody of her. Not only are you basically her older siblings, you have no blood relation to her and you aren't doing all that great a job looking after her, you're just too young." He stopped and looked at them all.
"As for taking the kid by force, we can stop that too," Wolverine spoke up for the second time, the threat clear in his voice. The scoobies weren't cowed, but they weren't really sure what to do.
"Dawn wants to go with him, and the seem to be good people," Tara told her friends in her soft voice, offering a smile to Hank as she stood up and walked over to him. She held out a hand. "I'm Tara Maclay,"
"Enchanted," Hank told her, taking her hand and shaking it gently. She started a snowball effect that led to everyone being introduced.
"Hey Tara? Have you seen my happy bunny shirt?" Dawns voice shouted down the stairs. Tara smiled softly and walked over to the laundry room, pulling clothes out of the dryer and into a basket before taking it upstairs. She had decided to side with Dawn on this.