Tapping On My Heart***
Dawn’s always loved to dance. When she was younger her mom used to buckle her into the car twice a week to drive to her lesson where she twirled and spun with an uncommonly solemn expression. The youngest Summers wasn’t known for her calm composure or serenity (as Willow once put it, she was a bit of a spaz) but all that whirlwind of energy; the demanding curiosity, that itch to know stuff
fell silent when she danced. A hush descended on her soul as it fell away. It was to her the peace other Scoobies found in meditation.
It was also liberating. There was a confidence that came with an inner balance that she never quite could reach in everyday life. Her self-confidence had grown by leaps and bounds, no one could argue that, but there was a touch of uncertainty that was part of her nature. Exhibit A: RJ; only on the dance floor had she ever felt even odds for his attentions.
The thought of fawning that way over a boy now was nauseating. She had seen the dark side of obsession from the front end of a train, her dreamy eyes and fan girl moments had never quite been the same after that.
When Joyce fell ill there hadn’t been anyone to pick up the slack on Dawn duty to chauffer her back and forth from the studio. After she died Buffy had had even less time and on top of that there was no money.
With Buffy comatose for a year after her rest in heaven abruptly ended, Dawn’s sticky fingers, the First, wannabe teenagers invading Casa Summers and so many nights lost to grieving she hadn't had a chance to miss it.
But maybe it was different now.***“You’re sending me to LIMA?! No! What did I do? You can’t do this to me!”
“Dawn, this isn’t a punishment.”
“Well it sure feels like it! I-I thought things would be different now…But you still don’t want me around! You don’t trust me! Why can’t I go to school here with Vi and the others?”
“Don’t try and make this about something it’s not. This is going to be Sunnydale all over again and I won’t have time to keep you safe. High school on a Hell Mouth isn’t a walk in the park!”
“It’s not fair! I helped against the First last year just like everyone else! I deserve to be here!”
“The fact that you can’t see how dangerous it is after all this just shows that you aren’t ready!”
“FINE! It’s not as if I’m your real sister or anything! You’ll have plenty of little Slayers to take your precious time now!”
“No! It’s fine! I get it. Can’t have Dawn anywhere she could get in trouble and distract the precious Slayers from their training. Better get started packing. The sooner I’m gone the better, right?”
“That’s not it! I just want you to be safe!”
When they left Sunnydale Dawn had dreams they might end up in a city somewhere, like Rome or New York. Somewhere big, with sprawling blocks of bustling streets, tall buildings and lots of culture, where she could go shopping in glamorous districts and visit famous museums packed with history.
Cleveland was hardly a cultural hub but compared to Lima it might as well have been New York. It was her first day of school and nothing seemed to have changed from Sunnydale. Small town high schools were the same everywhere, in California or Ohio.
The jocks were still dumb giants with small brains, the cheer leaders were too good looking and self-involved, the entire school was obsessed with football and the losers and nobody’s still slipped through the cracks to the bottom of the order, invisible.
Everyone had the same circle of friends they had had since grade school, locked securely in the safety of their cliques while the lonesome looked on from the outside, unable to penetrate the unbreakable barriers of the social hierarchy. Dawn was new, she wasn’t especially popular or athletic, and she didn’t have any friends secured from years of growing up together. There was nothing that stood out about her that would give her a pass into any of these tightly guarded worlds, or slot her into a particular niche.
She needed an in if she was going to find her place here. But she didn’t want to be here and that the sense of isolation wasn’t a strong motivating factor to drive her to look for one.
All of her teachers liked her. She wasn’t nerdy enough to fit in with the book thumping crowd of serious intellectuals who seemed to lack many basic social cues, but she did well and was bright. Her Spanish teacher especially noted she did very well in his class; she had always been good with languages.
Mr. Schuester wasn’t as oblivious as her other teachers. They smiled politely at her when she handed in her work on time, giving her a pleased look when they returned her tests with A’s scratched on in red pen, but none of them looked any further. They didn’t notice how she kept to herself in class, happy that she didn’t interrupt, failing to catch she didn’t seem to interact with anyone at all. They didn’t see how she sat alone in the lunch room each day in the mess of laughter and banter.
Mr. Schuester noted the lonely look in her eyes and grasped what it meant because it was a familiar sight that made his heart ache. So even after he went out of his way to make her feel welcome, the brown haired girl still held her distance, he found himself thinking about her the same way he did about the Glee kids. In a short amount of time she had squirmed her way into his heart and seeing the same lost look as Rachel, or Kurt and all the others twisted something inside him.
He invited her to join the Glee club.***“Me? Glee club? Haha! You’re pretty funny, Mr. Schue.”
“No, really, Dawn. I think we could really use someone like you on the team.”
“Once our neighbour complained that our cat was interrupting her afternoon nap. It was me singing along to the Pokémon opening.”
“I’m sure you’re not as bad as you think.”
“She told Mom she should consider getting it fixed because it was unfair to let a cat in heat wander around when our local shelters were already filled to capacity.”
“Glee isn’t just about singing. That’s a big part of it, yes, but it’s about being in something bigger than yourself. There’s a place there for anyone who wants to join.”
“I just don’t think it’s for me.”
“What about dancing? We do some great choreography. Or if you’re into fashion we could always use help on our costumes.”
“Dancing?...And I wouldn’t have to sing, if I didn’t want to?”
“Not a note.”
“I’ll think about it.”***
Glee club is just like she described cliques; it’s like its own little world. They all whine that to the rest of the school they’re losers, that no one knows who they are and how they want to be popular, but they’re all so caught up in their drama that half the time Dawn thinks they forget there’s life outside the choir room. It’s like one big incestuous family where everyone bickers and dates each other in combinations she hasn’t quite managed to unravel. Even the jocks and the Cheerios seem to date within the club. It’s confusing and it takes a while before Dawn gets it. A lot of them don’t even seem to like each other, some even hate each other.
Why do they force themselves be in the presence of people they obviously can’t stand?
Because that’s exactly what a family is. Underneath it all they care about each other. The popular ones date inside Glee because deep down they know the others
, the outsiders, won’t understand them the way these teammates do, who have seen the best and worst of them.
It isn’t an immediate acceptance. They don’t welcome her with open arms, it’s slow and not even Mr. Schuester’s vouch gets her insider status right away. She’s met mostly with indifference and in a few cases suspicion but Dawn has her own trust issues and she isn’t exactly going out of her way earn their friendship. She hadn’t realized how big a crime it was to be openly into the Arts at this school. Glee Club is the equivalent of Math Club at her old school and just because she wasn’t jumping to come here doesn’t been she wants to become a pariah in a Club that doesn’t really want or need her.
So for the first two meetings she sits there quietly while some girl named Rachel with a big voice and bigger dreams monopolized most of the time. Dawn will openly admit she’s beyond good, the best she’s ever heard, even if she comes in a small and sometimes (OK a lot) abrasive package. She sort of sees why the others like it, but there’s nothing to really draw her
in, and she’s thinking that at the end of the week she’s going to tell Mr. Schue thanks, but it’s not for her.
Then on Friday’s lesson Mr. Schue asks her to fill in for some girl named Tina that dresses like Drusilla and has a personality as far from Spike’s ex-girlfriend as possible who sprained her ankle. She takes her place on Tina’s partner’s arm, blushes slightly when she realizes she has no name for him other than Other Asian. Then the music starts and she doesn’t care anymore.
All that matters is suddenly she’s moving, somewhat stiffly as her body remembers long unused muscles. She stretches, dips, spins, and its all there is; her, the music, and the boy spinning around. And boy, can her partner dance.
By the end of practice she has discovered two things; the fantastic dancer’s name is Mike, not Other Asian, although she guiltily can’t seem to stop referring to him as that in her head, and that she now absolutely understands what the magic is about Glee club.
A bright smile is stuck on her face that won’t seem to fade and to her surprise she gets more than a few answering ones in return on her way out.***“So, Dawnster, how are you liking your new school? Gotten into any crazy hijinks I should know about? Any guys I need set the fear of God into? You let me know. I can have Wills zap her way over there in a nano for an impromptu shovel speech.”
“Naw. My love life remains a big empty field of nothing.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. Clearly, those men are idiots who don’t know a good thing when they see it. Inbred hicks, I tell ya. You’re probably not close enough on their family trees. They like to keep it in the family.”
“You’re making me feel so much better about being here. It’s not that bad.”
“Really? Well that’s a huge change of tune since I last called. What happened?”
“Well…funny you mention tunes…”***
When Rachel Berry sings people feel
. It’s just the hold she has when she raises that inconceivable voice and sings
. She sings with everything she has, she lets it all bare, every last bit, she puts her soul on her sleeve and that along with her sheer talent makes even people like Puckerman fall under her spell.
Dawn isn’t immune to her influence, not at all, she thinks Rachel’s voice could touch a stone, but what other people describe isn’t quite the same. Dawn thinks maybe there isn’t room in one person for more than one connection that deep, that jolting. It would be too much. So maybe that’s why she isn’t quite as impressed as the others.
The thing she craves most about dancing is the feeling of centre as for those minutes the world a lines. Before Glee Club she only found that in her own flow into the music, never watching someone else. There are plenty of good dancers in Glee, but Brittany outshines them all. For some reason when the blonde Cheerio dances Dawn can’t draw her eyes away, she moves with the kind of grace Dawn only dreamt of achieving, every move perfectly synced like this was the way she born to move and walking is the thing she has to practice to achieve.
Actually, for Brittany, that might be true.***“Psst.”
“What’s the answer to number three?”
“Uh, Brittany you know how a test works, right? I can’t tell you the answer.”
“But I don’t what the answer is.”
“That’s kind of the point of a test, to see if you know.”
“Oh, come on. Please?”
“Thanks Dawn! I totally didn’t know France was next to Europe.”
“Brittany, it’s not.”
“But that’s what you said.”
“I said in Europe.”
“This test isn’t worth very much. Don’t sweat it.”
“Thanks anyway. You know, you’re really smart Dawn.”
“You think so? I-I mean, not really, I just, um, look at a lot of maps…um…”
“You’re hot too.”
Dawn just likes watching Brittany dance. She doesn’t think much about it. So You Think You Can Dance?
is faithfully recorded each week on her VCR. Dawn just likes watching dancing. She likes dancing, period. She appreciates it in any form, even if she has a few favourites.
So what if she likes dancing with Brittany the best? Even more than Mike, who moves like liquid and has wash board abs. It’s normal. As good as Mike is, Brittany is easily the star of the Glee Club. Except when she mentions this to Kurt, he gives her a funny look she doesn’t quite get. Maybe the others don’t see it as much because they’re focused on the singing part.
Later, when she brings it up looking for advice from one of the others who actually has formal training, Rachel declares Mike’s form is more refined than Brittany’s and she has a sudden strong urge to bash the shorter girl over the head with her stupid pink binder.
The next day Mr. Schuester declares they’re going be studying different musical styles from around the world in honour of Cultural Week at Mckinley. Their assignment is to research a style from the country they’re assigned and incorporate it into a performance by the end of the week. By coincidence Dawn and Brittany both draw the two choices of the Latin flavour, Dawn Brazil and Brittany Spain.
Dawn spends the week studying up on capoeira. Since she still flat out refuses to sing, she wants something that might make her performance stand out. Brittany can sing, and Mike’s moves easily outshine her, the others all have their own special talents they bring to the table, Berry her voice, Puckerman his guitar, Kurt his…well, self. Dawn wants something too. Her performance will easily be forgettable if it’s just a dance, but she’s flexible and has a solid background in martial arts. Throwing in the martial arts should spice things up enough. She revels in the chance to combine the two and stand out for a change.
She finds a track of traditional music, the drumbeats reverberating through her body as she practices long into the night to perfect the admittedly beginner routine. But she does it. And on Thursday when she stands on the stage in the auditorium for the first time by herself, kicks and ducks and leaps, until her body is glistening with sweat, the loose white clothes sticking to her, she knows when the last beat fades and she faces the others she has absolutely nailed it. The rush of euphoria she feels as her friends clap is worth every bruise coating her skin under the capoeira outfit, and she has the satisfaction of overhearing Puckerman say it was “hot”
and Arty nodding dumbly in agreement.
None of it is as good as when Brittany smiles her adorable smile that’s so bright you forget she has the brain power of a cocker spaniel as it blinds you.
And Dawn still doesn’t get it.***“Dawn, you were amazing!”
“T-thanks. Yeah, my sister is really into martial arts so that kind of gave me the idea…”
“It was so cool. I want to learn capybara!”
“Capoeira. I could show you some time! That is, um, if you wanted to… I mean it’s not like I’m an expert, so maybe you wouldn’t want to learn from me, and I so wouldn’t be offended it that was the case. I’m just offering in case you want to. Um, would you?”
“You’re really confusing, you know.”
“Hey, why don’t we learn together?”
“You want to together?”
“Yeah. It would be fun!”***
On Friday Dawn finally gets it. The second half of the group that includes Brittany take their turns. Rachel sings a big Bollywood number that of course steals the show. Finn sings some sort of Japanese rock song that is so dark it shouldn’t suit his voice but ends up sounding great and the make-up he’s wearing nearly gives Dawn nightmares. Quinn sings an old Swedish lullaby that in her sweet tones sounds hauntingly beautiful.
Then Brittany gets up on stage. She’s wearing a blood red dress that hugs tight around her chest and stomach then falling in a loose ruffled skirt to her ankles, ready to flare up in a spin. The sleeves are layers of more ruffles and pulling back the hair on one side of her head is a large red flower.
It jerks Dawn as she realizes she’s never seen Brittany with her hair down before.
She looks beautiful.
Then the music starts and Brittany dances the Flamenco.
It’s the Bambera
, although Dawn won’t know that until later, when she goes home and looks it up on Youtube. There is a man singing in Spanish while Brittany’s feet tap out a rhythm on the stage, her arms moving above her head, the skirt swirling up whenever she spins while in the background guitars play.
As the tempo picks up the blonde’s movements speed up too, only to slow again as the music lulls, though her heeled feet never seem to rest for more than a moment. The others begin to clap out the beat, but Dawn’s hands remain still in her lap, as she sits frozen, utterly entranced. It occurs to her that the room is very hot, even though it was cool only moments before, and it’s strange that she suddenly feels flushed.
Brittany’s skirts twirl, looking less poised than a little wild as her hair flies around her in a halo, and Dawn vaguely thinks it’s supposed to be pulled back. She likes it much better this way. Brittany’s hair is golden and shines no matter what light she’s under, dying to be petted and played with. In fact Dawn knows she loves to have Santana do just that when they’re sitting in the choir room. She has a strong urge to run her fingers through it.
When the song ends, Dawn is shaken from her spell, brought back to Earth by the sound of Glee kids’ applause. Shakily she adds her own hands. Her clapping is so enthusiastic she blushes when Puckerman gives her a weird look and afterwards her hands sting.
Brittany returns to her seat, cheeks flushed and blue eyes sparkling, a smile on her face, and Dawn has an overwhelming urge to kiss her.
Shocked, Dawn swallows the reaction under profuse and spazztic praise.
After what seems like an eternity everyone finally clears the auditorium leaving Dawn sitting alone with her head spinning.
She groans as she finally realizes she’s crushing on Brittany S. Pierce.***“Dawnie?”
“Willow I need your advice!”
“Sure, sweetie. What is it? Need some help with a spell?”
“No, not exactly…I need some relationship advice.”
“Oh. Sure. But you know big sis might be a bit more help in that department. Teenage boys aren’t really my area of expertise.”
“…That’s why I called you.”
“What? Is it…Oh! You mean…”
“Yeah…I mean I think I do. What do you mean?”
“Well…I thought…Sweetie, why don’t you just tell me what you meant?”
“That is what I thought you meant.”
“…Willow, how do you get a girl to like you?”***
It turns out telling someone you like them was hard no matter what they had under their clothes. Dawn had always assumed telling a girl would be easier than a boy for some reason. Girls in general just seemed less intimidating to talk to. She rarely got verbal foot in mouth around them the way she did around cute males. It turns out that’s only because up until now none of the girls had been the object of her affection.
Willow told her she should be honest with her feelings, that that was the best way to go for it, but that a little sign of her affections never hurt either. She asked Willow what kinds of things she
had gotten for her girlfriends (oh boy, Brittany, her
girlfriend) but somehow she didn’t think the blonde Cheerio would appreciate funky smelling herbs or shiny weapons unless she thought the herbs were the green kind. And as Dawn didn’t want to poison her crush by inhaling magical weed that option was out.
She thought about maybe trying out that top that had worked so well on RJ, Brittany did have a bit of a reputation, maybe she just needed to catch her attention. In Glee Club that day she definitely got the attention. Unfortunately not from Brittany, who seemed to have overdosed on cough medicine and was nearly comatose the whole rehearsal, but Puckerman voiced his appreciation loudly, to her embarrassment, and a little disturbingly, so did Santana. On top of it all Mr. Shue kicked her out for violating the school dress code and cancelled rehearsal early because not one of the male Glee members seemed able to focus. None of the girls were happy with her, Rachel in particular for the deep offence of cutting into Glee time as well as causing her boyfriend’s goo-goo eyes that made his dancing ten times worse than usual and ended up in him knocking over the drum kit.
She tried leaving a note in her locker. Brittany thought it was left by the janitor. She threw it out because she ‘wasn't going to make-out with him anymore. She found out that janitors used their tooth brushes to clean the school toilets and that was why she was sick last week.’
She gave her chocolates. They were enjoyed thoroughly by Lord Tubbington on that week’s episode of Fondue for Two.
The worst part was the Glee club was catching on. Kurt was shooting her entirely too appraising looks and by the end of the week Puckerman was offering to get her an in if he was allowed to join in. She thanked the PTB that at least the loud mouthed gossip queen had been discrete enough not to tell Santana. The Cheerio was already sending her suspicious glares that had Dawn double checking her locks at night.
Right when she was about to give up and go cry in a corner (partly because she was bummed and partly because she had needs
, dammit, that apparently she was never going to have met by either men or
women) someone cuts her a break.
Brittany asked if she could come over after school for a capoeira session.
Dawn clasped her hands in thanks, and from around the corner a certain countertenor smiled smugly.***“How’s this, Dawn?”
“You need to move your leg a little higher…”
“No. Here, let me…there. Got it?”
“Yeah! I’m ready to try the whole thing now.”
“Dawn? Dawn, is your head okay?”
“M’fine…just lookin’ at the little birdies.”
“But we’re inside.”
“These are really persistent. That doesn’t seem to be stopping them.”
“Let’s take a break. Sit down here. Let me see.”
“Ow! Don’t poke it!”
“Wow. That’s a big lump. I’ll get you some ice.”
“There. I should totally join wrestling team.”
“Not quite seeing the connection…”
“Well, if I’m good enough to knock people without trying, imagine how good I’d be if I actually was.”
“Huh. Um, Brittany?”
“Did you take the popsicle out of the wrapper before you put it on?”
“Yes. Why? Wasn’t I supposed to?”
“Uh, it’s a little sticky.”
“Oh. Here, I’ll lick it off for you.”
“Yum. You taste sweet.”
“I-I think it w-was the Popsicle.”
“Cherry. But I bet you taste sweet too.”
“R-really? I, uh—mmf”
“You’re welcome…Um, why are you thanking me?”
“I have a perfect record. I’ve kissed every straight boy and bi-curious girl at school, as well as one gay guy.”
“Wow…Does that mean you won’t want to do it again?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“Mm...uh, Brittany….mmm…since your record is complete…”
“Does that mmm…mmean…you can stop?”
“This? You want to stop?”
“No! I meant with everyone else?”
“Hehe…I guess so.”
“Most people don’t talk this much during make-outs.”
“Do you wanna go out sometime…with me…?”
“Like a date?”
“Do we have to have sex after?”
“We don’t have to have sex. No sex. We could just go get burgers or something…We could go dancing.”
“And do this? Make-out?”
“Yes. We can most definitely do that.”
“Can we hold hands at school?”
“Sure. Why wouldn’t we?”
“So you’d be my girlfriend?”
“I-if you want…”
“But with no sex.”
“I…well, not right away…”
“Good. I’ve wanted to do you for ages.”
“You know I think I get why Santana doesn’t like to talk during sex. Kiss now, talk later.”
Disclaimer: Glee and BTVS are not mine.
There, my very first femslash, with one hour left of International Day of Femslash. Although I'm not sure if it constitutes 'femslash
' if there's no actual smut...:( I kind of wanted to write a Pam one, because I’m on a bit of a True Blood binge (Eric’s bathtub scene was inspiration for Quinn’s Swedish lullaby) and Pam is sarcasm wrapped in fangy bondage fun, but inspiration wouldn’t come a calling. Besides, I have a girl crush on Brittany so it’s fun to right her some girl love too.
I don’t think I wrote Buffy that well, but I like this one-shot a lot better as it goes on. Thanks for reading!
Please review :)Edit:
I think I caught most of the typos, but if you notice any, let me know so I can fix the little buggers :)