Black Hat 11
“I still can’t believe that you did that,” laughed Jack, as he held the door to Glimaok’s shop open for Dawn.
“I’ve warned Spike before about what I would do if he pissed me off,” Dawn said casually, more interested in Giles’ wish list than Jack’s admiring complaints about her revenge. “He was lucky all I did was pin him to the wall with my short sword and he knows it.”
“Don’t you mean you pinned him to the wall with a magicked short sword? Thanks to you, we were the only ones who could pull that sword out of the wall, and that had to wait until we’d slept off whatever painkiller that girl was using,” Black said pointedly. Once they were in the shop itself he didn’t have to worry about sunlight. Glimaok’s shop used magical filters on all of its windows to protect the customers from unwanted sunlight. Vampires weren’t the only ones who disliked sunlight in the demonic world, just the most obvious.
“Actually the two of you or any of the Scoobies can use my sword, and it was Willow who did the spell work on it. She’s put the same spell on all of the Scoobies’ and her more advanced students’ favorite weapons,” Dawn told them. She led them to the back of the shop where the supernatural community had a more private room, and once there to the recent acquisitions section.
“So if those weapons are lost in a fight they can’t be used against their owners?” Jack guessed. Dawn smiled as brightly as her name, and he couldn’t resist stealing a kiss.
“Right, of course we also want to make sure that an ally can use them, so Willow adds certain people to the short list,” Dawn said approvingly. Even the most innocent of conversations had become an excuse for flirting lately, even more so now that she knew how serious they were about her.
Their conversation, not exactly normal even in this shop, attracted some attention from the other customers. Most, seeing the flirting couple, dismissed their conversation as either a conversation about a role play, (the humans who didn’t know about the supernatural world who had only heard the first part), or as a conversation between a slayer and her young Watcher. The two who did not were the only actual Slayer and Watcher team in the store – Faith and Wesley. “Faith,” Wesley murmured, loud enough only for his Slayer to hear. “Who is that?” The question was a bit of a code that the two of them used between themselves. He was actually asking her if the man was human, and if not, did she know what sort of demon he was.
Faith smiled. “It’s five by five, that’s little D’s guy.”
“Oh, is he?” Wesley asked, fearing but really he knew what Faith’s response would be.
“Oh yeah,” Faith said. “She’s got her mom and big sis’s taste in guys. How all three of them managed to find a guy willing to work with us in that crowd is beyond me.”
“Quite,” Wesley agreed with a shake of his head. “That’s Jack, I take it?”
“Yeah, he’s hot too; if you don’t mind a hell of a lot of scars,” Faith said, wrinkling her nose a bit. Normally Faith didn’t mind scars, but Black Jack’s were the worst she’d ever seen.
“Hard to avoid them in our line of work,” Wesley pointed out as he touched the scar that ran across his throat. He relaxed at learning the vampire’s identity. Dawn and Willow had both checked to see if this one could get loose. Dawn was safe from that at least. “I hope that you’re keeping an eye on her though. If he is merely using her for the opportunity she represents….” he trailed off. It had happened before, and not with welcome results.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got that one covered,” Faith smirked. “No ass wipe is going to lay one hand on her without getting up close and personal with my fists. Then I’ll let B have what’s left.”
“How very generous of you,” Wesley smirked. It was no accident that Xander Harris had taken to calling them ‘Team Darkside’. There was a part of Wesley, one that he tried to keep buried, that matched Faith’s darkness. Should they so choose, there would be very little left to hand over to Buffy once they were done explaining to the vampire and his human brother where they’d made their mistake.
“Come on, we’ve got some threats to deliver if they’re playing tonsil hockey in public,” Faith said.
“I know why we have to wait. I just don’t want to,” Black was telling Dawn as Faith and Wes walked across the store and up behind them.
“You can start stalking me in two years,” Dawn soothed as she reached for another dusty tome. “You can even ask Spike how to draw it out three years. He’s even more impatient than you are, but he’s got good ideas. Plus, Angel’s a master at the art and as your grandsire, you can ask him too. They’ll make sure that you know how to do everything properly since your first sire can’t.” She was leaning back in his arms while she glanced through the book she held. She could feel Jack take over, something that she set aside to ponder later, as he groaned into her shoulder.
“You would remember that out of everything we babbled at you,” Jack mumbled. They’d both been more careful in checking Black’s meals for drugs ever since they’d sobered up and found Spike stuck to their living room wall three days ago.
“You were both very sweet, higher than a couple of satellites, but very sweet,” Dawn said as she checked the book against Giles’ wish list. They’d been lucky in finding an ancient card catalog of the former Watchers Council library in one of the old manor homes that had belonged to a Watcher family. The manor had been left to an American cousin from a branch of the family that had turned to demon hunting about the time of the American Revolution. When the new owner had stumbled across the catalog she’d sent it to Giles right away knowing how important it was. Her oldest daughter was a slayer. “This one is on Giles’ list, but I’m not seeing anything referring to the next couple of months.” She put the book in the shopping basket hanging from her arm. That was the hard part about the prophecy business. You never knew just what you were looking for until it was almost right on top of you.
“How about this one?” Jack asked, pulling out a book that was just too far for Dawn to reach. He’d learned to spot Sumerian by now, even if he couldn’t read it yet. He and Black had discovered that there were a lot of prophecies written in that language.
Dawn accepted the book, along with another kiss. When she opened the book to read the first page she paused. “Oh Wow! Guys, I think you just found a diary that predates the Watchers Council. If I’m reading this right, this book is a copy of a set of scrolls written by a scribe that traveled with someone that sounds like a slayer.”
“Well that is certainly something to investigate,” Wesley said, making himself and Faith known.
Dawn winced. “Hey guys,” she said. These days Faith could usually be found with her Watcher. Rumor had it that she was avoiding Robin Wood, but no one had the courage to ask. “I’ll trade for you not telling my sister,” she offered, wiggling the book a little at Wes. As much as he had changed, as the jeans, leather jacket, and the scar across his throat advertised, no Watcher ever lost their love of books.
“Chill out, Dawn Patrol,” Faith said, deliberately choosing the nickname Xander had coined for babysitting Buffy’s little sister. She wanted Dawn to know that just because she wasn’t going to say anything didn’t mean that she wasn’t going to look out for Dawn. “I already knew, and I haven’t blabbed to big sis yet. It’s not my place to say you can’t go and get your own bodyguard.” The emphasis and leer that she sent Jack made what she meant perfectly clear. “I thought you two weren’t up for a walk on the wild side. ‘Cause I gotta tell you, Dawnie might not look like it, but she’s just as bad as any slayer,” Faith warned.
“Actually, she’s worse,” Black told the pair. “You slayers don’t regularly mess around with magic. It’s Dawn herself that makes the risks worth taking.” Black stepped aside and let Jack have control. “Even knowing that we have to deal with her family and their tendency towards heroics and the end of the world situations, we still believe that she is worth far more than any changes we have to make in order to be with her in any way that she will allow.” Dawn rolled her eyes. Of course Jack would be the one to make a flowery speech. He had probably been one hell of a teacher before becoming a ritual sacrifice.
“If she is harmed in any way because of her association with either of you,” Wes threatened softly, looking all the more intimidating for his quiet approach.
“We’ll dust off the skills we learned from when we worked for the other side, and then - if you’re both very lucky - you’ll die before we can hand you over to the rest of the family for their turns,” Faith promised.
Dawn broke up the stare down between her boyfriends and the other senior slayer team. “Are you done with the shovel speech? ‘Cause we’ve got more shopping to do.”
“Certainly,” Wesley said, and quickly took the book out of Dawn’s hand. “We’ll see you back at the school.”
“After we go see that hillbilly demon about the sword repairs,” Faith reminded him.
“Kay Cee is its name, Faith,” Wesley said, rolling his eyes at his slayer as they moved towards the front, and less demonic/mystical, part of the store. “We’re not meeting it until five, but I’m sure that it has done a fine job repairing the baby slayer’s swords. It is the smith I gave your paired daggers to after that Bikaprik attack last spring.”
“Why would baby slayers need their swords repaired?” Black asked.
“Baby slayers are those who have recently been Called. They tend to be very hard on their equipment between the strength they haven’t adjusted to yet and their inexperience in actually using their new weapons,” Dawn explained.
“I thought that all slayers became experts in new weaponry within hours of picking something up for the first time,” Black said.
“They do,” Dawn agreed. “But those first few hours are very hard on the weapons. I knew one slayer who broke seven swords in her first hour of practice. That’s why the weapons the babies get are very generic. As they get older and more experienced, there is usually a point where a more personalized weapon becomes an appropriate present, either from one of the Watchers or from a parent.”