Disclaimer: I do not own Batman or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Thanks to my Beta Tiziano!!
Thanksgiving was going to be pure chaos. Dawn had, for some insane reason, agreed to host the Summers Family Thanksgiving Dinner. She must have lost her mind, that was the only rational explanation. Sure, her and Dick’s place was large, but it was insane for her to believe that she could handle both her and his families. Alfred and Bruce had both offered the manor so that Alfred could help … just as Buffy and Willow and Andrew were already planning to do. She knew for a fact that they planned to drive her out of the kitchen so they could cook and Dawn was half tempted to let them, but at the same time she wanted to prove that she could actually do this. Hosting Thanksgiving was like tempting fate. Joker was going to be turned into a vampire and open a gate to hell and release the denizens into her living room. She just knew it.
“Dawn, darling?” A concerned voice came from behind her, soft because of the lateness of the hour. She turned and frowned worriedly up into the masked face of Nightwing.
“Maybe I should tell Buffy that she can have Thanksgiving at The Castle.” Dawn told him, big blue eyes nervous and antsy. He smiled indulgently as he sat on the table in front of her. It always amazed him how little confidence she had in herself sometimes. He didn’t understand how someone as beautiful and strong and talented as Dawn Summers could have such low self-esteem at times but she did. It was part of why he found her so entrancing.
“We should have it at the manor. More room and better fortified.” He leaned forward and kissed her forehead as she sighed gustily and shut her eyes. “For now I think it’s best we go to bed, you have work and I have some kind of luncheon to save kittens or walruses or something.” She popped her eyes back open to give the man an unimpressed look and he simply scooped her up and tossed her over his shoulder, heading to their bedroom. Dawn laughed happily as Dick flipped up a portrait on the wall and pounded out the seven digit code to lock down the shutters in their room and slide open the far wall so that he could change out of his costume. It was nice living in one of the Wayne Building penthouses, all kinds of secret rooms and closets.
“I love this view.” Dick had tossed Dawn gently onto the bed and she had rolled over onto her stomach, legs kicking in the air childishly as her chin rested on her folded arms and she watched him undress.
“Perv.” He shot over his shoulder, grinning as he stripped down and hung up the suit in the glass case. When he closed it the suit would be fumigated to pristine cleanliness. It was better than a washing machine and took less time. Dawn had actually used it to wash some of her shoes once. Tim had thought it was hilarious and Bruce had been a bit taken aback, but Alfred had looked thoughtful and Dick had no doubt that the man was doing the same thing.
“You love it,” Dawn agreed, smiling in a self satisfied way as Dick stalked toward her in absolutely nothing, slapping the switch so that the wall would slide back into place and hide his hero-gear.
“I do,” Dick rolled her onto her back and worked on distracting her enough that her mind could relax and she could get some sleep before heading into the office. It was almost an hour later that she was snuggling close, head resting on his chest and hair draped across his shoulder and arm. She hadn’t snuggled like that in the beginning. He’d had to pull her close for a long time before she’d simply treated him as her pillow.
Dawn woke up with Dick’s fingers tangled in her hair as he snored lightly. This was becoming the norm with them, it was all very domestic, a little scary, and a lot exhilarating. After she’d given him a stern talking to about not going head to head with Killer Croc again (and really she’d been worried for his sanity after that stunt) and then dealt with quite a long interrogation from the Wayne Men it had all seemed to get very … she wasn’t sure what word could really explain it. It had led to strange bonding. Which in turn had led to a great deal of coddling after the Joker incident, but they were now family. The girl untangled her hair and gently left the bed, watching with a grin as Dick rolled over to cuddle with a pillow and his snoring stopped. Dawn snorted and shook her head before heading out to the kitchen to make some coffee.
She flipped on her laptop to go through the news as she sipped at her coffee and contemplated the seating arrangements for Thanksgiving. Did they really need seating arrangements? Couldn’t they just sit where ever? Because that would go over well when Andrew started drooling on Bruce and Tim got accosted by Faith who had started referring to him as Mini Mister Money Bags during the conference calls and Skype sessions. Maybe it was best if she just cancelled the whole thing. Yes. Cancelling was perfect. The brunette had her phone in her hands and was dialing Buffy in an instant so that she wouldn’t wimp out.
“Dawnie! Guess what, Bruce is sending a private jet to pick me, and Giles, and Andrew up so we can spend time with you!!” Buffy was squealing she was so excited, and Dawn took a deep breath to steady herself.
“That’s awesome. I can’t wait to see you.” She shook her head a little, smiling softly in defeat. Buffy was way to excited to take this chance away from her.
“Who are you talking to so early?” Dick asked, pressing a kiss to the top of her head on his way to the coffee maker.
“You know you’re going to have to start wearing pant’s when Buffy comes to town, right?” Dawn asked dryly as she opened a new browser to look for vegan friendly side dishes.
“You know, I don’t think I’d actually mind,” Buffy commented from the phone, sounding a bit intrigued.
“Well she’s not here yet,” Dick grinned sleepily as he snagged a mug from the cupboard.
“Buffy stop picturing my boyfriend naked.” Dawn demanded with a scowl as she focused her eyes outside the window, wishing she could send the dirty look all the way across the ocean to her sister.
“Stop talking about him being naked.” Buffy shot back, amusement in her voice.
“I like him being naked, especially when I’m naked with him. You don’t get to think about him naked, because then you have to think about him naked doing dirty dirty things and since the only person he does those dirty dirty things with is me-” Dawn was cut off by a ‘nonononono’ and smiled victoriously. She loved winning arguments against her sister. It was a satisfaction bred into her as a younger sister and something she hadn’t been able to do all that often recently.
“That was mean,” Dick grinned over at her, more awake now as he sat in the chair opposite her at the table. She’d told him he wasn’t allowed to sit on counters or tables unless he was wearing clothes. Surprisingly enough he didn’t wear clothes at all if he could get away with it and she had learned over the last year to ignore it. She preferred clothing, as she got cold quite easily and wasn’t as comfortable in her nudity as he was. Dick was his own kind of person, and had once told her that the only reason he wasn’t living in a nudist colony was because he didn’t want to look at other men naked.
“You love it.” Dawn mouthed at him before her sisters gagging noises tapered off.
“Did you actually need something or was the goal to make me gag every time I contemplated Dick?” Buffy demanded a moment later. Dawn decided not to go for the easy quip and forged ahead.
“I was just calling to let you know that the reservations are taken care of, and all you need to worry about is checking in,” Dawn told her a moment later. She missed Buffy, she wanted her in town to finally meet Bruce, and Tim, and Alfred, and everyone at work. She wanted her sister to see her life, and love her friends as much as she did, even if she was positive that the evening would be interrupted at least twice with some kind of impending disaster. One cape kind of disaster and one supernatural. Then they’d have to explain the supernatural to the Wayne men who had a passing kind of knowledge and didn’t really need to know more. Because of these disasters dinner would be overcooked and everyone would be in high spirits and … actually maybe she should move the dinner to the Manor. Alfred would at least keep the food from being ruined. She’d have to call him later.
“Silly, you already sent me an email about it yesterday. Honestly you’re worrying too much. Don’t sweat all the tiny details Dawnie, it’ll all come together somehow.” Buffy promised, a touch of exasperated affection to her voice.
“Yeah I’m just losing my mind.” Dawn admitted with a laugh. They chatted for a little while longer before Dawn admitted she needed to get ready for work before she was late.
“Tell Francine I send my love,” Dick called as his girlfriend rushed through the house getting ready after spending too much time on the phone with her sister.
“Stop trying to butter her up, she’ll still like me more,” Dawn retorted, skidding to a stop as his hand deftly caught around her waist and tugged her over into a kiss.
“Love you. Don’t eat all your whipped cream..” Dick smiled brightly as he let her go and took another drink from his coffee.
“Yeah yeah, better than lounging around all day pretending to work while giving away far too much money over bad salad all to save the Golden Eagles.” She gave him a pointed look as he raised both hands in the air and gave a mock cry of despair; he hadn’t even been close last night!
“Early dinner?” He asked as she pressed the button for their private elevator. She stepped inside and turned to blow him a kiss.
“Gyro’s. Pick me up at 5:30,” She called as the doors closed. What she had done to deserve everything she had she would probably never know, but Dick made everything better.
The ride to work was shorter now that she wasn’t taking the train, but sometimes she still missed the view as she rode along. Now she was taking cabs, or on occasion getting a ride with Dick or Alfred, and it wasn’t the same. It made her feel … uncomfortable sometimes. Riding the train into The Narrows and walking the cracked streets to her office made her feel more a part of it. Driving in wasn’t the same. She wasn’t the only one that drove of course, most of the Narrows Office rode to work. It was far too dangerous to walk. Francine had her husband drop her off in the squad car every morning. It was as much for her protection as it was to remind the desperate thugs in the area that her people were protected. Of course now that Dawn was so well known (regular Gotham Celebutante at this point) they had fewer problems.
Dawn’s desk was as cluttered as ever. Living with Dick Grayson didn’t change the fact that she was overworked, underpaid, and badly needed a new desk. If she mentioned it to Bruce she was sure that their office would manage to get a substantial donation to help out, but it felt wrong to use her people like that. So instead she sat down on her hard chair in front of her careworn desk, opened her laptop and started sifting through the files that had been dropped on her desk since the night before. It seemed like for every kid that got a positive result with she was handed 10 more. Sometimes it seemed like she got absolutely nowhere, even when she’d filed all her papers and set up house visits for 3 different families before Dick was suddenly in the office teasing Francine and holding a bag of salt water taffy in his hand.
“Dawn, get this useless pile of loveliness out of my office before I am tempted to keep him,” Francine ordered with a laugh. Dicks grinned over at her, leaning against Francine’s door and looking completely comfortable.
“I can’t leave you alone anywhere, people think you’re a stray and try to take you home.” Dawn grabbed her purse and coat, making her way across the office cluttered with more worn desks and her harried coworkers. Thankfully most of the people she worked with were now used to her boyfriend showing up to steal her away for lunches and sometimes dinner. Occasionally he even showed up with takeout for everyone. There was no becoming immune to Dick’s many charms, but he no longer left them staring in speechless wonder. He was just a man. Well maybe not that normal …
“So long as they don’t try to put a collar on me. I need at least 2 dates before I’m willing to go that far.” Dick’s voice filtered back into the office as he led her out of the building and over to his car.
Time flew by and in what felt like mere moments Dawn was picking up her sister a the airport, flinging herself into the shorter woman’s embrace as they both shouted excitedly and talked over the top of each other before dissolving into helpless laughter and simply complimenting each others shoes.
“What is it with Summers’ women and shoes?” Tim asked curiously, looking up at Giles. He’d talked to the man before during Dawn’s various video chat sessions. She usually accompanied Dick to the manor but Tim spent a lot of time over at their home as well so he’d spoken to most of her family even if they hadn’t met in person before.
“I’m not actually sure. I think it’s something bred into their line. Their mother was the same way,” Giles told him with a fond smile. Whether the smile was for Tim or the girls or the memory of Joyce was anyone’s guess. Possibly it was all of the above.
“Giles!” Dawn was now launching herself at her pseudo-father figure and Buffy was giving hugs to Dick and then Tim, much to the younger boys surprised amusement.
“A family reunion, just like the movies. Heartfelt hugs and tears of joy, it’s beautiful.” Andrew sighed happily as he finally pulled put his camera in his pocket in order to give a hug to Dawn. Over the years Andrew had mellowed out a (tiny) bit and despite his nerd-core antics he was a member of the family. He kept Slayer Castle running on a day to day business and could actually hold his own in a fair fight. He’d become so proficient in the use of knives over the years that he helped out in the training room sometimes when Faith needed a hand.
“You’re such a goober.” Dawn told him fondly, pressing a peck of a kiss to his cheek before looping her arm through his and dragging him forward toward the cars as Buffy peppered Tim with questions about his school and various activities.
“So where is this swanky hotel you’ve booked me in rather than having me stay at your place?” Buffy demanded after they were all comfortably ensconced inside the limo.
“Who says swanky anymore?” Dawn demanded immediately, scoffing at her sister.
“She says, changing the subject rather than having the ongoing argument her older sister couldn’t seem to drop,” Andrew announced in a stage whisper and holding his phone up like a microphone. When the Summers Sisters turned to glare at him he simply shrugged apologetically. Sometimes Dawn missed the days when he was afraid of all of them.
“And swanky is a perfectly fine word,” Buffy muttered defensively.
“Yeah, if you’re old like Giles,” Dawn retorted, ignoring the long suffering sigh from the British man in question.
“All I’m saying is that if you have enough room for me to stay at your place, you should let me stay at your place.” Buffy informed her sister belligerently.
“No Buffy.” Dawn told her firmly, refusing to give on this part. It was too dangerous for Dick to try and sneak out to do his rounds with a Slayer in the penthouse. Dawn had the double duty of protecting the Council from the Bat Clan and the Bat Clan from the Council. Everyone Dawn loved seemed to have a secret identity and it was up to Dawn to keep all of those twisted secrets. Having Buffy in a hotel and Dick in her bed was the easiest (and her favorite) way to keep those secrets.
“She’s just afraid that we might keep you up if you were at our place. That or I’d forget to put on clothes.” Dick grinned unrepentantly at his girlfriend’s sister as green eyes looked him over appraisingly.
“I’ve lost my appetite more than once because of that.” Tim agreed, a faint scowl on his face as he glanced over at his adopted brother.
“Don’t tell Faith.” Andrew and Giles said at the same time, both imagining the brunette amusing herself by stripping and randomly popping in naked somewhere.
“Tim’s too young for her.” Buffy reminded them dismissively. Her sister-slayer was a lot of things, but cradle robber wasn’t one of them.
“Besides, we’ve already had the talk about how randomly stripping in someone else’s house is rude. “ Dawn added, leaning against Dick and resting her head on his shoulder.
“And you expect that to deter her?” Giles asked, looking worriedly over at Dawn. The brunette smiled and didn’t say anything. She knew Faith would be fine. She listened to her family squabble good naturedly on a wide variety of subjects spanning from Christmas trees to Marilyn Manson.
“Gotham Executive Suites at the Hilton?” Buffy asked as the limo came to a stop in front of the large tower structure.
“We have a whole floor just for family.” Dawn assured her, looping an arm through her sister’s as they watched a bus boy come out and efficiently load all of the luggage from the trunk onto a trolley.
“Right.” Buffy stared at her sister for a long moment. “Is that for our protection or the other guests?” She asked after a little while.
“The other guests.” Dawn informed her older sister archly, lifting her nose in the air just a bit. The two girls stared at each other for half a moment before they broke down in laughter and the men began herding them inside to take care of the check-in process. Faith, Xander, Willow, Kennedy, Vi, and Rona would all be showing up throughout the rest of the day, and more than a few of them would probably need to crash immediately. Buffy was checking in for all of them.
“You guys get settled in, we’ll be back in a couple hours to take you out for lunch,” Dick promised, slinging an arm around Dawn’s waist and pulling her into his side. She pecked a kiss into the bottom of his chin and hugged herself tightly against him. She missed the bemused looks on Giles’ face as she smiled into Dick’s face and he smiled back down at her.
“They do this all the time.” Tim told Andrew with a sigh, contemplating throwing something at the two of them. Of course last time he’d done that Dick had caught the book and promptly thrown it back at Tim’s head. Then Dawn had lectured him for ten minutes straight on the importance of treating a book with the respect it was due. She’d finished it by telling him that she never wanted to see him throwing anything, but Twilight novels ever again. Just for that he’d bought an Anne Rice book and planned to use that some time in the near future to interrupt their bonding moments.
“They’re in love,” Andrew sighed happily, obviously not as over their interactions as Tim was.
“Right, you guys take off. Give us a call so we can meet you in the lobby,” Buffy agreed, joining Andrew and Giles to smile fondly at her sister. Dawn hugged everyone before she left with the boys and Buffy watched her contemplatively.
“We’re sure he’s not evil?” She asked idly after a few moments.
“We ran all of the tests last Christmas when he came out for those two days, remember?” Andrew told the protective blond woman, looping an arm through hers.
Back in the limo Dawn was going through a rather long list of groceries she and Alfred had come up with. The butler was going to be running interference with her family and stopping them from a hostile takeover of the turkey. At least that was the goal. Knowing Alfred he probably wouldn’t have any problems, he’d been dealing with Bruce his whole life. Not that Bruce was difficult exactly … just kind of cranky and brooding. Like Angel without the hair gel.
“What are you thinking about beautiful?” Dick asked, cocking his head as he inspected her with the slightest of smiles on his lips. She had banished him to the other side of the car so that she could concentrate on business rather than his arm around her.
“Bruce and hair gel,” She responded immediately, gaining strange looks from both young men as she blithely went on with her perusal of the menu and grocery list. Alfred had put in the order for everything already and it should be arriving at the manor in due time, but that didn’t meant Dawn wasn’t going to go over the list again and again, fixating on every possible disaster which could occur (with the exception of demonic influence as that would simply take far too long to deal with at the moment.)
“Sometimes she worries me,” Tim announced in a pseudo whisper, eyeballing the girl.
“She’s female. She’s supposed to,” Dick reminded him, nodding wisely before breaking into a grin as her foot caught him in the side of the knee.
“I’m telling Babs you said that,” Dawn warned him without looking up, she was too busy texting Alfred.
“Ooh, nice knowing you bro,” Tim clapped his adopted brother on the shoulder and grinned as the car came to a stop and the two scrambled over each other trying to be the first out the door. Dawn sighed and shook her head, accepting Tim’s hand as he helped her out while Dick scowled good naturedly at his little brother.
“Be nice to your brother, he’s the one that will have to teach you to get out of the dog house someday,” Dawn told the younger man, kissing him on the cheek before winking at Dick as she walked by him and up the steps, purposefully adding a bit more swing to her hips as she went. “After all, he’s in it often enough,” she tossed over her shoulder as she reached the top of the steps and Alfred opened the door for her.
“Babs might be ridiculously talented when it comes to computers, but she still worries me less than Dawn sometimes,” Tim informed the taller man as Dick dropped an arm around the younger boy’s shoulders and tugged him up the steps.
The rest of Tuesday was spent showing off Gotham to her not so impressed sister (though Buffy did enjoy the new Louboutin line down on Fifth) but eventually Dawn’s love of the dark city won the blond over. Andrew seemed taken in by all the sparkle and zest that Gotham had to offer from the start. Something about a city so immersed in darkness made the living that much more important. All the silly society glitz and glam Dawn had always kind of thought was dumb and just made everything seem a bit more edgy. If they were going to go down at any time due to capes, mobs, or your common sidewalk thug you might as well enjoy everything to the best of your ability. Everyone was always so desperate to enjoy themselves. It made Buffy uneasy, but Dawn thrived in it a bit, again it was the part of her which would always consider Sunnydale home, despite the death and demons.
It almost seemed like there wasn’t enough time to do the sisterly bonding thing when she realized Wednesday was here and she needed to do the prep work and get everything that could be cooked ahead of time dealt with. Pies included. Actually the pies were of such of importance that Dawn felt the need to make three times as many as they really needed. That and she really just wanted to have pumpkin pie for breakfast, but since Alfred didn’t seem to mind she didn’t see anything wrong with it. Actually if Alfred had minded she probably still wouldn’t see anything wrong with it.
Alfred was doing his part to inform ‘Mistress Buffy and Master Andrew’ their presences were not welcome in the kitchen. The look on Buffy’s face the first time Alfred looked blankly down the razor sharp nose of his and told her to leave was priceless. Sadly it had been one of the few moments Andrew hadn’t had his camcorder on him, but the look would be etched in her mind for some time to come. Not enough people told her sister no these days. Dawn would have to remember to convince the girls at Castle Slayer that Buffy was still human and things like short sheeting her bed and disconnecting the hot water from her rooms could be good fun, so long as they didn’t get caught.
Her Wayne boys did their best to keep the Slayer contingent occupied, easy enough on Tuesday when it was just Giles, Buffy, and Andrew and Dawn was there to help them. Harder when everyone else started showing up and Dawn ensconced herself in the gargantuan kitchen and began to make a giant mess of it. Alfred took it all in a stride, cleaning up behind her or having her clean as he rescued a dish. It wasn’t that Dawn couldn’t cook, it was more that she kept getting distracted by various thoughts in her head and sounds from upstairs. She seemed positive that Buffy was going to try and break her boyfriend.
Thankfully Bruce was more than able to handle the hordes, especially when he had them mingle with his own guests to keep occupied. Giles and Commissioner Gordon got on like a house on fire and sat down near one another extolling the frightening nature of teenage girls and bonding over good scotch. Willow and Babs started in on the computer stuff, while Dick and Xander teased them both mercilessly. Buffy and Bruce each seemed to drift through the groups, though rarely at the same one together. The two didn’t dislike each other exactly, but they still seemed wary around one another. Faith showed up late Wednesday, towing Vi and Rona with her and sporting a neat row of stitches that trailed from her throat down across her left collar bone.
“Little D, where the hell you hiding girl?” Faith demanded, her voice booming through the halls with brash abandon. Dawn had laughed and wiped her hands on a cute little apron that had magically appeared in the kitchen a few days before. Bruce liked to leave cute things she tended to adore, but would never get for herself around his home. Just leaving them where she would find them and then pretending he had no idea how they got there.
“I’m not hiding, I’m cooking.” Dawn replied as she made it out to the foyer, a grin crossing her face as she saw her sister and Faith eyeballing each other like two cats. Faith was the feral one and Buffy was the pampered Siamese with the ridiculous diet and oh lord Dawn needed to stop letting herself watch so many Disney movies.
“Did you help them move the skeletons out of the closets?” Rona asked as she came over to hug Dawn. Rona and Vi had been two of Dawn’s favorite mini-slayers back in the battle with The First and they’d stayed friends in the intervening years.
“It took a lot more time than I thought it would,” Dawn told her with a grin, hugging the redhead waiting patiently behind her friend.
“I think that saying is supposed to be rhetorically ironic.” Vi told the two girls as she let go of the brunette and smiled brightly.
“That’s just what they want you to think,” Dawn told her as she nodded sagely.
“The only skeletons in my closet were the ones Dawn put there in there in the first place, don’t let her fool you,” Dick grinned charmingly as he slipped an arm around Dawn’s waist.
“He gets a nine out of ten, but only because I can’t quite picture him naked.” Faith suddenly interrupted, her head cocked to the side as she stared at Dick appraisingly. “Could you have him strip for us really quick?”
“Faith!” Buffy and Giles sounded shocked, while Xander said her name with a bit of a laugh.
“Ooh, do you have pictures?” Willow suddenly asked eagerly, popping up on her toes.
“Does recognizing masculine beauty make you less gay?” Dick asked the redhead curiously, not at all embarrassed by the discussion.
“Not at all.” Willow assured him as Commissioner Gordon poured Giles another two fingers from the decanter Bruce was suddenly passing over to him.
“If I did have naked pictures of my boyfriend I certainly wouldn’t be sharing them with any of you drooling heathens,” Dawn informed them all archly, wrapping her arms around Dick’s midsection and lifting her nose in the air a bit.
“I would certainly hope not, do you know how much those would be worth on the internet?” Faith demanded with a grin.
“Damn straight,” Dawn agreed, a grin cracking her own facade.
“I knew it, you were only after me for monetary gain,” Dick declared, throwing his head back in dramatic misery.
“At least it wasn’t to gain what monetary holdings you had stowed away,” Tim pointed out after a moment.
“Little Mister Money Bags!” Faith was striding over to the lean teenager as she suddenly spotted him.
“You’re obsession is bordering on stalker.” Vi deadpanned as Faith reached the kid. Faith stuck her palm in front of Tim’s face.
“Does this smell like chloroform to you?” She asked in a stage whisper, smirking when Tim started to sniff only to stop himself and glower at her.
“Cute,” he told her as she wrapped an arm around his shoulder to rub his hair roughly. Somehow the two had struck up an odd friendship they didn’t really share with the others. He’d seen something in her that reminded him of Bruce on his worst days, and she liked his “old dude soul in the tellatubby costume.” Her referring to him as a creepy children’s show was odd, but she’d called him worse since then, though never in an insulting way.
The night eventually wound down as people ‘taste tested’ Dawn’s pies and eventually made their way home (or to their hotels) to get ready for the next morning. Dawn and Dick were spending the night at the manor, the boys all going out for a patrol while she got a decent nights sleep so she could get up early enough to make breakfast and start the turkey.
That was the plan anyway …
A wordless scream of anger echoed through the halls of Wayne Manor, quickly followed by the sound of heavy things being thrown across the kitchen. The Wayne men had been up late, but that didn’t stop the three from leaping out of bed and reaching for weapons. When they reached the kitchen they found Alfred with an iron fire poker and Dawn holding a meat cleaver in her hand and mumbling incoherently about evil things as the two perched on top of the counter.
“Please don’t tell me you got me up for a mouse.” Tim demanded with a groan, collapsing against the wall. He was back at attention immediately as the cleaver flew toward him, wedging into the plaster of the wall less than an inch from where his ear had been moments before.
“Don’t you start with me boy wonder!” Dawn growled at him as she pulled another large bladed knife and looked around the kitchen carefully. “Do you see it Alfred?”
“No Miss Dawn,” Alfred’s keen gaze seemed to be inspecting every shadow of the room just as Dawn’s and Bruce’s and Dick’s were.
“Can someone fill me in, because my brain doesn’t start without a couple cups of coffee in it.” Tim reminded them a moment later as he stepped inside the room. A strange noise had all of their attention moving to the other side of the cavernous room.
“Someone is trying to ruin my Thanksgiving.” Dawn’s angry statement seemed to imply that whoever had dared do such a thing was going to face her wrath and regret it in the near future.
“Is that a turkey?” Dick asked after a moment, suddenly recognizing the strange sound coming from the shadows. His girlfriend’s face dropped into a deeper scowl.
“No,” She stretched the word out a bit and threw the knife in her hand straight at the turkey making the strange noise. The thing went running out of the corner and straight at Tim and Dick, both of whom leaped away and let it pass. “That is the reanimated corpse of what was supposed to be our main course! Someone turned my turkey into a damned zombie!” She hopped off the counter, letting Bruce steady her and then pass her off to Dick as the younger man got back to his feet.
“Are you alright?” Dick asked, looking her over for sign of injury.
“No, I’m not ok! I opened the fridge and the bride of birdzilla freaking jumped out and tried to peck out my eyes!” She slapped him hard on the shoulder for being a moron and then grabbed yet another knife, heading out after the damned bird.
‘Where are you going?” Dick demanded. She gave him a look that clearly implied he was mentally handicapped.
“I’m going to go kill it.” She informed him, stalking off with Tim close behind her. Somehow he’d gotten ahold of a baseball bat.
“It’s probably best if you don’t tell her to sit back while you try to handle it.” Bruce warned him with a grin as Alfred picked up the phone and made a call to have a new turkey delivered to the manor as he began to make a pot of coffee.
Dawn stalked the zombie-bird through the halls of the manor while Bruce went down to the Bat Cave to see if it was an isolated instance. Dick and Tim helped Dawn to systematically check rooms and then shut and lock the doors when it was possible. Sadly a lot of the rooms had 2 entrances and neither had actual doors to lock things in. Add that to the labyrinthine corridors and multiple wings and it was worse than a needle in a haystack. At least the damned needle stayed put.
“This thing is NOT going to ruin my Thanksgiving Dinner!” Dawn declared just before the doorbell rang and she looked at her bare wrist.
“It’s 3.” Tim said unnecessarily.
“I figured that out,” Dawn snarled as she jogged toward the front area, the boys easily keeping pace with her. Dick motioned to Tim that he might just want to stop talking for a little while.
“Ah, here are is Miss Dawn and Masters Dick and Tim,” Alfred was the picture of calm and collected as he took in his charges (he’d adopted Dawn as such not long after he’d realized how serious Dick was about her.) Dawn was still in her pajama pants and Hello Kitty tank top, Dick wearing a low slung pair of pajama pants and no shirt, Tim in basketball shorts and a beater. All three of them holding weaponry.
“What happened?” Buffy was stepping forward and rolling up the sleeves of her sweater as her eyes focused squarely on her sister.
“Zombie turkey.” Dawn announced with a sigh and a bit of a pout.
“That’s a first,” Xander looked amused at the prospect of such a thing and Dick shot a confused look at his foster brother as Tim grinned over at a smiling Faith. He had a feeling he was somehow missing something.
“The weapons on the Coat of Arms are all real,” Tim offered after a moment of silence as Dawn patted Dick on his chest absently. Faith’s eyes suddenly zeroed in on his torso.
“Damn Dawnie, how do you let him out of the bedroom?” The brunette demanded, leering at the man.
“Why limit myself to having him in just one room?” Dawn demanded innocently as she took off down one of the halls with Vi and Rona trailing after her. Dick winked at his brother and then took off after his girlfriend, he might have missed something, but he wasn’t gonna let her go off to kill a zombie without him.
“I didn’t want to hear that.” Tim said a moment later, having taken a little longer than usual to process that particular nightmare.
“So how do we kill this thing once we find it?” Dick asked a moment later.
“Go for the head?” Dawn offered, not really sure herself. They didn’t really deal with reanimated corpses all that often.
“Well that didn’t work!” Rona was running back down the hall 10 minutes later, the other three trailing after her as they tried to regroup. Now in bigger groups it was easier to block entrances with furniture, though they’d been warned more than once not to scratch anything. The threat of having to go explain the damage to Alfred seemed to go a long way to making people take extra care of the antiques.
“I thought you killed zombies by cutting off the flow to the brain!” Dick demanded, bending over and breathing heavily.
“Turkeys don’t really have much in the way of brains,” Tim commented a moment later as he caught up to them.
Dawn glared at the shorter boy, he’d be taller than her as soon as he hit another growth spurt, but for now she got to look down at him with her fists propped on her hips. “Why didn’t you mention that earlier?”
“I didn’t think the body would grow a new head when we cut it off!” Tim shouted in consternation, his arms flinging wildly and suddenly looking like the young teen he was. No one had thought the tiny head would grow an equally tiny body, leaving them with a normal sized zombie turkey as well as a pocket sized version.
“Maybe we can do a Sri Lanka?” Buffy offered after a moment of thought as she brushed plaster off of her sweater and smoothed her hair.
“We don’t have that much C4.” Dawn waved a dismissive hand. “Besides, I don’t think Bruce wants us to destroy his family home.”
“The Mausoleum could use the update,” Buffy shot back, eyeballing the carpet and walls with a touch of distaste.
“Really? You’re choosing this moment to insult the decor?” Dawn demanded, her voice rising in disbelief. Buffy shrugged delicately, her nose wrinkling a little. She wasn’t a big fan of ‘old is new’ she was more of the ‘new is new and pretty and old things get thrown out’ mentality. It was constantly making Giles hyperventilate.
“I’ve got it! Zambia!” Faith came running in with a large axe in her hands and a gleeful smile on her mouth.
“Where did you find that?” Dick asked, trying to remember if they had axes in the manor. Obviously they did or else Faith wouldn’t be wielding one, but he couldn’t remember seeing it before.
“It was over one of the fireplaces in one of the big rooms,” The brunette shrugged with one shoulder, not really sure how to describe the room any better.
“They’re all big rooms …” Xander mentioned after a moments pause.
“Maces down the hall!” Tim suddenly remembered, shooting off down the hall with Rona on his six. She had a fondness for the mace, despite the heightened likelihood of getting demon blood and goo on your clothing. Spatter was pretty much guaranteed with a mace.
“There has got to be a better way to deal with this.” Xander commented after a moment, his nose sniffing the air. He hadn’t seen Willow or Andrew for a while and he had the feeling Dawn was going to be quite upset when she discovered Andrew had ‘hid in the kitchen for safety reasons’. He’d been hoping to get to help cook all along.
“Wait a second!” Everyone paused at Dick’s shout. “Do you hear that?” A strange hissing noise came from just down the hall in one of the larger sitting rooms, and the group nearly tripped over themselves getting to the room only to find Bruce standing there with a canister of liquid nitrogen and a vaguely self satisfied look on his face. At his feet was a large frozen zombie turkey and as they watched, the mini zombie came running at him and he pointed the nozzle at it, smiling grimly as the little thing was enveloped in cold mist before becoming a zombie ice cube.
“That was a bit disappointing.” Faith said, looking down at the blade of the axe sadly. It had a nice weight to it and she’d looked forward to throwing it at least once. The Peanuts theme song drifted through the air, distracting part of the group as Xander dug out his cell phone.
“Text from Willow says she and Giles found Raynes Gourmet Meats and ended the ritual.” Xander announced as Dawn nudged one of the frozen turkeys with her toe.
“Any sign of Ethan?” Dawn demanded, retribution plotting behind her eyes.
“Sadly, no,” Xander said slowly, taking a step backwards as Dawn seethed silently before turning and walking away from the room.
“Tim, if you could get our guests some refreshments?” Bruce suggested as he eyeballed the corpses at his feet and contemplated what to do with them.
“Sure thing.” Tim looped an arm through Faith’s and tugged her forward. “If you ask nicely maybe he’ll let you have it. Those cross inlays are real silver.” Tim offered, making the other slayers follow more closely. Offering weapons to a slayer worked far better than offering candy. Xander stayed behind for a moment, just long enough to catch Bruce’s eye and raise the eyebrow over his good eye. After that he moved off, following after his slayers with a grin. The Wayne men were a bit too comfortable with all of this, but Dawn had promised she didn’t share their secret with them. Still, things that went bump in the night were easy enough to find if you went looking.
“Did you let Andrew cook the turkey?” Dawn demanded, staring at Alfred after she’d had time for a quick shower and a change of clothes. She hadn’t had to tell the boys to get dressed, Alfred had done it for her. Now Dawn’s eyes were wide and sad looking, the hint of tears not far off as she waited for Alfred’s next words.
“Of course not Miss Dawn, I took care of it myself.” Alfred assured her with a slight bow, happy to see that her eyes were instantly mollified.
“Do you actually get away with the puppy eyes around here?” Faith asked in amusement, snagging a finger full of mashed potatoes.
“Always.” Dawn smiled brightly at the other woman and then sent a darker look over to Andrew. The young man had taken over her kitchen just as she’d feared. Still her sister hadn’t gotten in there and half the food had been made the night before … in all it wasn’t so bad.
“Alright troops, food to the dining room!” Dick announced as he saw Dawn sigh and then smile over at Andrew. The shorter man came closer and snuggled in close to Dawn as people began taking dishes out to the large dining room.
Their group was large enough that they filled the table, both the Zombie-Turkey hunters and the guests that had arrived after that particular festivity. Somehow people got it into their heads to start saying the things they were thankful for and it ended with the Waynes and Dawn.
“I’m thankful for all of my family being under the same roof.” Dawn said, feeling sappy as she held up her glass of wine and smiled at the group around her. Dick kissed her on the temple and whispered something only she could hear that made her blush before he took his turn.
“I’m glad that, with all of us under the same roof, the world didn’t end.” Dick joked, his grin getting bigger with all of the groans around the table.
“You jinxed us for sure.” “Great, next time it’s an apocalypse for sure.” “We’re all gonna die.” “You’re lucky you’re hot, considering you’ve just killed us all.” “We’re screwed” The grumbles continued as Dawn laughed and kissed Dick on the side of his mouth while he asked what it was he said. Considering how blase the group had been about Zombie Turkeys he had no doubt it would only get more interesting with time, might as well tempt fate and get a little fun out of it.