Standard info and disclaimer in chapter one.
Dawn was wearing a deep blue dress with modest length and neckline that had small blue flowers decorating the neck and shoulders. Buffy was wearing a one-shoulder dark red evening dress.
They were taking a limo.
Buffy hadn’t said anything since they had gotten into the car.
Dawn didn’t know what to say.
This wasn’t exactly how she had planned their next meeting-slash-reunion. She hadn’t actually planned it at all. Somewhere in the back of her head she had always thought that they’d just bump into each other during an apocalypse, be too busy to hash out all the baggage, then they’d be forced to fight together during which Buffy would make snappy comments, Dawn would add in some biting sarcasm, mention that it was biting sarcasm, Buffy would remark on the lameness of her puns, they’d bond, and then go back to being friends and just ignore their issues, as per Scooby tradition.
Okay, so maybe Dawn had planned it a little.
This? This silent ride in the back of a limo with nothing to distract them from each other was not at all what Dawn was prepared for.
“So… Where are we going?” Dawn finally worked up the nerve to ask.
“…A restaurant,” Buffy answered after a moment.
Another minute passed in uncomfortable silence.
“Why are we going to a restaurant?”
Buffy sighed and looked out her window.
“Because you beat a human unconscious and broke his nose.” Buffy said that as if it explained everything.
So that was how it was going to be.
Dawn folded her arms and looked out her own window.
They didn’t speak again for the rest of the ride.
Only after they had pulled up outside the place, one of those super-expensive restaurants that only people rich enough to wipe their mouths with fifty-pound-notes ate at, did Dawn finally break the interminable silence.
“For the record, I broke his nose before
I knocked him unconscious.”
Dawn got out of the car before the valet could open the door and before she could see whatever look might be on Buffy’s face.
Dawn knew before they even entered the door that Sherlock was inside. She paused and looked at Buffy, but Buffy kept walking, nodding at the suited men – obviously security and obviously packing – who held the door open for her.
The place was empty, the lights low. It looked closed, except Dawn could smell and hear cooking going on in the kitchen in the back.
Buffy kept walking, knowing where she was going, and Dawn followed her, followed Sherlock’s scent. They walked through several interconnected and large rooms filled with dining tables, and finally into a small secluded area, cut off from the rest of the place by light, shimmering silk curtains.
The table was small, square, with fine linen table cloth and lavish place settings on it. There was a small candle in the center of the table, and low lit lamps were along the dark wood paneled walls.
Sherlock was sitting at the table, dark blue shirt and velvet coat on. But the bruising and swelling on his nose, the side of his face, and eye were the most notable features.
He smiled when he saw her, smiled like his face didn’t hurt to smile. Dawn paused at that. It wasn’t a smirk or a grimace, but an actual smile, like the kind he had worn on their walk whenever he had said something that impressed her or made her laugh.
Hurt wrenched in her gut, and her face didn’t change except to harden more. It was kind of hard to hate a guy when his face looked as pitiful as that, but Dawn wasn’t going to pity him or apologize for what she had done. He had earned it and she wasn’t going to forget that.
“You, my dear,” Sherlock spoke, his voice a low and gravelly, “…are magnificent
.” Oh ffff
Dawn turned to Buffy for help. No way in hell was she going to sit through an entire dinner with him, wearing a slinky dress at that, if the bastard was going to talk like that
Buffy wasn’t paying Dawn any attention and instead was smiling and holding her hand out to the other man in the room, a man dressed in a tailored grey three-piece suit and who had gotten up to greet them, subtly kicking Sherlock under the table as he did so.
“Miss Summers, how lovely to see you again,” he said as he bent over to kiss the back of Buffy’s hand.
“Mr. Holmes,” Buffy said simply, still smiling her sweet aren’t-I-just-a-cute-innocent-little-peach-who-wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly smile that had preceded a thousand violent deaths in the last year alone.
“And this must be your lovely younger sister, Dawn. You look radiant this evening my dear, if I may be so bold to say so.”
Dawn didn’t hold out her hand, or move at all.
The man, Mr. Holmes, didn’t miss a beat and gestured at the table. “Won’t you ladies sit down? Sherlock,” here he gestured at Sherlock who was still seated, languidly lounging with one arm thrown over the back of his chair and one foot crossed over his knee, and still smiling at Dawn.
“I believe you are already acquainted with the younger Miss Summers,” Mr. Holmes continued without a hint of irony, or even a hint of anything but polite pleasantness in his voice. “Allow me to introduce her older sister. Miss Summers, this is my younger brother, Sherlock.”
“Did your sister train you?” Sherlock asked abruptly, as he swung his leg down and put his elbows on the table, interlacing his fingers. “You must have been trained young. The absent father you mentioned, was he in the business? Or was it your mother?”
“Sherlock…” Mr. Holmes said, a hint of warning, like a parent scolding a young child.
“Bite me, jackass,” Dawn replied, folding her arms.
“Dawn,” Buffy bit out, with wide scolding eyes.
“That’s quite alright my dear,” said Mr. Holmes, addressing Buffy in that continuously pleasant, polite, yet slightly amused, tone of his. It was starting to creep Dawn out. In fact, the guy had been creeping her out ever since she laid eyes. He just had this aura of creepiness surrounding him. Kind of like Alan Cumming.
“I’m afraid Sherlock simply has that effect on people.” And then here his voice became slightly stressed and weary, “Many, many people.”
“Piss off, Mycroft.”
“Language, Sherlock. There are ladies present.”
They had managed to sit down without any further complications or interruptions, Mr. Holmes – Mycroft – holding out Buffy’s chair. A server who had been standing in the corner moved to assist Dawn, but she sat herself down before he could.
Buffy sat across from Mycroft. Dawn sat across from Sherlock, with Buffy on her left and Mycroft on her right, and the billowy silk curtains behind her. Sherlock had leaned back into his chair, but still had his eyes fixed on Dawn, silently observing her with his… his ‘observing’ stare. It was especially unnerving coming out of such a bruised face.
A waiter had entered the room and given them wine lists. Buffy and Mycroft discussed drinks while Dawn and Sherlock remained locked in a silent staring contest.
He wouldn’t stop smiling at her, now a small satisfied smirk, which was easier for her to deal with than his happy, pleased smile.
“What about you, Dawn?” Buffy asked. “What are you drinking?”
There are some opportunities in life than one is simply not allowed to pass up.
“I never drink,” Dawn said officiously as she reached for her water glass, “…wine,” she amended as she raised the glass to her lips and took a sip of water.
Sherlock didn’t twitch so much as a hair, and Buffy just handed her wine list back to the waiter.
Mycroft’s heart had sped up minutely for a few beats, and his nose twitched as he inhaled just a bit more than usual.
He recognized the quote.
Dawn turned away from staring at Sherlock to look at Mycroft. She gave him a big smile, one full of teeth. “Plus alcohol doesn’t really quench thirst, and I am
Mycroft’s face said he was relaxed and utterly fine with Dawn’s thirstiness, his company, the evening, and quite possibly the whole world.
His heart rate said something else.
Dawn slowly turned to look at Buffy, who was glaring at Dawn and looked like she had just swallowed a bug.
Dawn quickly glanced at Mycroft then back at Buffy. She raised an eyebrow.
Buffy pursed her lips.
Dawn lightly huffed and looked back at Sherlock, whose eyes were darting between members of the dinner party, and had taken on that slightly panicked look.
Dawn took another sip of her water and then smiled at him.
“I think we’re ready for the menus,” Mycroft addressed the newly returned waiter.
Buffy and Mycroft exchanged pleasantries about food in general, the menu, and the restaurant they were sitting in.
Dawn and Sherlock glared and observed one another respectively, only breaking the silence to not-order. “I’m not hungry.” “I’m not eating.” They both spoke at the same time and then went back to their staring contest. Their older siblings ordered for them.
Buffy and Mycroft exchanged pleasantries about the weather until the soup course arrived.
Pleasantries about weather turned into pleasantries concerning childhood anecdotes about the different climates they had grown up in, over the soup course.
At some point, Dawn got bored of glaring at Sherlock and deigned to eat a few spoonfuls of her creamy something-or-other soup.
Sherlock kept staring at her, not touching his bowl.
As the soup bowls were being taken away by the efficient staff, Sherlock abruptly turned to Buffy. “When were you recruited?”
“Hmm?” Buffy looked up at him, “Oh. Recruited into what?”
“Which business is that?”
“I think my brother is referring to the espionage business,” Mycroft interceded. “I told him you were in a line of work similar to mine and he irrationally assumed that meant you’re a spy.”
“Oh.” Buffy shrugged. “I’ve been called worse things. And college, to answer your question. There was this boyfriend,” Buffy sighed, “and he was working for a super-secret classified project. Things went downhill. The project blew up, we broke up, but…”
Buffy shrugged again. “Life works in funny ways sometimes. We still keep in touch.”
“Ah, the army boyfriend. The one who ‘showed you some things.’” Sherlock quoted back at Dawn.
The main course arrived.
“You were what, 12, 13? You did start young.”
“Actually I tried to keep Dawn as far away from that world as possible,” Buffy cut off Dawn before she could speak.
“But wouldn’t you know it, younger siblings can just be so nosey sometimes.” Buffy wore a rueful smile as she cut into her filet. Her face sobered. “Then Mom passed away, and I got custody. I had to drop out of school, and minimum wage just wouldn’t cut it. So I chose a different career path.”
Buffy took a bite and chewed her food. She took a sip of wine.
“And may I say, the world is a far safer and more civilized place for that choice,” Mycroft said with a smile.
Sherlock and Dawn rolled their eyes simultaneously.
Buffy gave a small self deprecating smile. “Yes, well, to the point: Dawn is technically employed by my group, but only on a part-time basis. She’s got her own life, her own ambitions to follow,” Dawn noticed a tiny hint of sadness in that sentence. “She’s involved just enough for me to keep an eye on her. And frankly I’d like to keep it that way.” This was directed at Sherlock.
He sighed. “Oh of course I won’t go outing her as a foreign agent. If the British government,” here he glared at Mycroft, “is content to let her operate on our soil, I hardly have a say in the matter, now do I?”
“I am not–” Dawn started.
Buffy kicked her under the table.
Dawn glared at Buffy.
“Yes, well, I believe that brings us to the reason for this little get-together,” Mycroft interrupted the sisters’ glaring.
“And thank you for that charming little story, Miss Summers,” Sherlock interrupted his brother, straightening in his chair and putting his elbows on the sides of his untouched plate of food. “Filled with only half-truths no doubt.”
Buffy seemed to ponder that as she chewed. “Hmm. More like three-quarters, actually.”
Buffy shrugged and hmm’ed.
“As I was saying,” Mycroft began, “the reason for this dinner is to present you both with an agreement that should satisfy both parties.”
Dawn turned to Buffy. Sherlock turned to Mycroft.
“First off,” Buffy continued, “all charges and suits have been dropped.”
Sherlock and Dawn both opened their mouths, but before they could utter a sound, Mycroft charged on. “It’s already done. Furthermore, Sherlock will not enter your flat again.” This was addressed to Dawn. Mycroft turned and looked chidingly at his brother. “If he does, I’m quite certain the security measures you’ve put in place, as well as the ones yet to be installed, will catch him at it. And I will personally see to it that he is evicted from the building.”
The look on Sherlock’s face was one of mild hostility.
“It’s for your own good, dear brother.”
“In return,” here Buffy added her two cents, “Dawn will not enter Sherlock’s flat, or hit or slap or in any way hurt him ever again,” here, a glare directed at Dawn. “She won’t even talk to him if she passes him in the hallway.”
Dawn looked offended.
“That means no talking back or getting into a fight if he insults you, no matter how angry you are, and no correcting him when he makes wrong guesses about you.”
Now Sherlock looked offended.
“I don’t care what his opinion of you is, and you shouldn’t either. Let him think what he wants. The way I see it, the more wrong he is, the better off you’ll be.”
Buffy turned back to her plate and took another bite. Mycroft did the same.
Sherlock looked at Dawn.
Dawn looked at Sherlock.
“I can live with that,” Dawn broke the silence.
Sherlock sighed. “Oh, very well.”
Okay, first, for any Alan Cumming fans: Yes, he's pretty. And sexy. But he has this "Why yes, I AM a serial killer. Would you like to see my toe collection?" smirk that he uses sometimes, and he was the PBS Masterpiece Mystery spokesman that introduced 'A Study in Pink' and he was wearing these strappy suspenders and he weirded me out, okay?
Secondly, "I never drink. Wine." may be the most famous Dracula quote ever, and you can watch it here.
I think it's safe to assume Buffy hasn't seen a movie made before 1980 without being forced, and ditto for Sherlock, without the 'before 1980' caveat. Mycroft has seen all the classics of course.
Finally, there have been some questions about Buffy's behavior, as well as Sherlock's. This fic is in Dawn POV, so I'm not going to write in what other characters are thinking or what their motivations are, but I think some of your questions will be answered in the next few chapters. Keep the crit coming, it makes me think and ponder over things, and I do take your comments into account when writing.