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Summary: Dawn runs into Damon while doing research for the Watcher's Council. Sparks and snark ensue.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Vampire Diaries, The > Dawn-CenteredechoFR18310,33010196,6502 Oct 102 Oct 10Yes

Part One

Disclaimer:These characters are not mine. They belong to Joss Whedon and LJ Smith.
Timeline: Pre season 2 of Vampire Diaries.
AN: Written for the Vampire Big Bang on LJ.


To her it was sad when you went somewhere and thought my god, Sunnydale was a bigger town than this.

Dawn had checked into the Mystic Falls Inn earlier, and now she was about to have dinner at the Mystic Falls Grill. Real original with names, these people. Mystic Falls, Virginia was a small town, smaller than Sunnydale even. They only had one cemetery - Mystic Falls Cemetery. The whole town had an old southern feel. Half the time Dawn felt like she'd slipped into Gone with the Wind-land. Which wasn’t so bad, per se, but she had lived in Italy, France and spent a great chunk of time in London over the last few years. A little bit faster of a pace would not be amiss.

She had her research in front of her. The waitress brought her order as Dawn stared distractedly at her notes. Dawn opened her laptop with one hand and squirted ketchup on her plate with the other. She absently grabbed a fry and bit the end off after swiping it through the ketchup. At least this hunt promised to be better than Forks, Washington. Sparkling vampires. She shook her head again. That had been a severe exercise in annoyance. Everyone had been so whiny. If that was how she had made Buffy feel when growing up, no wonder her sister had wanted to strangle her so many times.

It was fascinating to her all the different species and bloodlines of vamps, all the specific lore that went with them. She was surprised that neither Angel nor Spike had ever thought to mention this to Buffy, but they probably did not want to scare her. There was a whole big supernatural world out there, but her sister mostly liked to live in her own. Not that Dawn didn't love Buffy, she did, but her sister could be a bit singular at times.

Dawn just wanted her own life, and researching the different breeds of vampires for the Watcher’s Council sort of gave her that, but still kept her connected to her sister and the Scoobies. It also allowed her to travel, which she definitely liked. The summer she had spent in Romania had been fabulous. Her research thus far had proved invaluable to Faith and Robin with some of the different things they'd come across on the hellmouth in Cleveland.

This town was weird for her, though – which was exactly why she had come here. A lot of them supposedly knew about vampires. There were several families that did. They had passed their secrets down within their families for generations. They were called the Founding Families.

Again with the originality, Mystic Falls.

These vampire types that dwelled here were repelled with an herb called vervain. Dawn had obtained some before even arriving in town. It could be worn or ingested. She was taking no chances. She'd been taking it in her coffee or tea every morning and there was a bracelet around her wrist that had a silver sphere on it that opened. Its insides held vervain.

She had read that some people could resist compulsion, or the thrall, but her sister had not been able to at first. Buffy was the strongest person she knew. Then again, that had been the thrall of Dracula, the Prince of Freaking Darkness. He was probably hard to resist. Dawn had never thought he was all that, but she also had never fallen into his eyes. Also, she never actually saw him. She had only heard the whispers when her sister and friends thought Dawn wasn’t around.

There were many things Dawn happened to be resistant to as a made human, rules that seemed not to apply to her, but this was one she was not willing to test. She was here because suspicious things had occurred lately - missing people, blood loss, odd fires that killed people. It was hinky. The fact that the rumor in the underworld grapevine was that certain people in town knew what went bump - also hinky.

Dawn moved back to her laptop and started typing in a doc with one hand and she grabbed her halved burger with her other hand and took a bite. Suddenly she felt eyes on her, and the hair on the back of her neck stood up. She scanned the room and was about to turn to look over her shoulder when a shadow fell over her face. Dawn dropped her burger and immediately tensed for a fight.

"Can I get you anything? Kimmy took a break."

Dawn's brow furrowed. "Kimmy?"

"Your waitress," the guy said.

"Oh, no thanks. I'm good..." Dawn leaned up to looked at his name tag. "Matt."

He left and Dawn felt a little ridiculous for be so much on her guard she’d nearly picked a fight with a high school kid. She still felt eyes on her, though. So she looked over her shoulder. There was a guy sitting at the bar nursing a glass that was epically hot – the guy, not the glass. She blinked and told herself not to stare. Especially given that he was already looking right at her. Dark hair, bright blue eyes and a mouth that looked like it smirked a lot topped off with a leather jacket.

He looked like trouble, so of course she was attracted to him.

She did not know how long she had stared before she was disturbed again.

"That guy bought you a drink."

Dawn jumped and looked at that waiter guy Matt, who was holding a drink on a tray. He didn’t look especially pleased about it either.

"But I can totally send it back for you," he said with a grin.

"So you know him then? The guy that sent the drink?"

"Yeah. That's Damon. He's a total jerk."

Dawn raised an eyebrow. That had been said with plenty of venom. "Care to elaborate?"

"Small town. Everybody knows everybody and everybody else's business."

Not good. Dawn needed to keep a low profile for her work. She didn't need town busybodies asking questions she was not prepared to answer. His response also did not fulfill the requirements for elaboration in her mind, either.

"That's okay," Dawn said. “I suppose I’ll accept it. No need to go pissing off the locals just yet.”

Matt set the glass down on her table with a very odd and slightly curious look on his face. He was probably wondering what she meant by the ‘yet’ part of her pissing off statement.

Dawn looked at the glass. It looked and smelled like whiskey. That reminded Dawn of Spike. She grinned. She plucked an ice cube out of the glass and sucked on it. The slight bite of the whiskey clinging to it made her smile.

The next thing she knew, Mr. Looks-like-trouble was sliding into the booth across from her. He apparently took her accepting the drink as an invitation to join her. Dawn quickly closed her laptop and packed up her notes. He was smirking at her. She looked a bit shifty packing things away like that for sure, but there was absolutely no need to announce herself as a freak just yet.

"You're new."

She suddenly thought of her former status as a key. "Not really."

"To town you are,” he said with a smirk that ought to be illegal. “I'd have remembered you."

Dawn frowned. Was he hitting on her? Or was he just that flirty? She needed to play it cool and not be a spaz. He was very hot, and she usually got herself into trouble when they were this hot. She got distracted, and bad things happened. Her mind immediately went to that football player R.J. she’d had a crush on. Sure, that had been magically induced, but she’d still made an absolute fool of herself.

"Mmm," she replied nonchalantly and wiped a fry through her ketchup. "And why is that? Do you have a photographic memory?"

"I never forget a pretty face."

Dawn rolled her eyes. "Wow. You are on verbal probation for that come on. Does that line usually work?"

He actually laughed. "On the women around here? Usually, but I can tell you're different."

"Yeah, all my features are too large for my face, as my sister so frequently tells me."

"You have a sister."

"I do. Lots of people have sisters, you know,” Dawn replied. “Not that weird, and why do I get the feeling that you're digging for information?"

He laughed again. "Maybe because I am. You all right with that?"

"Only if I can dig right back," Dawn quipped without missing a beat.

He chuckled. "I'm Damon Salvatore."

Salvatore. One of the founding families. Wow. She so wanted to dive right in and ask questions, but not all of the younger generation might not know as of yet.

"Dawn Summers."

She was trying to keep the smile plastered on her face and not go all researcher on him. She found herself wondering if he knew about vampires. She wanted to ask how long he'd lived here. If he was related to the Salvatores that founded the town, but the name Salvatore was not exactly common to these parts, so she was betting he was.

"You want to get out of here with me."

It was not said as a question. It sounded like a demand. Dawn frowned. Had he just tried to... compel her? She looked at him to be sure. She was shocked at what she saw. Yep, he had been trying - and was still trying, too. Dawn grabbed her stuff quickly, packing up her laptop and throwing money on the table to cover her tab. She only allowed her barely eaten burger and fries one nanosecond of a mournful look before attempting to hurry off.

He was grinning as he stepped near her, making her fury of movement slow a little.

"I have to go," Dawn said as she hurried. "It was nice to meet you."

He looked confused. "You don't want to leave with me?"

She had until the vampire alarm bells in her head starting going nuts. Dawn had so wanted to leave with that smirk and those blue, blue eyes. There was also a weird flutter in her belly when he stood to close to her that she recognized as lust, and that was so not good. A bad boy and a vampire to boot? Those monks really had made her from her sister.

"I don't think that would be the best idea."

But it would be a very wickedly pleasurable idea.

Was she doomed to be her sister? She was only attracted to dead guys. Her first kiss had been a vampire. That had ruined her. Or at least that's what Dawn suspected. Now she was having lusty thoughts about one of the undead locals, who she barely knew.

"I think it would be a very good idea for us to leave," he said, drawing her back to the present again.

She felt it again. He was trying to compel her. He was so trying to thrall her, and Dawn had no idea why. Unless she had not been quick enough in putting her notes away and closing her laptop. That was the only thing she could come up with. He was, after all, a vampire. He could have seen them before she hid them. That would be bad, and it also meant she in no way could leave with him because he probably planned to kill her to hide his secret.

"No," Dawn said in shock.

She grabbed her bag and hurried out of the grill. She was only a little way from the inn when her arm was grabbed. She was pulled into the alley. Dawn was proud of herself for not screaming. He had a hold of her wrist and was looking at the bracelet.


Dawn snatched her arm away. "Vampire."

She took out her stake, setting her bag and laptop down in the same swift move.

"Whoa there, quick-draw. What in the hell is that?"

Dawn glared. "I would think that as a vampire you'd know a wooden stake when you saw one, but maybe you’re just the cute one and not the smart one."

His eyebrows when up. She could tell he had not expected that one at all. Especially when she lunged at him. Damon jumped back.

"You're pretty spry for a woman who's mostly leg."

Speaking of her legs, Dawn sent a fairly impressive roundhouse towards his head. He ducked it, of course, but she’d gotten pretty close.

"Whoa! I spent a lot of time cultivating this sexy bed-head. Easy."

Dawn danced back to her bag warily and stuffed her stake in the back of her jeans.

“Decided not to stake me after all?”

In answer to his query, she pulled her sword out of her duffle.

“Son of a bitch.”

“Nope,” she replied. “Sister to one.”

And she knew how to handle a sword. That had been her first weapon. He grabbed a lucky bit of old pipe near a dumpster and was able to deflect her blows pretty effectively. She would never admit that out loud, but someone somewhere had taught him how to fight. He moved impressively. He was sleek and fluid. It was kind of sexy too.

They were fighting one another when suddenly Dawn looked around and other people were trying to kill them. Well, other vampires. Dawn was wondering when this had gone from bad to worse. It wasn’t Tuesday, nor was it her sister’s birthday, so she could not figure out how she’d gotten into this big of a fix. She suspected before that she wasn’t really trying to hurt him – just warn him, and he was trying to play defense.

Before she knew it, she was back to back with the guy she had been fighting, and they were trying to fend off an undead horde. How had this happened again? She had come here to do some simple research and she was already surrounded by vampires and fighting for her life. Dawn was not pleased. Especially since parts of his body, be it hands or other, kept brushing up against her backside. She would hope that when they could possibly die, he was not trying to cop a feel.

She was doing pretty well, but they learned quickly to stay out of her sword range. Fortunately, they did not figure this out until she had already decapitated three of them. Now it seemed they were at a standstill. One of them was making some noise at Damon about someone named Katherine. She tried to listen, but with the rest of the group repeatedly trying to get her sword out of her hands, that was difficult.

Dawn jumped when the surrounding vamps that were left suddenly screamed and burst into flames simultaneously. When the literal dust settled, Dawn saw a woman at the end of the alley.

“Hi, Bonnie,” Damon said with no small amount of jackass in his tone.

This Bonnie person ignored him utterly. “You Dawn?”

“Um… yeah,” Dawn answered in a wary tone.

“Relax. Someone named Willow contacted me. I was supposed to check on you. Good thing, huh? Hanging out with Damon? Not cool. Aren’t your kind supposed to kill his kind?”

Dawn looked at him. She wasn’t so sure. He hadn’t been trying to kill her. Well, maybe. He’d just wanted her to leave with him. If he wanted her dead, then he could have just let the group get her, but he’d had her back just then, so now she was not so sure of his motives here. Maybe he wanted to kill her himself? Now that was an unpleasant thought.

“I’m a Summers. We tend to dig on the dead.”

“Your choice,” Bonnie replied.

And Dawn suddenly had the feeling this Bonnie person knew more than she was saying.

“Wait… Willow contacted you? Are you a-“

“She’s a witch,” Damon offered. “And I don’t mean in the capital B sort of way. I mean as in eye of newt and broom riding and warts.”

“I do not have warts and do not ride a broom,” Bonnie snapped. “My work here is done. The rest is up to you. Goodnight.”

Suddenly she was gone.

Dawn turned to Damon with a glare. “Why’d you have to piss her off like that? Now she’s all gone and stuff.”

He was just staring at her with this smirk.


The next thing Dawn knew her sword was on the ground, her back was up against a brick wall and there was a vampire a hairsbreadth from her.

“You want to leave with me.”

Really, really did. She so did.

Dawn reached up and gave him a light slap to the face instead, though.

“Will you stop trying to compel me, you ass clown? I am wearing vervain.”

“Are you?” He held up her bracelet before tossing it over his shoulder.

“I’ve also got it running through my system, smart guy. What are you going to do now? What’s your big plan for this?”

Dawn would later realize, upon reflection, that she so should not have asked that because the next thing she knew she was unconscious.


It was very easy to ‘convince’ the person at the reception desk within the Mystic Falls Inn that of course he was a friend of Dawn’s and she had simply had too much to drink.

Damon had grabbed her bag and laptop before hefting her over his shoulder and carrying her to the inn. He knew that was where she was staying because he’d found the key card in her bag. Sure, he probably should not have riffled through her bag like that, women being so peculiar about their purses and stuff, but he wasn’t about to just leave her in the alley. Not when Bonnie had seen him with her. He couldn’t very well take her home either. Stefan would ask too many annoying questions.

Now that she was unconscious and lying on her bed in the hotel room, and he was at a loss at what to do next. He needed to dispose of her because she was obviously a hunter. He’d seen her research before she was able to tuck it away. She was a threat, and she needed to be eliminated.

The problem was that he didn’t really want to do that. Certainly he had at first, but then she was so sarcastic and well-armed. She swung that sword in a way that suggested she’d been familiar with it for years. Her bag was full of holy water, stakes, crosses and vervain. She had a California driver’s license, but her passport had stamps from all over the world in it.

Her phone cell phone rang, so Damon looked at the caller ID. Buffy? He flipped it open and answered.

“Dawn’s phone.”

“Who is this?”

The voice was American. It sounded cheerleader-y, if there was such a word. Peppy. Peppy was a good word for it. Caroline Forbes-like, even, but there was an edge to the tone that sweet, dumb and mostly oblivious Caroline did not have.

“This is the person answering Dawn’s phone. She’s a little busy right now,” Damon said flippantly as he absently ran a hand up her jean-covered thigh.

“What have you done with my sister?”

Sister. Interesting. He wondered if they hunted supernatural creatures like those brothers on that show he liked to watch for the laughs when he was bored.

“Nothing yet,” he replied. “Why? Do you think I should? She’s awfully sassy, and I do happen to like that.”

He didn’t know why he was antagonizing her sister. It just seemed like the thing to do. Plus, he could feel her glares through the phone. It was very amusing. He did like it when people entertained thoughts of killing him but were too brainwashed by what society considered polite to do anything about it.

“If you hurt her-“

“Don’t worry. We plan on utilizing the safe words.”

With that, Damon hung up. He put the phone on silent and tossed it onto the lone chest of drawers before flipping on the TV and flopping onto the queen sized bed next to Dawn. He needed to decide what he was going to do here. He settled on a Sham-wow infomercial and started brainstorming.
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