Disclaimer: I own nothing. BtVS & all its characters belong to Joss Whedon & Co. NCIS belongs to Donald Bellisario & the people at CBS. I own nothing but the ideas in my head.
A/N: Small parts edited to fit the main fic
“You really hate your father, don’t you?” Dawn Summers asked quietly.
“No, why would you think that?” Ari Haswari frowned, that charming, suave look that made her heart go pitter-patter when they first met. Now she knew that look to be what it was, just an act to go with the charming, sweet persona that he presented to the world. He could be charming, when need be. He was rather good at it, but at the same time, there was just something so dark about him that frankly scared the shit out of her. At times, he reminded her of Angelus, right after he lost his soul but was pretending to be good.
“I have daddy issues, you know with my real dad not trying to find me and my pseudo-replacement father walking away without a second thought.” Dawn wiggled herself on his lap, whimpering when he grabbed her hips to settle her movements. “Ari.”
“Shh, my love,” Ari murmured, on large hand threading through her hair while the other moved to the small of her back, pressing her body more against his. Like always, when she brought up his family, especially his father, he changed the subject, most of the time distracting her with sex. And being barely eighteen and new to the sex thing, it was very easy for him to do. Annoyingly easy, really.
He kissed her deeply, his hand tilting her head slightly. Ari was her first lover and despite the fact that she knew she was going to have to end it soon, she didn’t regret their relationship. She loved him, she really did, but she had the sinking feeling that their life paths wouldn’t cross anymore. At all. And she had the feeling that he chose his path in life a long time ago and nothing would ever change it, not even him. Because most likely, it was too late.
Afterwards, he held her tightly against him, one hand spayed over her belly while the other one rested on her hip. He always held her tightly, possessively. His possessiveness was another thing that scared her sometimes. He was ridiculously jealous and possessive to the point of violence. Not against her, he’d never crossed that line, but she had to pull him off men just for looking at her in the past.
He fell asleep first, on his back, his arms still wrapped around her. Her heart softened at this point, he looked so different asleep. Vulnerable. He didn’t look like the scary man that she was starting to think he really was. She wished it didn’t have to end this way, that whatever demons he was running from he would let go of, but she knew he wouldn’t, couldn’t. And she would not go through what her sister did when she was her age, let herself be destroyed by love.
“Dawn,” Ari grumbled when she tried to slide off the bed.
“I can’t sleep,” Dawn said. “I was going to go watch some tv.”
Ari rolled her over onto her back, his fingers digging into her side. He knew exactly where to go, where she was the most ticklish. A tickle war ensued, one of their many, until she was giggling so hard she couldn’t breathe and Ari was laughing so hard that she got an opening to knock his arms away and flip him onto his back. His face softened as he looked up at her and not for the first time she wondered what he was like as a child. From what he’d told her, he didn’t have much of a childhood but she‘d have loved to see him as a little boy, to see if he was ever carefree.
“I love you,” Ari whispered, his face completely open and so vulnerable.
“I love you too,” Dawn leaned down to kiss him softly, unable not to return the sentiment. And she did love him but she knew that love wasn’t going to be enough.
Leaving him was harder than she expected and she expected bad. He reacted violently, destroying her apartment with little effort. At one point she expected him to hit her but he ended up punching his fist through the wall beside her head. Then he changed tactics, like she knew he would, trying to charm her out of leaving. Like always, his kisses distracted her, her body turning to jelly under his hands. The sex that followed was mind-blowing fantastic, better than anything they’d done before. He made her cum five times before he ever entered her and then brought her off twice more before he came.
Afterwards he was quiet, arms wrapped possessively around her until she fell asleep. When she woke up, he was gone and on the pillow next to her was a small note, a Star of David charm tucked inside.
I can not watch you leave. I do not want you to go but I will not stop you if it is what you wish. I hope you remember me fondly, as I will always remember you.
I love you,
Tears fell down her face as she read the note, unable to believe he was really gone. Even though she was going to leave him, knowing she was never going to see him again was devastating. She stayed in bed, finding one of Ari’s old Edinburgh Medical School sweatshirts to sleep in, basking herself in his scent. Or basically torturing herself with it. She didn’t leave for two days, would have stayed longer if someone didn’t knock on the door. Depressed, tired, and rather starving, she stumbled her way through her apartment, stepping over broken lamps and destroyed chairs; Ari really did have a temper. For a second, she almost didn’t answer the door, if it was a slayer stopping in to check on her or God forbid Giles, they would freak out at the state of her apartment. She opened the door a crack, frowning at the men on the other side. “Can I help you?”
“We’re here to clean and deliver new furniture,” a tall man said, holding out a clipboard to her.
She grabbed the board, frowning when she saw Ari’s minute print.
I am sorry, my love, for what I destroyed. Please allow them to fix what I cannot. Always, Ari.
“You can come in,” Dawn nodded. “I’m going back to bed.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the first guy nodded. “We’ll let ourselves out when we’re done.”
She fell back to sleep almost immediately and sure enough, when she ventured out into her living room the next afternoon, it looked exactly as it did before Ari’s rampage. It was less comforting than she thought it would be.
The next two months were strange and at times, miserable; she now felt bad for all the grief she gave Buffy after Riley left, because that was how she felt. She missed him and hated being alone, never realized how alone she was without Ari. But it wasn’t like when Angel left Buffy, she wasn’t that destroyed. She was sad but still herself, getting better.
“Dawn, you should not have called me.”
Her heart jumped in her chest, the bag of carryout hitting the ground while she reached for the doorframe for balance.
“What is wrong, Dawn?” Ari’s gentle hands grabbed her, lifting her into his arms and carrying her to the couch.
“You scared the crap out of me, butt hole,” Dawn smacked his arm.
“You said you had to speak to me,” Ari said.
“Yeah, but there are these things called telephones, you could call before you showed up,” Dawn said.
“I suppose,” Ari smiled, his head dipping down to capture her lips.
Dawn moaned against his mouth, six months of not being touched hitting her hard. She let him push her backward onto the couch but stopped him when his hand itched under her shirt. Or more accurately, he stopped himself, his hand palming her belly.
“Is it mine?” Ari growled against her mouth.
“How can you even ask that?” Dawn shoved him off her. “First off, if I’m big enough for you to feel the pregnancy, it means I’m more than a few months along. Do you really think I screwed around on you?”
“No,” Ari said quietly. “I would have killed the man had I suspected.”
“I know,” Dawn said.
“How far along are you?” Ari pulled the bottom of her shirt up. His hand cupped her belly more fully, his long fingers spayed out over their child.
“Almost six months,” Dawn said. “I found out three months after we broke up.”
“Do you know….”
“I'm waiting to find out,” Dawn said.
Ari was somberly quiet, his fingers tracing over her belly. When he looked up at her, his eyes were sad, sadder than she’d ever seen them. “Ari, I didn’t contact you to make you feel all guilty. I just wanted you to know.”
“You must leave,” Ari stood up abruptly. “You must go back to the States.”
Okay, she expected him to freak. She didn’t expect him to try to send her away. “What’s going on?”
“There are some things…..it is not safe for you to be here,” Ari pushed a hand through his hair. “You must leave.”
“No, Dawn!” Ari shouted. “You can not stay in Europe. The States are the only safe place for you.”
“What….” Dawn started to ask and then hesitated. She didn’t want to know. Because she was fairly sure whatever was going on, whatever reason had him so anxious to get her out of Europe, was the same reason she broke up with him. “You’re serious about this, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” Ari nodded. “You are not safe here.”
“I can go to Cleveland,” Dawn said.
“No, further than that,” Ari said. “Is there somewhere else you can go? Some where in California?”
Her sister would have a fit, partly because of him but mostly because of where she was going to go. “I have friends in L.A. I can go there.”
The words were barely out of her mouth and he had his cell phone out and was dialing. His Arabic was rapid, if not a bit rude, and within ten minutes, he had a first-class seat on a flight that left in four hours.
“Pack what you need, I will ship the rest to a storage place in L.A.,” Ari said. “I will email you the address.”
“You know, I knew you would freak out about the baby; I didn’t think you’d ship me to another country,” Dawn said.
“You are the most important thing in the world to me,” Ari touched her cheek. “It is too dangerous for you to be here. You must leave.”
“Fine,” Dawn said. “Can I eat first cuz your child is craving some Chinese takeout?”
Ari smiled and crossed the room to where her takeout still laid on the floor. “I will pack your clothes. You eat.”
He didn’t drive her to the airport, instead sent her in a car. He sent an email a week later, with nothing but an address where she found all her things. And that was it, he never emailed her again, never made any contact with her again.
Then, six months later, on the twenty-second of May, a soft knock woke her up.
“What are you doing here?” Dawn arched an brow as she held the door open.
“I wanted to see you,” Ari walked inside, hands shoved into his pockets.
“Why?” Dawn gestured for him to sit down but didn’t follow suit, instead choosing to lean against the wall. He wasn’t the man she thought he was. The absence of youth, becoming a mother, getting a year older…she wasn’t sure what it was but she didn’t see Ari as the same man that she did a year ago. Instead of seeing the softness, the sweet man she fell in love with, she saw the monster that he let himself become. And he did let himself become one. Whatever demons he was running from, he could have faced them and let them go. He could have chosen to walk away from it and become a father. Instead he chose to hide her away and do whatever thing he was doing that made him look empty in the eyes.
“I do not know,” Ari said. “Do I have a girl or a boy?”
“I have a daughter,” Dawn replied. “I named her Elizabeth Tali.”
“After my half-sister,” Ari said.
“And my sister,” Dawn said.
“Is she here?” Ari asked, looking around the small apartment that she called home.
“She’s asleep,” Dawn pushed off the wall. “Follow me.”
Her daughter was beautiful, with thick dark hair and bright blue eyes. At almost four months old, Elizabeth was a perfect, quiet child, very rarely crying and sleeping the night through since she was a newborn. Her baby was just perfect.
Ari studied Elizabeth for long moments, his face softening almost to the man she fell in love with. But just as quickly that man was gone and the stranger that he’d become was back.
He didn’t stay long, only a few minutes of staring at their sleeping child, a whispered Arabic prayer, his fingers pressing a kiss to Elizabeth’s forehead, and a brutal, possessive kiss on her lips and then he was gone, no indication that he’d ever been there before.
She was alone when she saw it, thankfully. When Ari’s picture flashed across ZNN’s screen, with the words ’Terrorist’ in bold print under it, she dropped the bottle in her hand. Everything slid into place, his secrecy, his paranoia, shipping her across the globe, and the emptiness in his eyes. He was a monster and she’d bet money his father helped him become that.