After their father had left to go back to his hotel room for the evening Buffy confronted Dawn on just what had happened at dinner between Ric and Damon. "What was that?" the blond slayer asked.
Dawn swallowed and shuffled her books back into her messenger bag as she carefully thought over a possible answer. Finally she simply told the truth, "it's an issue between Ric and Damon."
Taking a seat on the edge of Dawnie's bed, Buffy picked at the violet comforter and thought of how to get them back to good again. "I know things have been tense between us these last few weeks... But I... Please Dawn can we just be okay again?" Her face was filled with the pain and tension she'd been feeling these last few weeks.
The brunette girl sat next to her older sister on the bed, "we are okay Buffy. No matter how pissed we might get at each other, we'll always be sisters."
Buffy started crying and nearly crumbled as the younger woman wrapped her into a hug. "I lost you, and I was so scared and then you wouldn't talk to me. I thought you hated me," she sobbed and let her sister rock her smaller frame.
"I could never hate you," Dawn whispered into her sisters hair.
Damon stood in the shadows of the youngest Summer's bedroom later that night watching her stare at the ceiling until finally she spoke. "You know, what you did to Ric earlier at dinner was just plain cruel."
He nodded slowly in the dark, still slightly tipsy from drinking so much earlier that evening. "Yeah, I know it was."
Sitting up in bed she studied him, "are you drunk?"
"Little bit," he responded holding up a thumb and forefinger.
Sighing she pulled back the covers and scooted over, "get in." Damon crossed the room, slipping out of his jacket and kicking off his shoes before climbing in next to her. Once he had settled down and they lay side by side facing one another in the darkened room she spoke again. "I'm not going to break up with Marcus just because I slept with you, Damon."
Stroking a line down her back gently he swallowed thickly, "I know. What did that mean? The thing the monk said about protecting her?"
Dawn rolled onto her back and tried to ignore the feel of him pressed against her side. "I don't know, Damon. I'll come over tomorrow and see what I can find out, okay."
He nuzzled against the side of her throat, wrapping his arms close around her. "You're still going to help me?"
"Yeah," she sighed.
After sometime in the quiet dark together with his arms wrapped around her slender waist the pretty young brunette spoke again. "My dad showed up today, we were expecting him but..." she shrugged slightly.
Damon squeezed her gently and placed a small kiss on the back of her neck. "I'm sorry, I know he wasn't there for you when you needed him to be. My dad was the same way."
"You're dad was a senator," she whispered.
"You saw that?" he questioned with a slight smirk.
Turning over her pale blue eyes met his own, "Katherine too. She was very pretty and... just.... You love her."
The Immortal swallowed thickly, "I did but.. Why wasn't she there? Why hasn't she said anything after all this time?"
"I don't Damon, and all of this... It would be easier if we had those answers," Dawn admitted.
"I'm so sorry," he pleaded, his cool breath brushing against her face.
She could feel his forehead pressed against her own and see the outline of his chiseled jaw in the moonlight. "Lets just get some sleep Damon, we can work on the rest of this tomorrow," the ex-watcher finally sighs.
His long fingered hand stroked through her hair turning her further to face him. Dawn could feel it coming even before his lips brushed lightly against her own. But she jerked her head away before he could deepen the kiss any further. "I can't do this, I won't," she protested rolling onto her other side, putting her back to him. He frowned and snuggled closer to her yet again, spooning against her. "I have too many issues with men leaving me, and you're just another name on that list now. It takes time to heal," she whispered in the dark.
Wrapping his arms around her waist and placing gentle kisses against the back of her neck instead he relaxed into her. "Fair enough, but I'm still gonna hold you."
"Okay," Dawn whispered.
Sunlight was shimmering through the windows when Dawn finally woke up the next morning. Damon's arms were still wrapped around her as he slept peaceful for the first time since the night they had slept together. Looking up at him from her where her head rested on his shoulder the young Summers woman reflected on how different her life had become since meeting him. In the last year she had gone from being the semi-useless research expert helping to fight a war that was never her own, to ex-watcher and supreme screw up, cheat, and all around liar. Good move Dawn, she thought to herself almost angrily.
A knock sounded on her door causing her to jerk her head in that direction. Carefully untucking herself from Damon's embrace she unfolded her long limbs and went to open her bedroom door. Just before opening it though she turned to where her lover had been asleep in her bed only to find him gone. A quick search of her surroundings found him on the fire escape just outside, flashing her a wink before disappearing into the early light of day.
Shaking her head Dawn finally answered her door to a smiling sister. “Jeez, were you sleeping still?” the blond perkily asked.
“Uh, yeah,” the brunette nodded somewhat drearily.
“Well hurry up and get ready, we’re meeting Dad for breakfast,” Buffy admonished before bouncing off again.
An hour later found the sisters and their absentee father sitting at the very cafe Damon had first joined Dawn at. The waiters there had immediately brought the pretty brunette her usual espresso and croissant, giving Buffy and Hank curious stares. Once the two new guests had ordered they had begun some light chatter amongst themselves, nearly forgetting the younger girl.
After half and hour Hank finally set his light brown eyes on his youngest offspring. “So Dawn,” she looked up from her coffee to meet his gaze. “Have you been feeling alright since your accident? I understand it was quite serious.” When she didn’t answer for a long moment he continued on, “no mental duress or any other...em... changes?”
Finally she responded to him with a cold level voice, “why? Do you want to lock me up in asylum like you did Buffy?”
Buffy quickly admonished her younger sister, not understanding the younger woman’s hostility. Dawn however only stared silently at her plate but didn’t move to apologize what so ever for the harsh comment. Buffy shook her head, “I’m gonna go to the bathroom.” Then looking back at her sister’s slouched form she tried to stress her next words. “Try to get along, please.”
Hank slowly reached his large tanned hand across the small cafe table to grip that of his youngest daughter. “I’m sorry if you mistook me honey, I’m just really worried about you. Is it so wrong for me to want you safe?”
Pulling her hand away she shook her head, “maybe you should have considered that three years ago when Mom died. Buffy and I have had plenty of accidents since then.” Standing up she threw down enough euros to cover half their bill, Hank was about to stop her when she looked at him in utter disdain. “Don’t worry, Buffy and I are used to splitting the bills since all we have is each other.”
When the petite blond stepped out of the bathroom it was to see her younger sister throwing down some money and walking out. Shaking her head slightly she returned to their table.
“I just keep messing up with you two,” Hank told her almost sadly.
Buffy shrugged, “she’ll be okay.”
Chuckling lightly he nodded, “I know, she’s strong. You both are, but God knows you didn’t get it from me.” After pausing Mr. Summers affirmed, “I’m so proud of you both, Buffy.”
This comment left the eldest of his daughters smiling, but he interrupted their happy moment. “Now I have to go to a business meeting but I’ll be by later tonight,” standing up he paid the rest of the bill himself.
“Okay, Dad,” she nodded grabbing her coat.
Damon was sober for the first time in over a month and was finally seeking the assistance of his lawyer. For the unlife of him he couldn’t remember the small mouthy Asian man’s name though. He was about to get back on the elevator after asking the man to find out if there had been any sightings of his wayward sire when a tall tan man with sandy brown hair walked past. Immediately Damon paused, catching the scent of lilac’s and blackberries clinging to the man’s skin along with another familiar and yet implacable scent.
Once the man had passed he turned back to his still prattling geek of a lawyer, “who was that man just now?”
“Oh,” the idiot smiled and nodded. “That’s Hank Summers, he’s the CEO of our Madrid division. He’s just in town visiting his daughters.” When Damon looked back at the man with a slightly raised brow. “I... I could introduce you though,” he stuttered out nervously.
Damon knew he frightened the little worm of a man and ususally he enjoyed playing on that fear, today however he was feeling less patient. “Daughters?” he drawled tiredly.
The lawyer chuckled nervously and scratched the back of his head, “yeah, his eldest is a slayer of all things. Talk about irony.”
“And the other?” Damon pushed on with a smirk and quirked brow.
The idiot only shook his head, “just a girl, I guess. Nobody important.”
“Hmm,” the vampire answered shortly before stepping onto the elevator alone.
Dawn found herself back in her library the next night and had to admit, if only to herself that she had missed this space. She and Damon were nestled away in the upstairs section he had previously devoted to Katherine, reviewing everything they had found so far. He was pacing, scotch in hand as she lay on her stomach, head propped up in her hands reading through her earlier notes.
Damon couldn’t help but think that she looked entirely too sweet, whimsical, and just plain sexy in that pose. Shaking his head he paced the length of the room again only to find himself turning to look at the extremely tempting curve of her backside. Moving to face her once more he decided that perhaps talking instead of just watching her would prove to be a safer route.
“Did you know,” he asked, swirling his drink slowly. “That your father is the CEO of the Madrid offices of Wolfram&Hart?”
Looking up she half way nodded very slowly, “I knew he was a lawyer there, but the promotions new.... Buffy doesn’t though. She still has delusions of Dad being a descent human being.”
Damon only pointed out, “being human doesn’t make you descent.” Her blue eyes only met his calmly without any denial of that simple truth. He continued on after a short pause, “what’s he doing here?”
Sitting up she shrugged and then tiredly rolled her shoulders, “supposedly he’s here checking up on us and visiting.”
“You don’t believe it?” the vampire pointed out.
Standing up Dawn took his drink from his hands and took a long pull on it before handing the glass back empty. “With Dad... never.”
Across town Hank Summers was walking through the myriad and maze of streets and alleys that comprised the Roman city. Shadows seemed to be chasing his every step, as if sensing them the older man picked up his pace. After a few moments he was a at near run from the perpetual darkness that seemed to be stalking him. Finally turning a corner only two blocks from his daughters’ apartment. Sighing a heavy startled breath he stopped suddenly, seeing the lithe figure emerging from the darkness.
It was a beautiful, olive skinned beauty; young, far too young for him. She had a long dark shock of silken hair and almond eyes that smiled wickedly at him. “Katherine,” he sighed in relief.
“Hello Hank,” she cooed gently before stepping from the darkness to wrap her thin arms around his neck and lock lips with him passionately.