First Day of School
Smaller Than Sunny
by Sam James
Timeline: Note that even though Buffy S7 aired at the same time as Smallville S2 nothing in the two series requires that correspondence. So, in this crossover, Buffy S7 has happened but Smallville S2 is just starting.
DISCLAIMER: Buffyverse characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and 20th Century Fox. Smallville characters belong to Warner Brothers, the WB, and DC Comics (except Chloe on the last). I claim no ownership of anything other than the plot.
"Dawn, are you ready for school?" Nancy Turner called up the stairs to their niece. She had only been with them a short while and they were still getting used to the transition, but Nancy could tell already that she was a handful.
"I don't wanna!" she cried. It was only a couple of months since Buffy had died yet again and she still had not accepted the loss, let alone being placed in the custody of an aunt and uncle she barely remembered and being forced to live in Kansas, of all places, in the very appropriately named Smallville. Willow had tried to make a case for custody but even in California no one was going to turn over custody of a 17-year old girl to an unrelated, unmarried 22-year old lesbian.
"Dawn!" Aunt Nancy was firm. "I'm not giving you a choice."
"Alright already," Dawn's whine, which she had been growing out of, had resumed with redoubled force after Buffy's death. She walked down the steps wearing black pants and a black turtleneck without any cosmetics and only a token attempt to comb her hair. The effect of her appearance and her slouch said firmly, "I don't care."
"Dawn," said Aunt Nancy, getting the intended message from the ensemble, "Don't you want to try to make a life for yourself here?"
"I wanted to stay and help rebuild Sunnydale," Dawn spat out. "Willow would have taken me in. Xander would have taken me in. Or I could have lived with Spike in his crypt er I mean creepy apartment. But you took me here to *small*ville, well, I'm not exactly gonna join the 4H club and fit in considering everything I've seen, everything that's happened."
Uncle Larry looked up from his paper. "Give her time," he told his wife softly. "She's lost her mother, her sister, her town, and now feels she's lost all her friends too." He raised his voice. "Dawn, just give Smallville a chance, it just might surprise you."
After being driven to Smallville High, Dawn stood a moment and looked at the sea of unfamiliar faces flowing down the hall. It was like going back in time to the 80's with all the flannel, checks, and skirts. But even through her depression, she couldn't help but notice the muscles on some of these farmboys. Clearly, chores are good for the body she giggled to herself and then flushed. She refused to let herself be distracted out of a good sulk.
"You must be the new transfer, Dawn Summers," the guidance counselor said when Dawn walked into the sparsely decorated office.
Dawn nodded as the counselor looked her up and down with a faintly disapproving eye. "We never received the paperwork from your old school."
Dawn stared back. "Not surprising, the paperwork was probably destroyed when the school collapsed."
"Collapsed?" the counselor looked alarmed.
"You know, California, earthquake, all that." Dawn gave the cover story. "Probably shoddy construction in the rebuild after the explosion. Of course, the whole town was destroyed in the earthquake so..."
"Yeah, oh, if I panic and run out of the building, it's just flashbacks." Dawn needled them. If she got kicked out of this school, maybe her aunt and uncle would let her go back to Sunnydale.
After some negotiations about classes she had already passed and her readiness to take advanced courses - and the school's lack of courses in anything useful like advanced Latin or Greek - she confronted her first class. When she opened the door to sneak in, she immediately found herself the center of attention. It was amazing how schools everywhere were pretty much the same. There were the popular folks - the jocks and cheerleader who ruled the school, the wannabes who gave the popular crowd their power, the brains who focused more on academics and activities than the struggle for popularity, the druggies who had given up, the nerds who no one wanted, and the outsiders who did not care. At Sunnydale, Dawn had pretty much fluctuated between the wannabees and the nerds because of her sister's reputation and a few demon-related incidents of her own. Taking a look around all these small town folk who had probably grown up with each other from kindergarten, Dawn knew she'd wind up with the outcasts even if she cared, which she kept telling herself, she did not.
"Who are you?" the teacher asked.
"Dawn Summers, transfer student." She showed her schedule to the teacher
"Where are you from?" came a girl's voice
"California." There was a buzz as the students tried to place her in the hierarchy. Dawn could feel the moment when the populars decided that her looks were a threat and began circulating rumors of "California girl, you know she's easy."
"Pay no attention to the cattle," came a voice from her left. Dawn looked and saw a blond girl in a Daily Planet T-shirt. "Their opinions don't matter anyway. Control the press and you control what they think, or at least what they think they remember thinking, which amounts to the same thing."
"Chloe Sullivan" Dawn looked at the girl whose dress and manner gave off an air of "I don't fit in and I don't care." Chloe looked back and in a moment of solidarity added, "I'm from Metropolis. I've been here four years now and am still considered the newcomer."
"Tight knit community?"
"The tightest." The two girls laughed and Dawn felt she had made a friend.
"Girls, pay attention," the teacher knocked on her desk with her fist.
After that period Dawn did not see Chloe again until lunch. Dawn had entered the cafeteria, confronted again with that sea of unfamiliar faces, and resigned to eating lunch alone, in a corner somewhere unnoticed, when the short blond stood up and began waving to her like someone going into convulsions. Dawn smiled and brought her tray over next to the Metropolis Marvel as she had mentally christened the sophisticated stranger stuck the land of the future farmers of America.
Chloe was sitting next to the only black guy in the room, who Chloe introduced as Pete Ross, and a really tall and muscular teen, who Chloe said was Clark Kent. Chloe wondered what Kent was doing with the outcasts, with his looks he should be hanging out with the populars. Judging from the longing looks he cast at one table filled with the beautiful people Clark felt the same way. Or was he looking at one girl in particular?
"So Dawn, give us your scoop," Chloe said. "How'd you get exiled to this land where the corn is as high as elephant's eye?" Pete and Clark gave Chloe a strange look but Dawn laughed.
"Kansas isn't quite Oklahoma is it?"
Chloe gave her a quick hug. "At last, someone who can appreciate my wit."
"Hey, we're not country bumpkins," Clark protested.
"Sure you aren't," Chloe rolled her eyes. "Anyway, Dawn, you were saying?"
"I'm from Sunnydale, California. Well, born in LA, Los Angeles I mean, but I grew up in Sunnydale. My parents were divorced."
"I know where you're coming from on that," Chloe said.
"Well, Dad is in Spain somewhere with his secretary. My mom died a couple of years ago of a brain anerism. Dad didn't even come to the funeral. So my older sister took charge until she died this June," Dawn carefully controlled herself so she would not cry in front of these new friends. "So I got shunted off to my aunt and uncle who live here in Smallville."
"How did your sis..." Chloe began but Clark kicked her and interrupted. "You know, you're not the only new person in town. I hear there's a new teacher this year."
"Oh, yeah," Pete replied picking up on the need to change the subject. "The guys say she's young and incredibly hot with flowing red hair. She's just out of college so only a few years older than us. There were lots of jokes about older women in the locker room today."
"So how did she end up in Smallville?" Chloe asked. Clark and Pete shrugged their sholders. This was not something the guy's gossip network cared about. "Well, I'll just have to interview her for the Torch, then."
"The Torch?" Dawn asked.
"School newspaper," Chloe replied. "I'm the editor. Clark and Pete are most of the staff. Do you want to join? It could be a good way to get to know your new school." And will get me a chance to get the rest of your story.
"Well, I just got here, I don't know"
"Stop in after school and I'll show you the office."
Just then the bell rang. "What do you have?" asked Pete.
Dawn looked at her schedule, "Advanced Computers, room C-2"
"Oh good, you're with us," Chloe said. The four walked down the hall.
"I can't wait to meet this new teacher and see if the stories are true." Pete said.
All four entered the classroom but three stood shocked. Pete and Clark had their mouths open as they stared at the pretty red head smiling as her students entered the classroom. But Dawn was even more surprised. "Willow?"