Richard grunted loudly from the living room of his aunts house. It was blazing hot and there was no wind, a fact he should have remembered from last summer. Thankfully it wasn't the damp heat of Missouri that was killing him, just the dry heat of California. He barely turned his head when Dawn entered the living room, but once he glimpsed her, he knew he was boiling.
“C'mon, we're going to go to the caves,” Dawn smiled, reaching for his wrist and pulling him up. “It's totally cool down there and there's an underground lake.”
“Who's we?” Richard asked. “And how do you know there isn't anything lurking in the bottom?” Lakes in California (and most of the west) were notorious for housing spirits that enjoyed drowning people.
“We is Janice and me,” Richard heard his cousin shoot up from the couch. He'd been too hot to text, so obviously knew nothing of the plans. “And there's nothing in the bottom because it got taken care of last week by Spike.”
Richard couldn't find a reason to argue. Especially when a cheerleader in a sky blue bikini and sandals was begging him to come. He'd be thankful for the cool water in fact.
“Besides, we need you to drive,” Dawn smiled.
“Is that all I'm good for?” Richard asked with a laugh, amazed he hadn't suspected sooner. “And don't you have a permit?”
“It was kind of revoked,” Dawn smiled at him innocently. “Turns out, going fifteen miles over the limit is too much. C'mon, drive us? Please?”
The now eighteen year old let out a groan as lashes were batted at him hopefully. “It's so far to the car, and I have to go outside...”
After a bit more playful whining, Richard drove the car full of teenagers to the cave. He wasn't exactly surprised to find there were others there on that brilliantly baking day. Buffy and Willow were there for one, while Xander and a blonde he hadn't met were also hanging out in the cool sand by the water. Someone had a stereo playing and the atmosphere inside the cave was very relaxed and happy.
“Oh, it already feels nicer,” Janice sighed as she lay down on the blanket she and Dawn had brought. The cave was a good twenty degrees cooler than the outside world and Richard could feel the sweat on his neck cooling a bit too quickly.
“I know right?” Dawn smiled as she simply sat in the cool air. She'd been the only one who hadn't gotten gross from the trek to the cave from the car. “I almost just want to take a nap instead of Swim.”
“Well I know I'm not going into that water,” Janice scowled. “There's no chlorine or anything.”
That statement right there caused a near manic grin to spread over Leijah Zeeman's face. A grin that made Janice run while Elijah chased her across the sand before catching up and throwing her over his shoulder.
“I'd guess the water would be even colder than the cave,” Richard snickered as he claimed Janice's place on th eblanket for himself.
Dawn was laughing beside Richard and even the other party across the way was watching with amusement. With a giant splash, Elijah dumped himself and his prize into what Richard assumed was icy water. When the two came up in a spluttering laughing mess, Richard saw Xander and his blonde girlfriend make their way towards the water as well, the blonde pushing him in instead.
“The lake is fed by a hot spring,” Dawn explained as the others got in. Willow was still on the beach waiting for someone. “So I'm guessing that it's not too hot today.” The young teen stood from the blanket and pulled her wrap off as she kicked off her flipflops. “C'mon!”
After a few hours of playing like a normal teenager, Richard was glad to see that the girls had brought food with them. Girls were so smart. The other party across the lake had gotten bigger as evening fell, the twenty somethings being joined by a few men and a woman. A blonde woman who was apparently Willow's girlfriend. One of the men was obviously a soldier and the other was an older British man that Dawn described as being something like a father to her and Buffy.
“Mostly to Buffy though,” Dawn shrugged as she made a sandwich. “Angel seemed pretty dad-ish when he was around though.” She refused to let anyone make their own, batting their hands away when they tried. Closing it up she handed it to Richard, the only one besides Dawn who hadn't gotten one yet.
“So is your dad not around much?” Richard asked before taking a bite.
“Pfft, thats the understatement of the century. He's off in Spain with some secretary right now. He still sends me mail and stuff sometimes, but Angel does the same thing if not more.”
“Angel?” He'd heard the name before, last summer.
“Yeah,” Dawn nodded, closing her sandwich. She barely had any meat on it, mostly just vegetation and cheese. “Buffy used to date this guy, he was a vampire, but he was actually kind of cool. Angel says I look like his baby sister so he spoils me like crazy and likes to terrify my boyfriends.”
Richard looked at the slim woman as she sat, gauging his reaction. Not many could claim having a vampire as a godfather. And Dawn seemed like a very sane young woman. She didn't have any bite marks and for the most part she didn't like the dark and scary.
“Bet it comes in handy,” Richard finally said. Just to prove how okay he was with it he took another bite.
“A little bit,” Dawn smiled finally. A bright sunshine filled smile. “Especially with history reports.”
“Does he have any magic powers?” Richard finally asked. Janice and Elijah had gone back into the water to make out and Dawn's elders had left for pizza.
“Does brooding count?” Dawn laughed. “I don't really know, he acts like a normal guy most of the time. I do know he's Aurelian.”
Richard blinked. “I've read about them, they're like, the second step up from the neanderthal version of vampires.”
“That would explain the forehead,” Dawn nodded seriously.
“Not like that,” Richard laughed. “They're supposed to be way stronger and faster than the other lines. And smarter too.”
“They also have bumpy foreheads,” Dawn told him. “When they get angry or hungry their faces turn all bumpy and bat-like.”
“Yeah. It's makes this sick crunching sound when they morph. Drusilla used to like to do it to mess with me.”
Richard learned more about the girl he would one day have as a girlfriend as Dawn explained a few facts to him. Apparently, Dawn and Buffy were slightly related to Angel, the male vampire having had a child when when he was turned in the 1700's. The child was raised by a convent and eventually had his own family. Then during the Victorian era Angel turned one of his own descendants, Drusilla. Her brother had a family in America and from them came the Summers.
“Thats why he's so stuck on us. He loves Buffy in the husband way and he loves me in the fatherly way.”
“That's really bizarre.” Richard finally said. The cave was chilling now and the water was steaming slightly. It look very inviting right now.
“It's something else,” Dawn agreed. “Come on, I can see you staring at the lake like a dog looks at a steak.” She rose from her place and started towards the warmed lake.