Hmmm. If you bring an existing fic over, you can add chapters and have it count for your entry for the August Fic-a-Thon event. Well, I think I know what I'll be updating for the next few days then…
Did it still count as 'tanning' if one didn't let the sun hit their body? Dawn pondered that as she stared up at the oversized black beach umbrella protecting her from the sun's rays. Some light was still reaching her skin through the fabric, she rationalized, or else she'd be suffering from vitamin D deficiency like the Slayers occasionally did. After a moment, she shrugged and went back to the far more important task that was touching up her nails. After all, when one wore black nail polish, the smallest chips were very easily noticed. And in a house full of vain little teenage girls who picked on her enough as it was? Dawn didn't need to give them even more ammo by doing a half-assed job of looking unfashionable.
Looking down at herself, Dawn let out a little snort. Her personal style had come a long way since the last bus had pulled out of Sunnydale with her sister clinging to the top. Gone was… well, anything with color. Gone was cleavage and tight pants and short sk… okay, the short skirts were still there, but lesser in number and generally in plaids. Lots of black now, both pants and shirts with strange or crude sayings in white letters across her chest. Fishnets. Black nail polish and makeup. Black hair, even, now that she had the freedom to hang out with her friend Clairol without Buffy popping a stitch. Her skin had also paled drastically as she spent more time working for the Council and less time outside trying to be Bite-Sized Buffy.
Well, maybe not bite-sized, considering she had five inches or so on the faux-blonde…
Buffy. Now there was a topic nobody broached in Cleveland without an amulet of protection, a bag of weapons, and a desire for a one-way trip to somewhere fun like Siberia or the Sahara via Dawn's Discount Portals. Dawn scowled as she dipped the brush back into the bottle of nail polish and then made a wide swipe across her thumb. Brilliant little Buffy. Brilliant little Buffy who had turned all the Potentials into Slayers, and then decided she should be allowed to run off and let everyone else clean up her mess. Oh, and that Dawn had spent too much time in the line of fire and needed to come too. That had been an interesting… discussion… involving threats of emancipation, the resurrection of all manner of past grievances, and a final bout of screaming that rendered the top floor of the Hyperion uninhabitable when Dawn's innate power broke loose and made Dawn's displeasure with Buffy well and truly known.
Emancipation papers had been filed the next day.
With the aid of Wolfram and Hart, the proceedings had lasted less than five days.
Six days after Dawn and Buffy's fight, the latter was on a plane to Rome and Dawn hadn't heard from her in the two years since.
Even if it did mean she was stuck for the foreseeable future in Cleveland of all places, Dawn was much happier where she was. Well, she was happier for those two-week periods in between when she changed the security code on the Watchers' section of the library and when one of the technologically minded Slayers hacked it. Still, even if the place was swarming with girls that made Dawn wonder 'was I that bad two or three years ago?', at least she felt like she was doing her part for the greater good, even if it was only reading and translating books for Giles. The fact that she didn't have an over-protective big sister trying to run her life for her was just a lovely bonus.
Making very delicate strokes as she did her best to maximize coverage while minimizing the amount of flesh she painted - and would need to fix later - Dawn didn't even bother looking up as she felt a wave of magic ripple over her skin, followed by a gust of displaced air. Teleportation. Not the most common magical ability, at least when one's blood didn't open up portals through space and time, but one that some of the Council's allied witches were capable of. Although since the number of people keyed in so they could pass through the school's wards numbered exactly one… "Hey Willow. What are you doing here? I didn't think you and Kennedy were schedule to visit until next month."
"Oh wow, check out the hot goth chick." Unless Butchy McButchgirl had finally gone and gotten herself a sex change, that voice was definitely too male to be either Willow or Kennedy. Then again, Willow had borrowed a couple of rather… interesting… tomes from Dawn's domain last time she'd visited. "Hey Cassie, if it turns out she only has Mr. Pym and your dad's powers, can we dye your hair bright red? She can be Garden Ant-Girl and you can be Fire Ant-Girl."
Dawn looked up from her nails and blinked slowly, not quite believing what she was seeing. Mistaking her incredulity for something else entirely, a boy wearing something similar to the garb of the Asgardians she'd seen in the Council's books shoved a silver-haired boy in green and white spandex out of the way. "Sorry, Speed can be a bit… well, there's really not words to describe him."
"Obnoxious, perverted, childish…"
Asgard Boy smacked the girl in purple leather with the end of his staff, silencing her but never taking his eyes off Dawn. "My name is Wiccan, and my friends and I would like to talk to you. Err, you are Dawn Summers, right?"
Not trusting her voice yet, Dawn nodded dumbly. There was 'Wiccan' - Dawn assumed it was a nickname and not just him announcing his particular religious beliefs - his green and white-clad friend, a blonde girl wearing a variation on the last Ant-Man's costume, and the black-haired girl in purple who, upon closer inspection, had a quiver strapped to her back and a compound bow in one hand. Behind them were two boys in slightly stylized, but mostly authentic versions of Bucky and the Vision's costumes. And… a teenage Hulk with blonde hair? As part of the reorganization of the Council, Dawn had made sure to establish tentative feelers to SHIELD; they were by no means allies, but the group did send her files on as many superhumans as possible if for no other reason than to keep the Council's personnel away from their fights. Dawn in particular spent a good portion of her time updating the group's database as new heroes emerged, old heroes died or retired, and villains came and went. And considering she was drawing a total blank here… "I'm pretty sure we had Willow reinforce the wards against cosplayers to keep Andrew from being able to bring his friends home with him last time she was in the country…"
The Vision look-alike tilted his head to the side. "Cosplayers? Referencing. Ah. Costume players. A phenomenon that began largely in the country of Japan but spread to other countries. Centered around the creation of costumes to emulate popular culture icons such as animated television characters." He looked down at Dawn. "You misunderstand our identities, Miss Summers. I am not dressed like Vision, I am the new Vision. We are the Young Avengers and have come to recruit you as part of the execution of the Avengers Failsafe Program."
"You're doing the what now?" Dawn asked, sitting up. Noticing the way the silver-haired boy was leering at her chest, Dawn she blushed slightly and pulled a t-shirt on over her bikini top. "Okay, I'm not stupid but can someone explain that to me in terms that make sense to those of us who aren't superheroes? Because I'm not sure I like anything involving me and the word 'execution'…"
Ant-Girl, err Cassie, let out a quiet snicker at Dawn's comment, drawing her attention back to the young blonde. Wow. Hot blonde was hot. She would hit that. She would hit that like Mjǫllnir. She would hit that so hard, whoever pulled her out would be crowned the next King of England. She… needed to stop spending so much time on the Internet.
Living through a year and a half of Suicidal Buffy followed by a year of General Buffy - the combination of which had worked to shape her into the Buffy the Potentials had called 'Skeletor' when the blonde wasn't within earshot - had thoroughly soured Dawn on blondes of all shapes and sizes… or so she'd thought. But this girl… wow. Hotness incarnate.
Idly, Dawn found herself wondering if she could possibly have anything in common with the younger, shy looking blonde. Probably not. Oh well. These days, 'opposites attract' seemed to be the name of the game. Just look at Willow and Kennedy, and Xander and Courtney. So then the real question became… want, take, have. She wanted the cute superheroine. How did one take a cute superheroine and therefore have a cute superheroine?
Her staring time was disrupted as Purple Leather Girl pushed her way around Wiccan, dropping to sit on the grass in front of Dawn and pushing her sunglasses up onto her forehead. "Sorry, Vision can be a bit much sometimes. My name is Kate Bishop, although if we're sticking with codenames, I'm Hawkeye. And Cassie is Stature."
"Kate Bishop… Kate Bishop… oh, hey, I recognize that name! After you helped save those people at St. Patrick's Cathedral, we sent someone out to test you but when you came back normal, we decided to leave you be." Kate's face screwed up into a fierce scowl at the use of the word 'normal' and Dawn winced; it was probably a touchy subject on a team full of people with powers. Objection noted. "I was wondering what happened to you… now I know. And anyways… now that we've established who I am and who you are, let's get back on topic. Why do I have the Teen Titans on my lawn?"
Kate just rolled her eyes at the question. "Designer told me I should consider a new look, especially since most of the original Avengers we're mimicking aren't dead. But oh no. I told him it was the Avengers Failsafe Program and we were the Young Avengers and needed homage costumes…" She shook her head, rant trailing off. "Never mind. Getting back to what our Vision said, the original Vision made a computer program in case the Avengers ever broke up. It contained the names and powers of teenagers who could be brought together to take up the name and the mission. According to the files, you should have at least the power to grow or shrink… the same power Cassie has. Plus maybe some others, but the file wasn't too clear on that."
Oh, how Dawn wished that was true. Considering one of them was a dark-haired, occasionally broody bookworm who helped fight what went bump in the night and the other… definitely wasn't… she could have used the in. But sadly, fantasy and reality were generally mutually exclusive. "I hate to break it to you, but I think you came a long way for nothing. I've used a little magic over the past few years, but that's the only power I have." Unfortunately for her, the bulk of her magical potential seemed to manifest only during times of high emotion, making her more of a bane than a boon in the field… unless, of course, she wanted to let demons kick her around to the point that her power broke loose. Which she really didn't. And there was the whole 'bleed me to make a portal' factor, but that wasn't something she needed to share with strangers. "So… while playing superhero might sound really cool, I think I'm going to be stuck as Research Girl forever. Sorry you wasted your time. You guys didn't drive or fly or anything, did you? Just one straight teleportation jump from New York?"
The guys and Cassie looked stunned, as did Kate, but the brunette recovered quickly. "Are you sure? Actually, I know Mr. Lang and Mr. Pym used technology in the early days to access their powers. Maybe yours are just dormant until we can jumpstart them? Vision, any thoughts?"
"Wait, Mr. Lang and Mr. Pym?" Dawn's brain raced frantically, trying to match the names that for some reason seemed familiar to her. That wasn't the first time the latter name had come up in conversation. Who were these two men and what did they have to do with her situation? Then the pieces clicked together in her mind. "Scott Lang and Hank Pym. Ant-Man the Second and Ant-Man the First slash Giant-Man slash Goliath slash Yellowjacket, right? Scott being…" Dawn pointed Cassie's way. "…your dad, I'm guessing. What do they have to do with any of this? Or my supposed powers?"
Kate grimaced and looked away from Dawn, playing with the grass at her feet. "Wow. This is all sorts of awkward. Hey, Eli, you're always reminding me that you're the one in charge. Want to come take over?" The dark-skinned boy in Bucky's outfit let out a bark of laughter before shaking his head no. "Fuck. Alright, I'm just warning you, try to shoot the messenger here and I'll shoot back. Capisce?" Dawn nodded. "The file we have on you, the one the old Vision put together? Assuming it's right, your father isn't… whoever you think it is. It's Hank Pym."
Dawn's brain froze, crashed, and rebooted at that revelation. Logically, she'd known something like this might happen some day. Even before Willow had left the group, the redhead had begun migrating towards the magical over the mundane and Dawn had stepped up as Techno Girl, hacking into this and bringing that to the lab. One of her first projects had been to analyze Buffy and her DNA to try and figure out exactly what the Monks of Dagon had done. The tests had proved her actually to be Buffy's daughter with an unknown partner, not Buffy's sister as originally thought. Not that Dawn had any plans to tell Buffy as much; the blonde was unbearable enough as 'big sister'. Who knew how she'd behave if she knew she actually was Dawn's mother? "Huh. Okay, so what now?"
"You're okay with that?" Kate glanced back over her shoulder at the others before giving Dawn a surprised look. "I was expecting denials or crying or screaming at us for insulting your mother or… something. I dunno. Go all Maury guest on us and jump and down shouting swears every third word. This whole easy acceptance thing is just weird."
Dawn just shrugged, since she couldn't really go into the details behind her lack of reaction. "I've known for a while that my sister and I don't have the same father." And that her sister was actually her mother, but again, that wasn't something they needed to know. "I figured someday I'd discover who he was. Wasn't expecting him to be a superhero, but when is my life not weird? So what now?"
"If you are willing, your father would like to meet you." The others moved aside to give Dawn an unobstructed view of Vision. "I spoke with him privately by using my systems to slide a call into the Verizon cellular telephone network. He is understandably dismayed at the prospect of having a daughter he did not know about, but is willing to meet you so a DNA test can confirm our beliefs. He also sympathizes with our previous difficulties with Captain America, and wishes to speak with Cassie about technology… and is also willing to lend us one of his spare Ant-Man helmets to see if Kate's hypothesis is correct."
Checking her mental calendar, Dawn figured she had at least three or four hours free before someone would miss her. Plenty of time to get magically teleported somewhere, prove them wrong about her powers, and come back. And maybe meet her - purely mystical - sperm donor in the process. Climbing to her feet, she shook her hair out behind her and then used a scrunchy - black, of course - to bind it into a ponytail. "Where are we going? I mean, other than where… my father… is. Like, a specific place? And God does that sound weird."
Vision nodded. "Many of my compatriots have odd family situations. You will find most of them can commiserate. We will be going to the Baxter Building in New York City. Mr. and Mrs. Pym are currently visiting with Mr. Richards of the Fantastic Four."
"So I get to meet my dad and the woman he probably cheated on when he had sex with my mother." Dawn had no desire to tell them about her real nature at that point, and it sounded like an appropriate concern to have. "Just peachy. But…" She paused and looked down at her body before blushing. "Before we go anywhere, can I at least go find some pants?" Pulling out on her shirt, she eyed the printing on her chest before translating the upside-down letters and wincing. 'Two Drinks Away From Girl-on-Girl Action' probably wasn't appropriate attire for meeting her new father. "And a new shirt?"
Although the prospect of being a few drinks away from girl-on-Ant-Girl action was something she might have to explore later. Wait. How old was Cassie? Then again, she wasn't legal herself so was she really in a position to judge when it came to underage drinking? Mehh, scrap that plan. Sure, she might end up having a night of awesome sex, but equally possible were a night of mediocre drunk sex or a night of holding the blonde's hair back while she puked up everything she'd eaten for the last month. Yeah, she'd take a great big pass on that.
Speed let out a snort of laughter at that, eyes glued to her chest. "I don't know… I mean, do you really want to pretend to be someone you're not when you go to meet your father? And if this is who you are… I would love to hear all about it."