I don’t own Stargate SG1 or BTVS. No infringement is intended. Sadly, no profit will be made from this either.Chapter 2
A week later and Buffy had no more time to twiddle her thumbs. Unless she did so while she was sleeping.
Xander had left Tuesday morning, after making sure both Buffy and Dawn were alright with the college arrangements. Dawn, despite never being in any form of child-care other than being baby-sat by the Sunnydale gang, loved every minute of it. She finally had the chance to be a normal four-year old, playing with other kids her age.
And Buffy simply didn't have the time to complain. From day one, they were expected to do a lot of reading and other assignments outside their lectures. But, unlike the other students, Buffy had to spend time with her daughter in the afternoon. Only once Dawn was sound asleep did she have time for her course work. Luckily, she didn't need much sleep thanks to her slayerness and could work well into the night without suffering from sleep deprivation. Still, time management became more important than ever as her friends weren't available to baby-sit anymore.
At least the information on the demon population seemed right, so regular patrolling wasn't necessary. Still, finding someone to baby-sit Dawn for emergency situations might be helpful. She would have to think about it carefully. Especially if she wanted to check out the Air Force base anytime soon.
But now she had a daughter to tire out.
Parking the car – her driving skills somehow seemed to be dependent on the presence, or non-presence, of Dawn – Buffy quickly got out and released her daughter from her safety seat. Picking her up, the only way to keep her from running off towards the playground straight away, Buffy opened the trunk to get Dawn's ball, some food and some of her course work. You never knew, she might get lucky.
"Mommy!" Dawn protested, "Lemme down!"
Making sure the car was properly closed, Buffy blew a raspberry on her daughter's cheek. "Nope. You're my prisoner."
Giggling, Dawn squirmed until Buffy finally relented and set her down on the soft ground of the park. Squealing in delight, Dawn took off straight away, running across the grass towards the playground and straight to the swings. She'd just about managed to climb onto one when Buffy reached her and obediently pushed her up higher and higher. Or as high as she deemed safe for her daughter anyway.
So much for sitting down on a bench and read while Dawn played quietly in the sandbox. Not that Dawn ever did that, but she could still hope, right?
When Dawn got bored from swinging, she raced towards the seesaws where a boy of roughly her age was already pleading with his mom to let him have a go. Shaking her head at Dawnie who was quickly starting to chat both the boy and his mother up, Buffy followed her daughter at a more sedate pace. Smiling at the other woman, Buffy watched as Dawn climbed onto her seat and then held her steady up in the air while the boy, Nathan, was doing the same.
Unfortunately, Nathan and his mom where on their way home on the other side of the park so they didn't have much time. But Dawn, never tired of finding things to amuse herself with, remembered the ball and quickly coaxed Buffy into a game of catch. Giggling at every ball she missed, Dawn enjoyed running after it. To rescue it from lurking monsters, as she called it.
Buffy sighed, so much for keeping anything Slayer related from the little girl. Which wasn't easy considering that the only reason for Dawn's existence was Buffy being the Slayer in the first place. Judging by the number of times she had gotten kidnapped because of who her mother was, Buffy really sucked at that.
Closing her eyes for a moment at this painful thought, Buffy didn't realise she had thrown the ball with more force than usual. Or that it was rolling down a small hill without any intention of stopping to move soon. Only when her daughter's squeal of delight reached her ears did Buffy open her eyes again.
Meanwhile, Dawn was running as fast as her little legs would allow her after her favourite ball. Feeling herself going faster and faster she whooped happily. She loved
going fast! Eyes trained on her ball, she barely avoiding running straight into a young woman sitting on a blanket at the bottom of the small hill. "Oops!" Dawn giggled as she swerved to the side to avoid her.
Luckily her ball had stopped moving so she quickly caught up with it and picked it up. Looking up, she saw her mommy coming down the hill as well and quickly waved at her. Looking at the person she so narrowly avoided, Dawn decided to investigate.
"Hey," she greeted as soon as she was close enough.
Looking up from the book she was reading, the young woman looked surprised at the little girl in front of her. Where had she suddenly come from? Shrugging her shoulders, she probably was too absorbed in her book to be aware of her surroundings again, she replied smiling, "Hi."
Grinning a toothy smile, Dawn did something her mommy and aunts and uncles told her not to. She stepped into reaching distance of the young, brown-haired woman – and unceremoniously plopped down next to her. "Whatcha doing?"
Showing the little girl her book, she replied, "Reading."
Leaning closer, Dawn took a sceptical look at the book. No pictures. Huffing in disappointment, she turned the page and giggled at the picture of a funny looking little puppet on the next page. Intrigued by what she was seeing, Dawn tugged on the book until it slid from the woman's lap onto her own. Having a proper hold now, she started to skim through it and critically eyed any picture she could find.
Meanwhile, Buffy had reached the two as well. Looking sternly at her daughter, she called her name. "Dawn Celia Summers."
"Uh oh." Looking up, she smiled sheepishly at her mommy. Her full name never meant anything good. She suddenly remembered that she wasn't supposed to talk to strangers without her mommy or any of her family present. But some of the pictures in the book were so funny! She couldn't just leave now!
Sighing at her daughter's lack of guilt, she took a closer look at the woman beside her. So far, she'd only looked out for anything – movements or general behaviour – that could become dangerous to her daughter. But now she looked closer at her features. Recognising amusement at having her book stolen by a four-year old, Buffy let out a small sigh of relief.
Especially as she couldn't detect any evil vibes coming off of her. Slightly off ones, maybe. But evil ones, no.
Casually waving towards her daughter, Buffy said, "Sorry about the hijacking."
Smiling openly, she waved it off. "Trust me, this happens quite often in my family."
"Really?" Buffy asked sceptically, finally following the silent invitation to sit down. Leaning over, she moved the book so that she could see the title. Ignoring her daughter's protests, Buffy raised both eyebrows. "Roswell? Aliens?"
"Yep. My uncle thought it would be funny, but it's actually quite fascinating," she replied. "I'm Cassie, by the way."
Pointing towards Dawn, she said, "The mini-hijacker is Dawn, I'm Buffy." Watching closely for a reaction to her name, Buffy was pleased to see Cassie accepting it without feeling the need to make a stupid comment. "So, whatcha usually up to?"
Giving a heartfelt sigh, Cassie replied, "Enjoying the summer holidays before starting my final year in high-school."
"Summer holidays? Yeah, I think I heard about them. Somewhere," Buffy said with a far-away look in her eyes. "Always thought they were nothing but a rumour…"
Cassie couldn't help but giggle at the funny look on Buffy's face. "Nope. No rumour." Feeling mischievous herself, she added with twinkling eyes, "You know, sleeping in, no school or homework, meeting with friends for all the time, staying out late, spending endless hours in the mall."
At the last comment, Buffy actually whined. Quietly. Yet it was unmistakeably a whine. Laughing out loud, Cassie patted Buffy's shoulder in consolation. "I guess shopping is your weak point?" Cassie asked amused.
Without looking up, Dawn replied dryly, "Shoes." And went back to the pictures in her book.
"Hey!" Buffy pouted at her daughter's betrayal. "Everybody has the shoe-likies. Or should have, anyway."
"And needs shoes too," Cassie added with a commiserating nod. "Anyway, shoe-likies? Is that even a word?"
Furrowing her eye-brows, Buffy looked at Cassie. "Are you done with the fun-making of poor old Buffy?"
Grinning mischievously, Cassie conveniently forgot to answer but instead asked, "Old, huh?"
"Fine. Keep stabbing me. First the non-appreciation of my shoe-liking, now the age-picking." Still pouting, Buffy crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Next it's the missing out in the growth department thing."
"Naw. My mom's short too – and nevertheless scares me," Cassie said seriously. Winking at Buffy, she added grinning, "Sometimes."
Having heard enough, Buffy's stomach decided to have a word too – and rumbled loudly. Seeing Cassie's raised eyebrows and another comment on its way, Buffy shrugged her shoulders, "Time for the afternoon snack."
Looking up from the book, Dawn grinned, "Chocolate!"
"Apple," Buffy countered without batting an eyelash. Opening her bag, she took out a small food storage container and, after opening it, put it down between the three of them. Carefully leaning over, Dawn squealed. "Grapes!"
Saving Cassie's book from her daughter's lap, Buffy smiled at her enthusiasm. Taking a piece of apple for herself, she offered the mix of cut up apples and grapes to Cassie.
Once all the fruits were eaten, Dawn sweet-talked the two adults into another game of catch. Buffy told Cassie she didn't need to, but Cassie only readily agreed to play along. Dawn was fun to play with after all. When Dawn finally started to get tired, Buffy sighed in relief. Waving good-bye to Cassie, they left for her car.
Smiling, Buffy fondly looked at her now quietly walking daughter.
She had done it again.
Found herself a babysitter.
Well, if Cassie's mom agreed, that is.
--A/N: Thanks for all the reviews again! Babysitter problem solved. Well, mostly. Anyway, I figured I'll try to update weekly – with whatever I've got at that point as long as it makes sense. If you don't mind, that is ;).