Dawn isn't sure Donna likes her. In fact, the woman seems pretty upset that she even exists. And before Peter ruined everything, Dawn was going to be living in her dad's other house in Northern California. Donna didn't even need to know! But Meathead decided to whine about a girl punching him and now she's in Albuquerque, sitting in the backseat of the gas guzzling, eco-terrorist Hummer. She's betting this Ted character doesn't even recycle, maybe he burns tires for fun or throws meat at vegans...
“So Dawn, California? Is Hollywood as glamorous as it seems?”
“I'm not from Hollywood,” Dawn tries not to snap. “I'm from Sunnydale, its about mid-state.”
“Oh, is it by a beach?”
“About two hours away,” Dawn nods, keeping her school smile on. “I'm not much of a beach girl though, I prefer camping.”
She seems her dad send her one of his smiling, sympathetic looks. It doesn't seem like much to anyone else, but she's always known. Donna talks about renting an RV to go camping and Dawn keeps her school-time smile bright and sunny. The drive home from the airport is made just a bit worse by Peter's scowl, as though it's her fault that everyone thinks California is beaches and movie stars. Donna is a poor replacement for Joyce and she wonders why the hell her father chose this woman.
“I cleaned up the guest room before your plane landed,” Donna tells her, leading up steep stairs as he boys head into the kitchen. “I figured you wouldn't want to share with Becca and your father and I are trying to live together before we get married.”
Is Becca a hallucination this woman is having? Neither hide nor hair has been seen of this child and she wonders if that's why Peter has agreed that mothers are off-limits in their fights. She wonder's if that's the reason her father is with this woman, guilt or something equally ridiculous, but the room they pass is bright pink and it has the smell of a child. Becca is real, just not here.
The guest room is five shades of beige and Dawn can tell that cleaning means airing it out and dusting a little bit.
“I'm sure we can personalize it soon enough,” Donna smiles. Her eyes are still upset with Dawn and Edward both, but she's trying very hard to be an understanding person. “Should I know anything before I make dinner? Allergies or dislikes?”
“Mushrooms, I have to go into the hospital if I eat them.” The blue suitcase is set down next to the dresser and she heaves a breath, completely exhausted. “I'm not feeling too hungry though.”
Dawn likes Becca, she's adorable and very vocal when it comes to what she wants. She's even told Dawn to go back upstairs because she wasn't 'feeling it' in regards to Dawn's outfit. The Adorable child had succeeded in worming her way into Dawns heart and that turns Peter into an even worse prat than he was before. Now he's invading her space and eating her food.
It's after dinner and Dawn is really just ready to skin the older teen. Alive, dead, it's not important right now, she just wants to destroy something because Stupid Anita suggested the smoochies factor and now she can't get it out of her head. She keeps seeing him looking down at her with dark eyes and desire and now that he's home, he's a very different person. Someone she wouldn't mind sharing smoochies with. But then he turns into a nerf herding jerkface all over again and she'd much rather bash his head into a wall!
She can't take being in the house anymore. She needs to be outside and almost immediately after dinner she's staring into the dark from the back porch, playing with the knife Spike and Faith picked out for her. She's pretty good with a knife. Not great, but good enough to make it dance across her fingers, and she's usually on target when she throws it. But throwing a knife is a last resort and usually pretty dumb. There's a high chance it's going to bounce and then you're unarmed.
The door slides open and for just a second she expects the flick of a lighter and cigarette smoke. But Spike is too busy lusting after Buffy to come to Albuquerque, much less come visit a Lil Bit. Her father sits in the lawn chair next to her, setting a glass of water next to her and putting his own close by.
“Can I see it?”
For a minute she hesitates, but hands it over anyways. It's the knife she used to steal Anita's jeep and break out of her bedroom back in Sunnydale, she's used it on no less than three would be muggers and two vampires have been surprised enough to let her go while she grabs a stake.
He plays with it, checks the balance and the edge before sliding it back to her across the glass. “Who's the maker?”
“Independent smith,” Dawn answers, letting the weapon sit there. “The council tends to commission him for stuff and Faith knew how to find him.”
“Was that the ginger?” he asks, blue eyes turned onto her. “She seems a bit-”
A giggle cuts him off, and she's bent double as she fights falling from her seat. “Oh my god, That was Willow,” she sputters in laughter a moment longer. “Willow and Faith hate each other.”
Eventually he finds out that Faith is in prison for killing someone. She'll be out soon enough and applying for an executioners license. Failing that she's going to apply for some sort of law enforcement job and hunt monsters legally. Willow is very much of the pro-life section, even if she did try to kill Faith once. The redheaded witch would rather make a coven and run a magic shop while hacking into the government and trying to change records.
“You ever shoot a gun?” The glass is almost empty as it hangs from his hands, reflecting the moonlight above them. They've been sitting outside and still so long that the porch-light has turned itself off and the neighbors have retired as well. The faint sound of night birds and crickets has turned silent.
“I've shot a crossbow.”
“Wear jeans tomorrow.” The back porch light flickers on as he stands, waiting for her to rise as well.
Peter only glances as someone walks by his bedroom door. It's Dawn. Damnable Dawn in her baby pink panties and thin white camisole. Her hair is a mess and her lips are swollen below strangely bright eyes.
“Why aren't you asleep?” she asks in a mumble. Long legs cross as she leans against the frame of his door. There's a glass of water in her hand but all he can look at is the way her breasts look when she crosses her arms at him. That of course makes him remember her nude and helpless.
“Spanish paper,” he shakes himself. “It's due in the morning.”
“Can I take a look?”
Peter waves a hand and the computer and moves back when she leans over him to look. Her hair is falling in a wave between them, sill damp from the shower and when she shivers Peter can only imagine her shuddering beneath him. God, she's his step sister...not related...no, Edward would kill him and Dawn is a pain in the ass to deal with on a good day. But her skin is brushing against his own and when she nearly falls into his lap he knows she's got him.
“You have an error here,” Dawn highlighted a word on the screen, looking at him over her shoulder. “Are you okay?”
Peter nodded his head, tearing his eyes away from Dawn to see what she'd done to his paper.
“What is it?” Dawn asks as her father hands her a gun. It doesn't look like something you could find just anywhere.
“That is a Silver Ghost,” Edward tells her correcting her grip. “If it's too heavy or kicks back to hard we can get it customized.” Edward glances over through the glass to see Peter firing his own weapon. His grouping is almost spot on as he takes his frustrations out. “Peter's got a Samurai Edge, but this is lighter in weight.”
“Buffy doesn't like guns,” Dawn licks her lips. The weight is starting to be comfortable and her hands are already getting used to holding it.
“Maybe not, but some things aren't going to wait for a crossbow.” Edward takes the weapon back before sliding the magazine in and giving it back to her. “Too heavy?”
“No,” she shakes her head.
“The more you practice the easier it gets. Then we'll get you onto silver bullets.” Dawn can't help but notice that there's no 'if' in his speech. He's confident that she'll be good enough to use silver as sure as the sun rises. “Come on, let's go shoot some rocks.”