Chapter 6 Sweat and food
A.N. Sorry it took so long, my life got in the way and I wasn´t happy with the chapter. Not quite satisfied even now. Well, let me know what you think, feedback is like a drug as I have discovered.
Dawn woke startled and panting heavily. She had dreamed of something that had invoked absolute terror in her but she could not remember what it was. Searching around the heaps of pillows she finally found her cell and groaned from the knowledge that it was only eight in the morning. It was obvious that sleep was not an agenda anymore and while on any weekday she would have welcomed the early awakening today was different. It was Saturday and that meant she wasn’t going in the store which meant she had to think of a way to spend her day.
From the day Dawn, with the help of Buffy and Giles, had purchased her shop she had led a quiet life. Her days and most parts of the nights were spent at the shop, which left her too exhausted to do much other than sleep and just lounge on weekends. Buffy scolded her for that lifestyle, she wanted the Key to live her life and enjoy her youth, but Dawn herself was quite happy with the simpleness, besides she got enough action when she visited her older sister once a month. It had become a tradition for her to close the store on every last Friday of the month and take a three day mini vacation to Haven- the new HQ of the Scooby Gang. Although vacation was kind of an overstatement since Buffy felt the need to make sure Dawn didn’t lose her form, which meant long hours of working out and sparring with either the Senior Slayer or one from the Junior ones.
Since yesterday night had as usually run past midnight and she generally didn’t consider herself a morning person, Dawn decided the proper course of action was a hot shower and large amounts of caffeine introduced to her system. She switched the coffee machine on and went to take a long hot shower.
Halfway through the third cup of tar-like coffee Dawn felt a surge of inspiration- workout. A proper workout would ensure that she could face Buffy the next weekend without once again having to hear her sister lecture her about the importance of being in shape. She would also be able to work out the tension she had felt since the night she had dusted one of those vamps. A little voice in the back of her head told her that on that same night she had also met someone she had referred to as tall, red and handsome, but she decided to ignore that particular voice.
Dawn had never had anything that could have been called a love-life, she hadn´t gotten the chance in Sunnyhell and in the years after that most of them had been too busy building up new lives to think about that. She had only started to think about the opposite sex after having lived in N.Y. for a year and a half, but hadn´t actually gotten around acting on those thoughts.
Half an hour later Dawn had found a gym a few houses down from hers and after putting on her earphones had started a workout which left quite a few people staring at her. It wasn’t unusual for a young woman to lift weights, run on the treadmill and give the punching bag some proper kicks, but it was fairly unusual for said young woman to spend hours on each activity.
About six hours later Dawn felt like she had had enough. Buffy would have been proud of her, not because of the workout- the Senior Slayer would have made her do more, but she had never spent this much time doing this on her own. Usually she got bored and gave up after the warm-up.
Feeling enjoyably worn out she went to pay for the time spent in the gym. The nice goth girl that had greeted her in the morning had been replaced by a guy that looked like he would prefer being in the gym rather then behind the counter. He looked up when Dawn approached the counter.
“Hey, I would like to pay up.”
“Um, yeah, what time did you get in; I think I must have missed you. Although how I could have missed a sight like you is beyond me.”
“No, you didn’t miss me, there was another person here in the morning, I think I checked in around ten.”
“Did you fall asleep in the sauna or something?”
“Well it is four o’clock in the afternoon, you telling me that you just spent six hours in gym?”
“Yeah, I only wanted to run the treadmill for an hour or so but I got into a nice rhythm so it was more like three hours.”
The guy looked totally perplexed. She couldn’t have been into growing muscle, although toned and quite defined, it was clear as day she wasn’t into growing them.
“You an Olympic athlete or something?”
“Nah, it was just a little workout.”
“Um, okay.” Feeling a complete loss at words he summed up the total and printed a check for her.
Dawn paid up and waved goodbye as she got out of the door. She thought about going home, but remembering that the insides of her refrigerator were completely devoid of anything edible, she decided to visit a grocery store before.
Having the craving for pasta, Dawn had just thrown a pack of spaghetti in her cart when her phone started ringing.
“Hi, it’s me.”
“Hey.” Dawns face broke into an involuntary smile upon hearing Hellboys voice. “What’s up?”
“Well, um… I wanted to ask you out for a coffee or a movie or something.”
“That’s nice, but I’m quite knackered and thought to stay at home…
“It´s okay, I get it, we could meet another time.” He said sounding clearly disappointed
“Would you let me finish my sentence? As I was saying, I thought to stay at home and cook pasta but since cooking for one and eating alone is as much fun one can have without actually having any then how about you come over to my place for dinner.”
“That sounds great. What time should I come over?” Hellboy asked, this time sounding much happier.
“Give me about an hour to tidy up the chaos I call home.”
“Okay, should I bring anything with me?”
“Um, I don’t know… maybe some beer to wash dinner down. I know people usually drink wine with that sort of food, but it gives me a headache.”
Hellboy grinned at that, beer was better than wine any day of the week as far as he was concerned “Okay, beer it is. By the way do you have a doorman or nosy neighbors I should watch out for?”
“Nope, just take the elevator to the top floor, my door is the only one there.”
“Ok, see you when I get there.”
Dawn looked at the one pack of spaghetti in her cart, thought about Hellboys size and added three more packs, just to be on the safe side. She quickly gathered all the other supplies she needed and headed to the register.
Having gathered up the various take-out cartons and other junk clattering various surfaces, she had just started to unpack her grocery bags when her cell rang.
“Hi Buff. What’s up?”
“Hey Dawnie. Just checking how you doing and stuff.”
“Peachy. You will never guess what I did today.”
“Um, you decided to live your life to the fullest and had multiple dates with many nice boys?”
“No. But I did have a proper workout.”
“Wow, I mean you never get past the warm-up when left to exercise on your own. I’m so proud.” Buffy said with a fake sniff like she was about to cry.
At that moment Dawns doorbell rang. “Um, it was nice talking to you and all but I gotta go, I´m having someone over for dinner and their at the door.”
“Way to go Dawnie, a dinner date. Who is it? Is it that demon guy you met the other day? Tell me all about it!”
“I told you he is at the door, so I don’t have any time to tell you anything.”
“It´s a guy, I knew it. Okay, I´ll let you go for now, but I will so want to hear all the details.”
“Bye, Buffy.” Dawn said disconnecting Buffy’s chatter.
She went over to the door and opened it, finding Hellboy holding a six-pack and a rose.
“Don’t get any wrong ideas. The rose is from Abe, he is very grateful for your generous offer to help him research him.”
Dawn made a show of sighing with relief “Phew, you got me worried there for a moment. I feared you had gone and picked up some manners.”
“Hey, I ain´t that bad. I brought beer, didn’t I.”
“So you did.” Dawn held open the door to let him in. Even though she was quite sure he couldn’t be a vamp, she had learned her lesson not to invite anyone in.
Hellboy stepped in and looked around “Nice place.”
“Thanks. You can hang you coat there” She said indicating to a hanger on the wall by the door. Heading back to the kitchen she called out “You can put the beer in the fridge and then give me a hand with making dinner.”
Hellboy did as instructed and after putting the beer in the fridge leaned on the counter, watching Dawn intently. After a few minutes of being scrutinized Dawn sighed “What?”
He raised his brows and tried to look like he didn’t know what she was talking about.
“You want to ask me something. “
“Yeah I do, how did you know?”
“Call it a woman thing. So ask away then.”
“What was that before? When I was standing on the door and you told me to get in without actually telling me to come in.”
Dawn looked a little puzzled. “You do know about vampires, don’t you?”
“Well we know that they can be killed by removing their heads from their bodies and then they turn to dust, but not much more. They didn’t start to show up until lately, so we haven’t gathered much intel about them yet.”
Dawns look of puzzlement had turned into flat out shock. “Are you serious?”
Hellboy looked a little self-conscious “Yes.”
“First off: beheading vamps is only one way of killing them, staking is much simpler and for repelling them you can use crosses or holy- water and one must not forget sunlight the instant vamp-be-gone solution. And FYI vamps have been around for a long, LONG time. Longer than any written history.”
The red key looked at the green one with something resembling awe “How is it that you know so much about those bloodsuckers?”
“Um… It comes with the job?”
“Uh-huh and how did someone as nice as you stumble on a job like that? I mean you feel a little too comfortable around demons and other supernatural things for my liking.”
“It´s a long story that I´m afraid I cannot share.”
“So that’s what you meant when you said you get the secrecy thing?” he said, looking a little hurt.
Dawn stepped a little closer to put a hand on his shoulder “Please don´t take it personally, I just can´t talk about this. There are big secrets involved and most of them are not mine to share.”
Even if he had wanted to, he couldn´t have been upset with her, not when she was so close to him. He looked straight into her eyes and felt like he was sinking. “It´s okay, if you can´t tell me, then you can´t tell me.”
In all her 22 years Dawn had not felt the kind of heat his eyes were making her feel. She vaguely remembered Faith saying something about a good low down tickle that she thought she now understood. Acknowledging to herself that she was dealing with a relative stranger and a demon on top of that made her cool down a little “Okay, so let´s get it on. The dinner is not going to cook itself, you know.”
Both of them had noticed the double meaning in her words and both of them tried very hard to keep their minds on the task at hand.
“You have got to tell me what to do though; I have never done this before.” He said, thinking of the cooking. Mostly.
Hellboy followed her instructions and they started preparing the meal, working together seamlessly while chatting over their day, Hellboys cats and other casual topics.
“That was absolutely delicious” he exclaimed after having finished his fifth helping. Dawn had gotten full pretty quickly and had watched the amazing sight that was Hellboy eating. She was glad she had bought the extra amounts of food; he ate like three slayers combined.
“You finished?” she asked with a smile and seeing him nod started to clean up the table.
“Hey, let me help. I should, after eating all your food. Besides you did most of the cooking, too.”
Dawn looked at him with astonishment “Are you absolutely sure you didn’t pick up manners from somewhere, maybe rubbing up against Abe or something?”
“Well if you don’t want me to help…”
“No, no I´d love it if you help out. It just a little surprising you offering, usually I´m lucky to even get a thank you for the dinner.”
“You’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd then.”
They had gathered up all their dishes and Dawn had started washing, while Hellboy did the drying.
“So where is that house full of people you used to cook for?”
“They live in Cleveland. It´s a long story involving freak accidents, racing with a school bus and stuff, but now they live in Cleveland, a town called Haven. ”
“It is. My sister Buffy runs a boarding school for girls there.” She said not wanting to go into details.
“Buffy?” he said with one brow raised and a huge grin plastered on his face.
“Yeah, that’s her name. And before you get any bright ideas, I am the only on allowed to make fun of it.”
“Oh come on, how can one not make fun of a name like that?”
“You better not or you will be sorry.”
“Oh yeah and what are you gonna do about it?”
“This” While bickering Dawn had filled the glass in her hand and now emptied the contents on Hellboy who got completely drenched. For a moment she got to appreciate the way his shirt cling to his abs. Until she realized he was about to retaliate. “Oh no, you won’t. There will be no splashing of water in my kitchen.”
Hellboy stopped in his tracks. “Fine. Where is your bathroom then?”
“You can use any towel you want, I changed them all earlier.” She said as she pointed towards her bathroom. But instead of going to the bathroom like she had expected, he looked at her with a mischievous grin. Realizing he was up to no good she tried to run, but he had swung her over his shoulder in the blink of an eye.
“Oh you are so gonna get it.” He said while tickling her ribs.
Dawn tried to object, but it was hard to do while giggling like a maniac and before she knew it, she had been put in the bathtub and Hellboy had turned on the cold water. The redhead shrieked and tried to get out of the tub but was held firmly in place.
“That’s what you get for splashing around with water” he said laughing aloud.
Since she wasn’t getting out of there, Dawn reached for the shower head and turned the jet towards Hellboy.
He jumped away with lightning speed “That was totally uncalled for.”
Dawn had turned the water off but held the shower head in one hand and the other one near the knob, ready to strike again. “Putting me under the shower was uncalled for, I just reacted.”
“Well I reacted on you splashing on water on me.”
“By putting me under the shower? How does that compare?”
“Hey, you were the on who said no splashing in the kitchen. And once I had you in the tub, turning the shower on seemed like the next logical step. Although warm water might have been a better idea” he added noticing that her lips had taken a blue tinge and she was shivering violently. “Truce?”
“O-okay” dropping the shower head out of her hands she started climbing out of the tub. The water had really been ice cold and now she was shaking so badly that getting out of the tub seemed like quite a feat. Suddenly she was enveloped in one of her big towels, lifted out of the tub and carried to the living room, where Hellboy sat on the couch holding her in his lap.
“H-hey, you´ll r-ruin my couch like t-that.”
“Nah, I’m already dry”
“H-how did you d-do that?” She asked shivering less but teeth still clacking.
“As far as I have figured it degrees drop and my body temperature rises. I never get cold.”
“That´s s-so cool.”
Hellboy had held her for a few moments when the cold subsided and pleasant warmness came instead. It was then when she noticed the fact that she was very snuggly in his lap. She blushed and started to rise “Oh no, you ain´t going anywhere until you´re dry. You don’t want to get a cold, do you?”
Dawn shook her head.
“There you go, then you´ll stay put until you´re nice and dry.” He reached a little, got the remote and turned on the TV. “Ooh, I love that movie.”
A little dumbstruck at the sudden change in topic, Dawn looked at the screen. She smiled seeing that the movie in question was “10 things I hate about you”, it was one of her favorites, too. Leaning her head on Hellboys broad shoulder, she got comfortable to watch to movie and fell asleep within five minutes. Hellboy followed her example about ten minutes later.