Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss. CSI belongs to Anthony Zuiker. I just like to play in their sandboxes now and then.
Nick sighed. At the rate this was going, he’d be living at work all week. As if that roller coaster accident hadn’t been bad enough…
He could have sworn he’d only put his head down on the table for a minute when he felt someone draping a blanket over him.
“Dawn, what-“ came Catherine’s voice.
He sat up quickly, realizing as he did he’d almost cracked his head on Catherine’s youngest sister’s chin.
“Dawn!” Catherine said, sounding annoyed.
“What? I didn’t wake him up, you did!” Dawn retorted accusingly.
“He’s not supposed to be sleeping, he’s supposed to be working. Right, Nicky?”
Nick nodded, trying to make himself be fully awake faster.
“Well then you must be working him too hard,” Dawn replied. “Cause he was snoring when I came in. And drooling.”
“I was not drooling!” Nick exclaimed, glaring at the kid.
“Dawn, was there a reason you were here, other than to tuck Nick in?” Catherine asked pointedly.
“Lighten up, Cath, he’s not my type. Now, if it had been Greg…”
“Dawn, you’re really not helping,” Nick interrupted her, trying not to show how inappropriate he thought her suggestion was. He was pretty sure she was underage. God, maybe he should warn Greg… Not that Greg would ever, but just so he’d know to steer clear of a potentially embarrassing situation.
At the same time, Catherine, looking like her head might explode, snapped, “Dawn Marie!”
“Go me, a twofer! You should see your faces. Anyway, I was just dropping off your dinner, but Nick was racked out and I thought he needed a blanket. He looked like he was out for a while. Oh, and if it’s ok, Lindsey’s spending the night at ours.”
“Is Buffy coming home tonight?”
“Not sure. Hopefully. You want me to check in?”
“Okey doke. Anything else?”
“Yeah. Don’t burn the house down.”
“Cath! You know we wouldn’t.”
“Yeah, well I never thought the two of you would flood my house, either. I’m just covering my bases.”
“We also promise not to blow it down.”
Catherine froze for a second, then shook her head.
“I don’t want to know. Get going, brat.”
“Later, Cath. Bye, Nick!”
Nick watched as Dawn left, cheerfully waving at Greg in the lab on her way out.
“She was joking, right?” he asked.
Catherine rolled her eyes.
“Not entirely. Turns out my sisters have an… interesting perspective on age differences in relationships.”
“Oh?” Nick asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Differences of a decade or more don’t faze them in the least. I’ve already tried talking to Buffy about this- it's not the first time she's mentioned Greg. The only good that came of it was Buffy telling her that Greg can get in trouble if he does anything with her before her eighteenth birthday and she should keep that in mind.”
“You don’t think-“
“Buffy had an older boyfriend when she was in high school,” Catherine said flatly. “I don’t know all the details.”
“Have you asked her about it?”
“Nick, we’ve only known each other a few months, and unlike Dawn, who is practically my daughter’s twin these days, I haven’t had a lot of heart to hearts with her. From what Dawn’s mentioned, I know it’s a sore subject.”
He thought that over. He’d been more than a little curious about Catherine’s sister- Buffy, not Dawn. He’d wondered if she’d think he was too old for her, but given this wrinkle, maybe that wasn’t a worry. Now he just had to figure out a way to talk to her when he wasn’t covered in garbage.
“Maybe you should suggest to Dawn that your dad might object to her and Greg- and he’d probably take it out on Greg.”
“Nice try, Nicky, but no chance. She’s already got her daddy wrapped firmly around her little finger. What Dawn wants, Dawn gets.”
“Hey, Cath? Do I ever get an intro to your non-underage sister?”
Catherine gave him a long, evaluating look. Finally, she nodded.
“I’ll see what I can do.”