Authors Note: To my beta, Kaz. I owe you so much!
Chapter 3: Herself
Feeling refreshed from the short catnap, Dawn yawned as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Muffled sounds reached her ears as she turned to look towards the door.
Dawn’s blue eyes narrowed when she saw that it was opened a crack.
"Someone must have opened the door-," she mused to herself, as she eased out of bed. "I hope it wasn’t Buffy! I’m certainly not ready to deal with Miss Psycho Blonde." Dawn continued, even though she knew that avoiding her sister was impossible.
Dawn’s stomach clenched in hunger, and she knew that a lengthy conversation awaited her as soon as she stepped out of the comfort of her safety zone. The brunette softly treaded down the stairs, stopping half way from the bottom. She peered over the banister, craning her neck towards the living room as she tried not to be seen.
A small smile crossed her face, as she observed the room. Willow and Tara were curled up together on the couch while watching television. Spike was seated in a chair off to the side, his polished fingers caressing a silver flask, like a bear caring for her cub.
The teen wrinkled her nose at the strong whiff of alcohol that wafted to her nose. Just as she was about to turn away to go upstairs, Spike caught her eye.
"Well, if it isn’t Sleeping Beauty!" Spike drawled sarcastically, smirking in Dawn’s direction.
Willow and Tara’s attention diverted from the television to the scene that was about to be played out.
"She’s finally awake, Slayer," the blonde vampire finished, turning his eyes towards Buffy’s direction.
"Dawn? Dawn, come here please." Buffy’s voice echoed throughout the house.
Dawn sighed, closing her eyes briefly. "Coming!" she yelled answering her sister’s call.
Slowly, she made her way down the rest of the stairs to the living room. The first thing Dawn noticed was that, Buffy had changed from her workout sweats to more suitable slaying clothes. Dawn watched as her sister carefully placed a short sword in her weapons chest. From the sparkle it gave, the weapon had probably just been polished.
Buffy looked up while wiping her palms on the front of her black jeans. "Dawn, I’m sorry for yelling at you earlier. I know, that I haven’t been there for you, Dawn," Buffy apologized, looking at her younger sister.
Dawn looked up at the ceiling, as she blinked the tears away. She could feel everyone’s eyes on her, but she refused to look down. The young teen could note bear to see the coldness in Buffy’s hazel eyes.
"Look at me, Dawn!" Buffy ordered.
"Dawnie, I said look at me, please." Buffy begged her voice cracking with raw emotion.
Dawn leveled her gaze with her sister. As their eyes locked, she could see a spark that was not there before. It was like the old Buffy was back.
Sincerity rained in the slayer’s hazel eyes as she spoke. "I promise, I’ll try to be there, Dawnie."
Dawn’s throat tightened, as she heard her nickname once again come from her sister’s mouth.
"Okay, Buffy," she agreed in a whisper.
"Alright, how about we all order out?" Willow asked cheerily, jumping to her feet.
Tara wiped her eyes promptly and smiled.
"How about Buffalo wings, and those little onion blooms?" Spike asked, rubbing his hands together. A hungry look crossed his face, as he thought about dipping them in some O neg.
The blonde vampire was met with several glares.
"Pizza?" Buffy questioned, looking at her sister.
"Pizza!" Dawn agreed, rubbing her growling stomach.
A couple hours later, a full Dawn plopped down onto her bed, her mind going over what had happened earlier. Dawn was happy her sister was taking an interest back into her life, but another part of her questioned how long would it last. She realized that Buffy needed to sort out her problems and that didn’t include the time she needed to spend slaying. Her sister’s schedule was tight as it was, and fitting Dawn into it didn’t seem all that likely with any frequency.
Dawn contemplated forgetting all about leaving Sunnydale, but her heart told her it was best to leave. She needed to grow, and learn, without people whom perceived her as a child breathing down her neck.
She had enough money left over from past allowances to buy a bus ticket to Los Angeles. Dawn figured once she left Sunnydale, that maybe she could call up her dad for money. Although he wasn’t on the best terms with Buffy, the memories implanted into her by the monks told Dawn, that she was a daddy’s girl. In L.A, she could rent a hotel room for a couple of nights, till she figured what she wanted to do with life.
Her mind was set, Dawn Summers was leaving Sunnydale.
If she wanted to leave Sunnydale, Dawn had to part quietly. First, she needed a new identity. The brunette knew that if she didn’t obtain a false one, the Scoobies could easily track her. Getting the identity was pretty easy for someone with knowledge on hacking. She silently thanked Willow for drilling cyber knowledge into her brain, as her fingers flew over the keyboard.
"Yes!" Dawn cried happily, pumping her fist in the air.
All eyes turned to her. Many regarded her as strange, while the librarian glared over the top of her glasses. She smiled a small smile and turned back to the monitor screen.
Dawn had just hacked into one of the most secure government databases. After creating her new name, Dawn now had a social security number, a high school diploma, and of course her birth certificate. Dawn arranged to pick up the documents at Sunnydale Post Office.
A few weeks later a Fed-Ex package would arrive, giving the teen her new identity.
Sure enough, two weeks later a bundled-up Dawn stood in front of Sunnydale Post Office. It was the first week of December, and the temperature had dropped to the lower fifties, leaving a chill in the air. Grasping the door handle, she entered the heated building. Dawn strode towards the front desk, smiling at the man whom was dressed in a black business suit.
"Can I help you?" he politely asked.
"Yes, I’ve come to get a package." Dawn replied, giving the brown-eyed man a smile.
"Joy Mayhem," Dawn easily lied, as she flipped her brown, highlighted hair.
"Can I see some identification, please?" He asked, running his hands through his dark hair.
Dawn inwardly groaned. How could she forget about I.D? Taking a deep breath, she said the first thing that came to her mind.
"Please sir, this package is important. It’s from my sister in Washington, you see. She just gave birth to quadruplets. My mother is on her deathbed, and the doctors say she could die any minute. Her last wish is to see my sister and her babies. Since my sister just gave birth, she won’t be able to make it!" Dawn sobbed, fake tears leaking from her eyes.
His expression softened slightly.
"Well, I suppose I can bend the rules, just for you of course."
A minute later the man returned with a white envelope.
"Ah, yes. Miss Mayhem, sign here, here, and here," the man instructed, pointing to the various lines.
Dawn did as she was told, making sure to sign her new name.
"Have a nice day!" he answered, smiling a full-teeth smile.
"You, too!" Dawn replied, re-adjusting her scarf as she walked out.
With legal documents to prove it, she was now Joy Mayhem, an eighteen-year-old who was born July 7th, 1983 in New York City. Her parents perished in a house fire when she was four, thus leaving her to bounce around from foster home to foster home.
That night, Dawn retired to bed early claiming she was tired. Using her large duffel bag, she packed everything she would need. Swinging her bag over her shoulder, Dawn easily climbed down the terrace jumping half way down as she stumbled to regain her balance. Revello Drive would always be apart of her, but Dawn couldn’t help but feel sad for she had many memories in this house. With one last look at the Summers’ property, the brunette turned making her way towards the direction of the bus station.
"You are now leaving, Sunnydale. Please come back soon!" Dawn whispered; reading the large white sign as it passed. At that same time, Buffy was opening the door to find out that her sister was gone. The only goodbye was a pile of letters waiting to be opened.
With some money she had saved from allowance, Dawn bought a ticket to Los Angeles.
She had no idea what she was going to do, as she only planned a get away from Sunnydale.
"I really did it!" Dawn thought, as she observed the rising of the sun. The first rays of light hit the dark sand, reflecting it a soft golden color. The brown-haired girl realized wherever she may be, and whatever she might do, she would always have herself.