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Always About Blood

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This story is No. 1 in the series "New Worlds". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Two years have passed since Sunnydale, and the Scoobies, especially Dawn and Buffy, have slowly, but surely, drifted apart. What will it take for them to come back together? A hint: it's Tuesday.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > General(Recent Donor)ElessarNettFR15512,4000224,30611 Aug 1122 Mar 12No

Prologue

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs neither to me nor to my friends and/or relatives.  Joss Whedon deserves credit for it.

Despite crossover elements, this story has been listed as a non-crossover because of the lack of crossover in any of the critical elements of the story.
This story is my newest attempt to get out of the writing rut I’ve been in for the past while.  I apologize to anyone who follows my other stories, for my consistent failure to update.  I will go back to them when I manage to get back the inspiration to work on them.  Thank you for your patience.
Additional note: The vast majority of this story takes place in the United Kingdom, a country which I have long studied but never visited.  My apologies in advance for any mistakes made in the portrayal of culture, geography or other elements of the countries thereof.

Dawn Summers sat quietly at her notebook computer, trying to think of how to write the e-mail before her.  It wasn’t that she didn’t want to write, she told herself, she was just-- not able to think right now.

To: cheergirl181@scooby.wcb.uk
BCC: summersdawnm@oxford.ac.uk
Subject:

Hey Buffy,

That was all she had.  She honestly didn’t know what to write.  She’d rarely spoken or written to her sister in the past few years, what with boarding school and training and everything, and the Summers sisters had drifted apart.

Dawn looked out the window onto the streets.  She was in university, now.  Oxford was brilliant.  Her demonology-oriented college, St. Patroclus’, was a small haven for watchers and others focusing on what universities worldwide classified as “mythology.”  Of course, it was all done in code.  Anyone who knew the score would know what they were getting into and, well, those who didn’t?  Either they learned and stayed, or forgot and left.

There was a reason St. Patroclus’ stayed pretty small, in general.

Dawn breathed in and out completely, taking her mind back to the issue at hand.  E-mailing Buffy.  Buffy wouldn’t really be interested in everything at St. Patroclus’ and Oxford, or about what had happened at Bramton, the boarding school for watchers in Cambridgeshire.  Buffy also wouldn’t be interested in why the school was called Bramton while the town was Brampton.  Or any of the little interesting minutia Dawn loved learning about languages and “mythology.”

Which left her in the same question.  How could she tell Buffy about how things were going?  How her life had changed?  It had been so long.  She didn’t even know why she was writing this particular e-mail now.  Just, a feeling.  Something had to be said.

She’d felt it stirring in her soul for two days.  She could still hear it ringing in their head, and, though she’d heard it before, she’d never felt as convicted by it.  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

How was Tokyo?  Giles told me you went last week, and I have to say

What did she have to say?

I lost my virginity last year.

Well, that would be gone in the final version.  No way in all the hell dimensions that belonged in an e-mail.  But, she was on a roll, and continued:

Are those skyscrapers as tall in person as in the pictures?  Because, WOW! Totally awesome.

How are things living in Italy?  Are you still shagging

That was immediately backspaced.  That was a stupid thing to write in the first place.  First, the question was absurd, since she knew the answer.  Second, it was really, really, really bad for an e-mail to her sister.  Spike was a bad influence.  She started the paragraph again.

How are things living in Italy?  All Romey?  :)  I’m really jealous sometimes that you get to live on the Med and I’m stuck up hear in ye olde rainy England.

She quickly corrected a minor typo before sitting back again, trying to think about anything else she could possibly say.  Maybe something of value, for a change.

I love my classes here, though.  Mythology, languages, and all of that.  Really not your thing, but someone’s gotta do research in this family :).

I still can’t quit.  I can’t even get it under a pack a day.

Dawn erased that almost immediately.  Yeah, an e-mail was the perfect place to discuss her bad habits, she thought, as she stared at the pack of cigarettes sitting next to the computer.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Expensive as hell and killing her.  Dawn began fiddling with her braid before continuing.

Besides that, not much is happening.  I coloured my hair.

Dawn fingered the braid again.  Green, red and a particularly obvious bleach-blonde.  Just theone braid, the rest of her hair was still its natural colour.  She left it there for now, starting a new paragraph.

You should totally come up for a holiday.  Maybe we could try Thanksgiving.  Haven’t had a one of those in a while.  Or maybe you could come up for Christmas.  Giles’ sister probably wouldn’t mind one more person, even a slayer, though a bit of warning would be of the good.

God, why couldn’t she say anything of meaning?  She pushed her chair away from the desk and looked up to the ceiling exasperated.  What was she supposed to say?  How was she supposed to say it?  She hadn’t really talked to her sister in years.  Years.  How were you supposed to fix that, like, ever?  She wasn’t up to it.  Why couldn’t Buffy do something?  She was the older one, after all.  Wasn’t it her job?

She could almost hear the voice in her head putting paid to that selfish notion.  She shouldn’t put away her responsibility to her sister.  To family in general, really.

Dawn stared at the e-mail for another full minute, listening to the clock on the wall tick quietly.  It had been a pain in the ass to listen to ticking, analog clocks day and night for the first month or so at Bramton, but now, as its presence in her apartment showed, she found it often difficult to live without.  Little things like that.

Looking at her e-mail, she smiled slightly at how she had typed.  There was both the slang she grew up with - Romey?  Really? - but also a sign of what had changed in England.  After all, she had spelt “colour” with a u.

Dawn absent-mindedly thought about Bramton, remembering the stories she could tell Buffy.  Any of a few dozen would probably have her sister in stitches before long.  An English boarding school was not nearly as stuffy and boring as the stereotype.  Or, at least, her English boarding school was not nearly as stuffy and boring as the stereotype.

Bramton had produced Watchers for centuries, true.  It had made Giles.  But, on the other hand?  It had made Ripper.  It wasn’t quite as exciting as Sunnydale High, but that was a blessing, really, considering what lurked under the principal’s office.

As she reminisced, she almost accidentally reached for the pack.  Yeah, smoking had not been exactly the best way to cope with all the stress in her life that first year after Sunnydale.  But, damn England, it had been legal.  And Spike was dead.  Undead.  Redead.  Had been dead.  Bloody vampires, she thought with a hint of irony as she lit a cigarette.

She exhaled as she turned back to the computer.  She slouched in her chair and tried to lean back as she stared at the e-mail, unable to think of anything else to write, when the door to the room opened up with a rattle.

“Hello,” Charlie, Dawn’s roommate, said as she came through into their small room.

“Hey, Charlie,” Dawn replied as she looked over at her roommate and smiled lightly, spinning to face the door.  “How was class?” she asked, taking another drag on the cigarette.

“About the same,” Charlie said in her light Scottish accent.  “Hanson’s brilliant, as usual, and left us all spinning back in forth,” she said, “Except Luke and Trish.”

Dawn nodded as she turned back to the computer.  After staring at the untitled e-mail for a few more seconds, she heard Charlie dropping her books on her bed, asking her, “What are you up to?”

“Just writing an e-mail,” Dawn said.  “Can’t think of much else to say.”

“Who are you writing?” Charlie asked, moving toward Dawn’s desk from behind her.

“Buffy,” Dawn said simply.  “Or, trying, at least.”

Charlie made a noise, somewhere between surprise and understanding.  Charlie’d been her roommate for over two years now, and had never actually met Buffy.  Even in that scare at Bramton a year and a half earlier, Charlie’d been indisposed, at the time.

Charlie sat at her own desk as Dawn blew a plume of smoke and set her cigarette down in an ashtray and went back to typing.

My roommate is Scottish.  Old watcher family, sorta related to Giles somehow.  She was actually one of my roommates at Bramton, but, you never really cared about that sort of thing, anyway, did you?

Whoa.  Where had that come from?  She knew it wasn’t really true, but that was what had come out.  When had she and Buffy last shared a room?  When had she and Buffy last shared a damn building for crying out loud?

“Hey, Dawn, you up to coming to the pub?”

Damn.  She’d forgotten about that.  “Yeah, sure,” she said, closing her notebook.  “Let me just grab my jumper.”

---
Kennedy finished wrapping a blanket around the mini-watcher and picked her up, awkwardly carrying her larger, sleeping form over to the car with another slayer as Willow talked to the only one still standing.

“George and I tried to do something when we saw them grab her,” he was saying, “But, even with the Germanican litany, there were two of us left standing against a half-dozen demons.  We never had a chance.  Christ, there’s not even supposed to be vampires in Oxford.”

“Hey, take it easy, Matthew,” Willow said, still slightly thrown off by the teenager’s scary, if slight, resemblance to Giles.  This was Dawn’s boyfriend?  How did she stand it?  “Calm down.  Is there anything else?”

“Well,” he said, leaning down on his walking stick, “Not really.  They knocked me out right easy, and George, well, you saw him.”

“Alright,” Willow said, “you’d better get to the car.  We’ll take you back to the house.”

“God,” he muttered to himself, not really responding to Willow, as he walked away.  Kennedy passed by him and came up to Willow.

“What are you thinking?” she asked.

“I’m thinking Junior’s right,” Willow said.  “There’s no way there should be any vampires here.  There’s magic here.  I mean, really strong stuff.  Even Spike or Angel’d have trouble getting in.”

“I mean--” Kennedy said, before Willow interrupted.

“I know what you mean,” she said.  “But, if we don’t, she’ll kick our asses even more.”

“Boy, she’s gonna be pissed,” Kennedy said.

“Tell me about it,” Willow said, looking to her girlfriend.  Sighing, she looked away.  “Why is it always a Tuesday?”
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