I do not own Buffy, Angel, Highlander, or any other media mentioned in this piece of fanfiction. If I owned any of the aforementioned franchises I would not be writing fanfiction and taking out student loans. I would just be taking out student loans...
That was a pretty good word to describe how she felt right now. A little sullen, a bit depressed, incredibly melancholy. She supposed that she was thankful for her new watcher job. True she was a research girl, and yes she'd even turned one of the library alcoves into her personal bedroom, but as a watcher she had health insurance.
And health insurance meant glasses for reading and using the computer, something she'd been desperately needing. It meant that she could finally get on birth control like she'd been wanting to, as a precautionary measure of course because you never knew who or what you were going to end up doing in this field. And even better, she got her happy pills.
Speaking of which, she needed some right now. Because a depressed Dawn wasn't something anyone wanted to see. So she took pills at a time and with every toss of her head felt a bit happier. Well, maybe she felt more detached, yes, detached. And if you were detached you certainly couldn't feel sad about things, or angry, or happy. But everyone always confused her detached smile with a happy one.
She remembered an old proverb she'd seen once in the diary of a Chinese watcher, 'You cannot love without knowing pleasure, have sorrow without knowing happiness. You need to know all of them to know one of them'.
Yeah well, sorrow and her were old friends, and there were a few times when she was genuinely happy, but the only place she'd ever truly had any pleasing experience was in the stacks. Not in a physical way, a pleasant satisfaction really over her discoveries, or her new-found facts, new languages learned. But that was more a sense of satisfaction than anything else.
The big clock in the library chimed and Dawn looked up to see what time it was, adjusting her glasses as she did so. She needed to grab some lunch, maybe take a step outside. Better yet, she was close enough to a city, and most of the slayers were sleeping off the patrol of the previous night. Mind made up, she went to down to the extensive garage and made her way into the city for a bite to eat.
She'd stopped interfering in the lives of everyone around her about a year ago, and ended up the better for it. Now, it was like living with strangers you were related to. Sure you might eat together, or give each other greetings in the hallway, but that was it. Dawn's head was starting to hurt again and her emotions were starting to come back, but she was feeling anger more than anything. So she decided against taking a pill, preferring instead to let herself fume and get angry about everything. Maybe she actually needed a psychiatrist, like they'd suggested. It would get her out of the house, give her something to do.
Dawn faintly wondered if this right here was the life of an American housewife. Drugs, cleaning, working, a family you didn't know but had invested hours of blood and sweat and tears into. The offer of support that was never taken, never getting the support you needed.
“Shit.” Her depression was back. Luckily a restaurant was right across the way from her current location, and after finding a place to park, she sat down with some lemon water. After a quick consult of the menu and her wallet, she ordered a light salad topped with raspberries, fresh parmigiana, and roast duck. She was actually lucky she arrived when she did, because not a few moments after, the place was flooded. And she felt sorry for some of them, couples and groups of harried secretaries. She didn't feel so sorry for the more overweight businessmen though, or the uppity looking women with too many pearls. But then he entered.
Tall, slim, completely hidden under a baggy cream colored sweater and some jeans. He had dark features and long dark hair, darker and curlier than her own. A trench coat was thrown over his arm and a bit of stubble littered his chin. He looked annoyed and a bit disappointed at the lack of tables, but he also looked as though he was willing to wait. But Dawn felt something from him. She knew he was older than he looked, he also had what could be called 'a touch of destiny' in him, to quote her second favorite hottie-fest movie (her favorite was Once upon a Time in Mexico). She needed him for some reason, badly. Grabbing the nearest waiter, she smiled sweetly at him.
“I'm sorry, but my boyfriend just walked in and I don't think he saw me. Older man, cream sweater? Could you be a dear and grab him for me?”
The waiter was disappointed, but did as told, and Dawn was impressed when Sweater didn't look surprised. His gait was confident, and sure. She knew that he was a warrior, even if no one else did. Then again, she was accustomed to dealing with centuries old vampires and demons and slayers. Noticing this sort of thing was part of staying alive; warriors were easy to spot after a while.
“Ah, darling,” he spoke happily as he leaned in for a kiss. Not only was his voice something else with his romantic Scottish brogue, but he could kiss. When he pulled away she sat there in a stunned, but happy, daze. Very faintly she could hear him order and ask for her meal to be held until his was ready.
“I should invite people to sit at my table more often,” she said when she finally could speak again.
“I should hope you don't, what would people say my dear?” his tone was teasing, though Dawn was praying that the joking manner wasn't a farce. “In all seriousness though, thank you. I'm so used to waiting an hour just to get lunch here. But look at me now, I have the company of a lovely young woman, and I get to eat on time.”
“You're just saying that,” she blushed, looking into her water. Her glasses slipped a little and she reached up to readjust them, noticing the layers of dust on her clothes. “Ungh, I know you were just saying that now, I'm covered in dust and I probably look like a complete mess.”
“Oh I don't know, the busboys have been staring at you whenever they can,” he took a sip of his water. “And I know a lust filled look when I see one.”
A blushing Dawn was saved by the arrival of their food, though Sweater hadn't ordered a steak at all, rather a simple soup and sandwich combo with a pint of lager. An iced tea was set down by her salad and the man smiled.
“You were out of water. I hope I ordered the right thing?”
“Thank you actually, I was sort of waiting for someone to ask me about my drink, by-product of living in America I guess.”
“I lived over there for a time,” he admitted. “I had an antiques shop in Washington before I became a history teacher.” Of course, he wouldn't tell her that he'd been through most of the battles he taught and sold most of his personal junk from the years past.
“Yeah? I grew up in L.A. Then my mother and sister and I lived in Sunnydale until it fell in on itself.”
“Sunnydale? Mm, I heard they fell into a sinkhole.” He could see the lie in her eyes, she knew it wasn't a sinkhole just as he knew. “Then again, that's what lots of people call Hellmouths.” He saw her choke on her food and he wondered what had possessed him to say something like that. Especially when she looked up at him suspiciously. She must attended the slayer school on the city outskirts. “Relax, I'm no demon or vampire.”
“Warlock?” she asked suspiciously. She had the worst luck.
“Werewolf?” He'd make a fine werewolf.
“No,” he laughed.
“You aren't an Incubus are you?”
“I've been accused of it, but no.” He was laughing now.
Dawn pursed her lips. There was something about him, he wasn't normal, then again neither was she. But something about him...
“Give up?” Why was he spilling everything so easily? Why did he want her to know all of this about him?
“No!” she pouted. “I'll figure it out one day mister...what is your name by the way?”
“Ha! Duncan MacLeod, of the clan MacLeod.” He took her hand into his and laid a soft kiss upon the skin, the look in his eyes perfectly aware of the heat coursing through her body and the tingles where his skin touched hers.
“Dawn Summers,” she got out eventually.
“I've heard of you,” and Dawn resisted the urge to roll her eyes, this meant he knew of her sister, she should have known- “Joe and Adam are constantly praising your work. They're watchers.” Dawn blinked in surprise. Giles had said something about her being in the newsletter but...well now she was seriously stumped! How did he know watchers?
“Do you,” she hesitated. “Could we meet for coffee maybe?”
“I'd like that.” Her reached into his pocket and pulled his wallet out as he fished about for a business card, and handed it over. Duncan MacLeod, Antiques Dealer. Below it was the standard contact information, business hours, location, what-have-you. “Don't worry about the hour, Adam and Joe usually have me at the bar enjoying a drink. And I'd like to hear your voice when I'm with those two old men.”
Dawn laughed, knowing how old watchers could get, swapping stories about their slayers and competing with their knowledge of the trivial and arcane. She reached into her purse and fished out her own business card. Dawn Summers, Watcher. Though her card lacked hours and location. Everyone had decided that it was just too silly to try and mark their locations, they were always changing.
“That's my cell, so you're guaranteed to get me.” And not the rest of the house.
“I'll be sure to call,” he glanced at his watch and smiled ruefully. “I have to get back, Adam was supposed to drop in with a new shipment. If I'm not there he'll break in and draw smiley faces all over my things.”
Dawn couldn't help the giggle that escaped as he spoke before mowing down his sandwich and drinking his soup quickly. Smiling at her, he wiped his mouth and stood up before leaning in to kiss her on the cheek.
“Remember our wedding shower is in a week Muffintoes.”
“Wouldn't forget it for the world, Cuddlebunny.”
Dawn noticed then that he'd paid for the bill during the conversation. Well, if he was an evil guy, he at least had manners. Smiling to herself, she got up and headed back to Slayer Central, truly happy.