Dem dat Know ...
Well, it's cold and yucky and snowy and slow at work, so I'm finally back to writing! Everyone was so encouraging with my first story, I can only hope this one lives up to that standard. Thank you so much to whoever nominated the first one for a COA, that totally made my month, and once I saw the others I was nominated with it really amazed me!
If you haven't read Map of the Stars you probably won't be too lost, but if you're interested in this story you'd probably like the first one too so what's the harm? ; )
This story title comes from the great review katimaviklindzy gave me for MotS. Noting that while they were excited to see this meeting, "I am a little worried that that much concentrated sarcasm could cause serious damage to the planet." Somehow that just seemed right, so thank you so much!
As before, if you recognize it, I don't claim ownership, it belongs to the lovely people who hold the copyrights. If you don't, I may have had something to do with it. I'll say right now that I'm not a huge fan of Dawn from the series, so if you find she's a little OOC, well ... thank goodness. Anything I get wrong about the area/college situation/etc, please just roll with it. I sadly don't have Giles to research it all for me.
I hope you enjoy, and please feel free to review if you do!
Gracie : )
* * *
“Of all the apartment buildings in all the world, I had to pick this crappy one.”
Dawn grumbled to herself as she hurried up the stairs of her building, eager to get home, shower and change into something less gross. For the seventy-kazillionth time she wished that they could have managed to find something on a lower floor, or in a building with a working elevator at least. Instead they were stuck on the 6th floor of a slightly run down apartment complex with a landlord from the 10th circle of hell where used car salesmen, slimy ex-boyfriends and mimes went to vacation. Unsurprisingly the elevator hadn’t worked since they’d moved in. Her roommate still had hope it would work before they graduated, while Dawn was more of a realist and had just about talked herself into it being a good thing to climb 6 flights of stairs every day. At least she hadn’t had to buy a gym membership, and it kept her in shape for any apocalypses that might crop up. She grimaced as she passed the third floor. Halfway there.
Her first reaction on getting paired with a roommate had been sheer dismay. The plan when she moved out of Slayer Central was to live on her own. To not have to fight over bathroom privileges. To be able to relax on the couch in her underwear if she felt like it. But, the school had handed out assignments and even when there had been an issue with the on campus housing and they had helped find the off campus apartment, Dawn had moaned and groaned but done nothing to change it. In a way it felt kind of like she was doing the normal thing for the first time in her life, and it had turned out to be a wonderful bonus. Her roommate Wendy was in the same program she was, so while they both worked long grueling hours and were rarely home, she also knew how to cut loose and have a good time. Dawn was slowly learning.
The decision to go pre-med had surprised all of Dawn’s extended family, but when she’d looked at the people around her and what would be the biggest help, she knew that this was the right choice. Buffy had tried to talk her out of it, concerned that she wasn’t making the choice because it was actually something she wanted, and had assured her over and over that if she changed her mind no one would be upset. Dawn was as surprised as anyone to find out this was actually something she had a passion for and thought she could be good at. Her grades weren’t too bad for someone that had been nothing but green glowy stuff not that long ago.
She rounded the corner and headed for the home stretch, only one more floor to go. Even though she’d changed out of the mandatory scrubs and into her non-patient splattered street clothes, she couldn’t help but still feel icky from the last clinic patient of the day. This semester she and Wendy were both signed on to assist in one of the local free clinics. Their theory was that it was the torture to weed out those without the stomach for the dirty work early on since as students they were the lowest people on the totem pole and got the worst jobs. Today that had included clean up in curtain three. And five. And eight. Dawn had seen a lot of disgusting things in her life but she had to admit that some of the patients who came in with various maladies totally grossed her out.
Reaching the sixth floor landing gave her a boost of energy and she bounded through the stairwell door and down the hall to her apartment. Preoccupied with getting the stubborn door open and her keys back out of the lock it took her a moment to notice that there was a rare sight in her apartment. At first the jean-clad posterior was all she saw, but it was enough. Dawn leaned against the door behind her, causing her to stumble backwards as it slammed shut the final few inches. The man nicely filling out those marvelous jeans straightened from where he’d been perusing their bookshelves. My my, the front view was chock full of yummy goodness too. Dawn silently took in the man in front of her. Perfectly fitting jeans, check. Wide strong shoulders clad in flannel, check. Eyes you could sink into, check. So what if he was a little older? That so didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy the view. Although, come to think of it, why was such a scrumptious view in her apartment to begin with? Hmm, maybe she should talk to him if she could find spit in her suddenly Sahara dry mouth.
McHot dude smiled at her, the creases deepening in his face and his eyes twinkling. “You must be Dawn.”
“Hot. I mean, um, Hi! Dawn, I’m Dawn.” She giggled in mortification, frantically wishing her brain would reboot. And suddenly, as if wishing had made it so, she started to think again and a light went on. Parent’s weekend. Of course! “You must be Wendy’s dad!” She tried to remember if Wendy had ever mentioned that her dad was totally gorgeous.
The smile had faded and a look of discomfort appeared on his face as she babbled on. “I didn’t think Wendy was going to be around this weekend. I mean, if she is that’s totally fine, I know it’s parents weekend but I didn’t think her parents were going to make it, and I figured we’d skip the whole big hoopla since my family couldn’t make it either. I mean, my sister couldn’t come but then my friend Giles - who’s actually been more like a dad to me, or maybe a really cool older brother - was supposed to be here but then he had to go to some big symposium or whatever, and then Buffy keeps calling me, but I keep missing her when I try to call her back and I never know what time zone she’s in. It’s just that I thought Wendy was having a romantic getaway with her boyfriend for a few days so that’s why you surprised me. Oops, probably shouldn’t have mentioned the boyfriend, but he’s really such a nice guy, not like that last loser she dated. He was such a jerk and I kept going ‘Wendy he’s just using you, you can so do better’ but she didn’t seem to mind and - um - I’m going to stop now before I like start telling you about your daughter’s sex life or something. Oh my God, I just told you your daughter has a sex life!” She pressed cool hands to her fiery cheeks. “Couldn’t you please tell me to shut up or something?”
“Dawnie? Shut up.”
Dawn looked to where the voice was coming from and found a diminutive blonde leaning against the kitchen doorway. Instantly dropping her bag and notebooks she leapt to tackle the older girl into a giant hug. “Buffy! Omigod you’re here! That’s so cool!
Why didn’t you call me? Oh! Duh! That’s why you’ve been calling me!”
Buffy giggled as she almost stumbled at the force of her sister’s hug. A non-slayer would have gone down easily at such an attack, but the Summers women were made of tougher stuff. She took a minute to look her sister over, her ‘mom eyes’ as Anna called them noticing the tiredness in Dawn’s gaze. Other than that Buffy was glad to see she looked like she was thriving in her new environment. Not even trying to get a word in edgewise Buffy waited for the babble to slow to a halt. As it did Dawn leaned close and whispered, “did you see
my roommate’s dad? What a hottie! Hey! He’s too old for me and you haven’t dated in like forever, I wonder if he’s single?”
Buffy looked over Dawn’s shoulder at the man still standing in the living room. He was looking a little weathered from Hurricane Dawn. Checking him out she looked back at her little sister. “Hmm, he is pretty cute. Maybe I should
start dating again.” She considered for a moment then disentangled herself from her surprised sister. “Okay, you convinced me, I’m going in.” Rolling her neck and shoulders as if she were about to enter a fight, Buffy crossed the room, sliding one hand up the man’s arm. Fluttering her eyelashes as she said something quiet that Dawn couldn’t quite catch and giggling up at him she ran her other hand up his body into his hair, tugged his face down to her level and laid a long, deep kiss on the stranger. Immediately his arms were around Buffy and he had her dipped like something out of one of the old movies Buffy and Dawn used to watch with their mother.
Dawn gaped at the couple in silence, trying to wrap her mind around the images that were being fed into her brain. She heard her inner voice repeatedly protesting robotically ‘does not compute.’ Stumbling a few steps closer she tried to understand what was going on. Had she passed out from exhaustion somewhere on the stairs? Had her brain overloaded from studying and decided to just feed her random images that made no sense? Was this the sign of yet another apocalypse?
The kiss seemed to wind down and Buffy was placed back on her feet, though the two still had their arms wrapped around each other. The man was smirking at Dawn’s dumbfounded expression and Buffy was giggling uncontrollably. When the giggles finally died down to a point Buffy was able to talk, she looked at her sister and said, “Dawn? I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Jack O’Neill.”
He grinned and shot the younger girl a cocky little wave. “Nice ta meetcha!”
* * *
Buffy had meant to keep her eyes open so she could get a good look at the shock she was sure was on Dawn’s face about now, but Jack was an excellent
kisser, and her lashes soon fluttered shut on their own. The slight daze she was in as he stood her back up was quickly broken at the way her sister was gawking at them. When she could finally stop laughing long enough to talk and introduce the two that didn’t seem to help. Dawn’s slightly glazed stare kept going from Jack to Buffy and back again. Occasionally she’d mutter a piece of a word or phrase, but she wasn’t up to forming complete sentences. Buffy looked up at her boyfriend and stage whispered, “Babe, I think we broke her.”
It was the casual endearment that seemed to snap Dawn into coherence as she took a deep breath and screeched, “Buffy Summers, you are in so much trouble!”