Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural. All rights remain. Written for fun, not profit.
Author's notes: Set pre-series for SPN, probably the summer before season 1, and post finale for BtVS. Written because I think I'd spy on my baby brother, too, which is obviously an older sibling thing. Written for twistedshorts August Fic-A-Day.o)O(o
Buffy told herself she wouldn't do it. After all, her little sister was not so little anymore. Dawn was a grown woman. She'd paid bills, helped save the world, learned to use weaponry. And this? This was nothing—this was Dawnie leaving for early admissions and orientation a couple months in advance because, as a grown woman, she could choose to do so. And Buffy had even agreed it was a good idea, called it a "mini vaca" before classes started.
So, why was it that Buffy currently found herself in Palo Alto? Because, the rules of the universe dictated that, as the eldest, it was her job to spy on her younger sibling. Those same rules also dictated that if Dawn could find trouble, she would.
With that in mind, Buffy felt only a minimal amount of shame as she quickly crossed the sidewalk, used a bus stop as a hiding spot, and watched her sister, still with the group of older students who'd been showing her around all day, step into a dive.
Okay, dive was a bit harsh, she'd admit.
It was actually a vegetarian pizzeria. One of those places only college kids ate at because of their instinctive need to patron somewhere non-mainstream while still doing what everyone else was doing. The Buffy of Dawn's age probably would have loved its low-played crappy music, cute names for specials, dingy esthetic, and cafeteria-style set-up; the Buffy of Now would have settled for Chinese take-out.
She reached down to peel a flyer for a poetry reading off her boot and slipped around the other side of the bus stop, studying the layout of the front of the restaurant. It was a corner shop, so the mismatched scattering of picnic tables curved around the side of the building. That would be a good spot to get a look through the side window…If she could ditch the guy who'd been following her since she'd left the campus.
Buffy had lost soldiers on their own terrain, ambushed demon nests, and thoroughly surprised her fellow slayers before; yet, weird, kinda-cute guy had stuck close. Mainly because she'd had to stay slow to keep pace with Dawn's friends. Damn this whole getting tailed while tailing thing.
Just when she was prepared to launch herself at the guy, he walked right past her and toward the pizzeria.
So maybe he wasn't following her
after all. Probably just a student wanting to catch up with his friends. Buffy would admit she was getting paranoid in her old age (i.e. mid-twenties), and this was a complete possibility.
She slipped out of the bus stop, catching up behind him, "Hey!"
He paused, glimpsing over his shoulder with a furrowed brow, as if she'd somehow interrupted him. When he got a look at her, though, his expression lightened, a wide grin spreading across his features. He cocked his head, turning fully to give her his attention, as if it were somehow an engrained response to seeing a woman.
Buffy drew a conclusion right then: he was so not following her.
"Hey to you, too," he returned.
Buffy almost rolled her eyes, because she recognized that look on his face—he was admiring the view. She knew she should have been appalled at his attempt to charm her with a glance alone, but she couldn't help but feel a little pleased—well, I guess this gold-yellow halter top is officially guy-approved.
And it might have helped that, her first observations were correct, he was a cutey. Spiked dark blond hair, sparkling green eyes, perfectly thick lips, and towering about a foot taller over her. And, one glance down told her he definitely knew how to wear a pair of jeans. Mommy like.
Buffy gave herself a mental slap and her mind a lecture. Mommy's working right now, and I don't care how long you've been absent from the game, now is not the time! And quit calling yourself Mommy before you give yourself a complex.
"Uh, you okay?"
There was a touch of concern in his eyes.
Buffy blinked, realizing she'd completely zoned. Way to keep control. She frowned playfully. "I'm so sorry, I thought you were someone else…Oops."
"Oh." A touch of disappointment. "Too bad."
"Yeah, too bad," she echoed.
Buffy stepped around him, zooming in on the small, round café table with two metal chairs on the other side of the restaurant. The sidewalk was empty and there was a tall, logo-covered window right beside it. A perfect position for spying on her sister.
"So, this someone you thought I was…"
His voice was little husky, a little amused; just right. But, she huffed when she heard it directly beside her. Not-a-stalker guy hadn't walked into the pizzeria. He took a quick step, and before Buffy realized what he'd done, he was slipping into the chair she'd been aimed to take. Her
chair at her
"That's my spot," she announced.
She could tell from his eyes that he was laughing at her on the inside. "They reserve tables at this joint? Who knew." She must have sent him an evil glare, because he cleared his throat and gestured at the other seat. "But, hey, sweetheart, feel free to join me if want. I don't mind the company."
Despite his flirty tone, Buffy had the feeling that last part was a lie. She narrowed her eyes.
Fine. If weird guy was evil, she'd take care of him later. If not, he could be ignored. She pulled out the opposite chair and sat down, annoyed but plastering a smile on her face, nevertheless.
He shot her a look. "You know, I don't think we actually get service back here."
"Then maybe you should go inside," Buffy said, just as sweetly.
They stared at one another, waiting for someone else to make the move. Finally, the guy leaned back in his seat, getting comfortable and shooting the window a glance. "Nah. I don't even like vegetarian food. I'm just here for the view."
That should have been a leer, but it wasn't. Buffy leaned over, glimpsing through the window as well. She could see Dawnie's group at the far side of the restaurant, partially hidden by a wall sculpture made of car plates.
"Yeah, me, too…" Buffy frowned suddenly, letting that part sink in. "You're a creeper," she announced. "You're a creepy creeper who's creeping on someone."
He opened and closed his mouth, a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "If I'm a creeper, you're a creeper, too."
Buffy couldn't deny that. She tried. "Nu-uh! I'm just…" She shrugged. "I'm just checking in on my little sister."
"Huh. Well, I'm just checking in on my little brother."
"Are you making that up?"
"No, are you?" he snapped back.
Buffy let her gaze jump from the window to the guy. She'd spent too many years sorting through lies, both of the human and demon variety, to not be able to spot them. It was weird. It wasn't mega-weird, a creature from the land that normal forgot, but it was human weird. Still, that was the truth, shining back at her.
She reached a hand out. "Buffy."
He took it, gave it a gentle squeeze. "Dean." He shook his head, amused. "So, who's the mark?"
"See the tall girl? Brunette with highlights? Wearing the styling striped sweater shirt, even though it's way too hot out here for it?"
Dean chuckled. "Cute."
"Better follow that with 'kid', Dean," Buffy warned, crossing her arms over her chest. "She's an entering freshman."
He held his hands up in surrender. "I'm just admiring the genes."
He was already back to staring past the logo when Buffy caught on to the complement and bit down a grin. I'm categorizing you as a player, Dean.
Before she could reply, he nodded his head at the window.
"Looks like she's hanging out with the right crowd. Big dopey kid, a few years older than your sister? Shaggy brown hair, arm around the blonde? That's Sam."
Buffy raised a brow. "Wow. Sam of the Giants. Sucks to be shorter than them, doesn't it?"
"So, Sam's one of the students showing my baby sister around campus," Buffy mused. "I guess he stays here during the summer, then?"
"Kid loves his schooling."
Buffy cause him wince, as if the words hurt him a bit. She chewed her lip, wanting to ask, but didn't. "Dawnie, too. She's here on a full scholarship."
"…I mean, it was a real wonder she managed it, since she lost her school records while we were moving around…"
"Yeah, Sammy switched schools four times his senior year."
Buffy nodded. "It's tough. Of course, Dawn had a gift for language, so I'm sure that helped catch the eye of the scholarship committee…"
"Sammy knows Latin."
"Dawn's studied Sumerian texts since she was fifteen."
"Sammy's been researching languages since—" Dean broke off, straightening. "Wait, are we competing?"
Buffy frowned, blushing a bit. "Guess we've got a case of big-sibling pride happening here. We kinda sound like soccer moms."
Dean grinned back at her. "Not exactly a bad thing. Minus the soccer mom part." He took advantage of his chair's lack of arms and scooted over, leaving most the seat free. "Come over here—you'll be able to see them better from this angle."
"Yeah, that's kind of why I was going to sit there—you know, before you stole it out from under me."
Nevertheless, she stood up, dropped her bag onto the table, and eased onto the seat, trying and failing to not bump hips with the man. Buffy tried to ignore the distraction and leaned in close to him, breathing in a whiff of hot leather, even though he was wearing a t-shirt. He was right, she could see Dawn's smiling face from here.
Someone must have told a joke, because the group was laughing as a whole. Something in Buffy's chest tightened. None of these people were Scoobs. None of them related to the Slayer's world. Dawn was achieving normal, something she hadn't had since Sunnydale had sunk. It was something Buffy hadn't tried to obtain again, not since so many failed attempts. She'd resigned herself to the job, to forming her life around it. But, she knew Dawn was going the other route…
Buffy couldn't distinguish between pride and envy at the moment. Both hurt a little; both made her happy, too.
Buffy forced herself to look away, compose herself, and when she did, she was inches from Dean's face. He didn't seem to notice, transfixed by the sight in front of him. There was the hint of a grin at his lips, but his eyes were sad, betraying him.
"He's been with that same girl the last couple times I stopped in. Think he's probably getting close to poppin' the question."
Buffy reached under his arm, holding to his wrist, as if she needed the support to keep from falling off the seat. Dean's muscles tensed beneath her a moment before he let out a breath, relaxing. "You haven't spoken to him in a while?" Buffy asked.
He bit his lip, as if trying to shut up. "Nah," he muttered. "We're…estranged. Big family upset—he, uh, Sammy was wanting to get out of the family business and Dad…" Dean shook his head. "You know, family stuff."
"Yeah," Buffy agreed, "I get that."
Buffy could almost feel him getting ready to leave, ending the conversation completely, so she went back to what she'd come here for, making sure Dawn was okay. Her eyes widened in surprise when she saw a familiar figure stepping through the mass of tables, toward Dawn.
"What the heck is Xander doing here?" she snapped.
"Know Mr. Eye Patch?"
"He's one of my best friends—if I'd known he was coming to see Dawn, I wouldn't have needed to spy until the new semester started." Buffy felt her cheeks redden—she hadn't meant to admit to her spying session being on a schedule.
Dean chuckled. "Nice. Hey, I thought you said I was too old for your sister?" he joked.
Buffy's brow wrinkled in confusion until she saw why Dean had made that comment. Xander had…"Oh, my god, seriously?" Buffy hissed. Her eyes widened when Dawn stood to greet their old friend, but, instead of wrapping her arms around him in a hug, their lips met in a deep welcoming kiss. And so totally not a first kiss kiss either.
Buffy wasn't sure when her slayer senses abandoned her, but one second she was leaning forward to see if she really did see what she saw and the next, her forehead was bouncing off the window with a clunk.
She grimaced, first in shock, then in realization: the noise had been loud. She could see a few strangers staring at the window, and Dawn's table of friends stiffened, moving as one to look.
Buffy felt her body lift up as Dean wrapped one arm around her waist and another around her neck, pressing his lips to hers in a chaste kiss and putting his back to the window.
Buffy was pretty sure that one more shock to her system would be enough to kill her. He pulled his lips away, licking her lip gloss off the bottom one and keeping his head down. "You think they saw us?" he whispered, all business.
"Did…did you seriously just play the whole couple-making-out distraction card?" she asked, breathless.
He smiled ruefully. "Did it work?"
Buffy leaned over his shoulder, peeking through the logo. The restaurant patrons, including Dawn and Xander, weren't looking. The group of students were already digging into a fresh pizza. "Surprisingly…yes. Yes, it did. I'm going to have to talk to those two about their observation skills."
Dean snorted. "Yeah, Sammy, too—kid must be rusty."
Buffy pulled away from him, and they both stood up, taking a step away from the window, just to be on the safe side. "I can't believe those two have been...I mean how long have they been...And was I the last to—"
Dean caught her chin with one hand, pressing his lips against hers again. She fell into the movement, opening her mouth to let his tongue graze her teeth. It sent a tickling shock of pleasure to her system. He let go, stepping back.
She let out a shallow breath. "What—?"
"Just putting that couple-making-out distraction to work again. You looked like you could use it."
Buffy wanted to punch him in the arm. Darn it, she had a reason to go off on a tangent—her best friend and her sister were hooking up behind her back! But, somehow, she couldn't work up the anger that had been building a moment earlier. "Darn it!" she snapped, frustrated. "I want to be pissed, you jerk!"
Dean grinned. "See? Worked."
Buffy paused, giving the window a final glance, before she let her attention settle on Dean. There was a hopeful suggestion in his eyes, an invitation.
"But, how long will that distraction work for?" she asked. "I mean, seeing something like that…It could take multiple distractions to get over it."
Dean raised a brow. "Well, what kind of person would I be if I left a fellow creeper in distress." He smirked. "You think our little siblings can survive the rest of the day? I think spying can wait until tomorrow."
Buffy grabbed her purse with one hand and Dean's wrist with the other. "We raised them right. They'll make it. Now, how do you feel about restaurants that serve real food? Or better yet—how do you feel about room service?"
"Buffy, you read my mind…"