Title: Not Good Enough
Author: Jinni (email@example.com)
Character(s): Buffy (mostly) Dawn/Lucas pairing
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Smallville belong to DC Comics, the WB, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author’s Notes: In response to Tara’s challenge to broaden my horizons. A character piece, dealing with Buffy’s feelings on why a certain someone isn’t good enough for her Dawnie.
Summary: He wasn’t good enough by a long shot. Then again – who would be?
She’s out with him again tonight; even though I asked her not to. She just looked at me, crossed her arms, and did something so much like me at that age, that I had to step back and go ‘huh’. She said ‘no’, and then turned and walked away. Brown hair swinging, I watched her walk out the door, hop into his expensive car, and speed off into the night. I asked her not to go, and she went anyway.
But the fact remains that there’s nothing I can do about it. If she was younger. . maybe. I mean, there’s no guarantee, right? Mom didn’t want me to do half the stuff that I did, but I did it anyway. That’s just the way teens are. Helps make them who they’re going to be, figuring things out for themselves. At least, it’s a theory. Maybe I picked it up during those few psych classes I actually attended one year.
Dawnie isn’t a teen anymore.
Well, she is. Eighteen, to be exact. Still a teen, but also an adult. Sure, she doesn’t act like it. She’s still so rash and reckless sometimes.
She reminds me of how I used to be.
And that’s scary.
Honestly, I don’t know how Mom did it. I don’t know how she could wait up at night, knowing I was out with. . .some random guy.
I don’t like how it feels. This. . .worrying.
He’s not good enough for her, and I can’t make her see that.
Lucas. That’s his first name, but I have no clue on the last. He doesn’t offer it, avoids the subject when I ask. If Dawnie knows, she isn’t telling me.
I think she knows.
I think she doesn’t want me to know.
Which makes me like him less.
Without his last name, not even Will’s hacker skills are much use. She could round up everything on the kid if we had that, I’m sure.
But we don’t.
So we can’t.
He has money. And, you know, I think that’s part of what I don’t like about him. He’s got too much money; me and Dawn always had to scrimp and save once Mom died. Lucas just throws it around. . .like he’s got a bottomless pit of cash stashed somewhere.
He’s only twenty. Two years older than my Dawnie. Too old for her on hand, not old enough on the other. Not mature enough, but too wise in those ways of the world that Giles once tried to have a serious talk with me about, all father to daughter like.
It’s not just the money. Or that he’s both older and not old enough, all wrapped up into one deceptively handsome package.
It’s something in his eyes.
I’ve seen eyes like that. Every time I look in the mirror, really. Eyes that have seen and done so much. Lived through horrors. . . and dome some.
Yet. . .he’s so sweet to her. He treats her like a princess. Better than any guy I’ve ever had in my life. Even Xander’s given up on finding something wrong with Lucas, just because of the way he makes Dawn smile.
She came home last night, red roses in her arms and a new jacket on her shoulders. Leather.
He buys her things . . .to make her lo-
No. She doesn’t love him. At least, I hope not. She’s got so much left to do. I don’t want to see her waste her life, get tied down so quickly. My Dawnie has so much to live for.
She’s smiling when she strolls into the living room. The lipstick on her lips is fresh, still glossy, and I know within a sinking feeling in my stomach that she had to reapply it, and that Lucas probably had smudges on his lips. . .or skin.
“Hey.” The smile on my lips feels brittle, fake. When did I become pseudo-Buffy? The girl that saved the world, yet can’t stop her sister from doing the wrong thing because it might make her unhappy?
I just don’t want her to hurt. To feel that pain that comes at the end. . .when the relationship is over and all you’re left with is that gag-worthy bitter taste in your mouth, the memories too strong, too painful.
That’s not what I want for her.
“Did you have fun?” Just keep smiling that smile, twinkle in the eyes. Don’t let her see what you’re hiding. Don’t remind her of what you said before she left.
I don’t want her to be mad at me, either.
I can’t protect her from everything, no matter how much I want to. I’ve died for her, and still life just keeps coming.
“I did,” her smile is infectious, almost enough to wrap me up in genuine emotion instead of this nagging falseness that’s invaded me. Fake Buffy, to the rescue. Ready to save the world with a smile and a sense of cheer. Keep the chin up, don’t let her see your worry. “He’s a nice guy, Buff.”
The smile falters at that, the eyes dim in their sparkling. I swallow and look away. “Dawnie –“
“He’s. A. Nice. Guy.” Her firm voice repeats, the couch sinking in as she sits down next to me. Soft hand on my arm, tugging until I look back towards her.
“Do you know anything about him?”
“I know enough to know that he’s had problems. And so have I. So have you and Willow and Xander. We’re not perfect, Buff. None of us. You dated two vampires, for God’s sake. How much badness did they inflict on the world at large?”
Low blow, and she knows it. I wince and look away again. Angel had a soul when I dated him . . .Spike, too. Two vampires, two souls. And a string of murders a mile long under their belts. I’ve done bad things. Willow. . .well, she tried to end the world. Even Xander’s had his less than groovy moments.
But Dawn. . .Dawn’s still so innocent.
That’s what makes it so hard, I know. Letting that last part of her that –is- innocent go up against this thing called love. Either she’d win out, or she’d lose.
I sigh, leaning back in the couch. Almost as if she knows what I need, Dawn lays her head down on my shoulder.
My sister. . . my best friend.
If she wants to make mistakes . . .
There’s nothing I can do to stop her. Just be there and do the whole pick up the pieces of the whole broken heart thing when she’s done.
“So – does this guy have a last name?” I ask quietly, promising myself that a little background check won’t hurt.
“Of course he does.”
Snarky remark, sassy grin. Yep, she’s my sister. Blood of my blood. . .literally.
And now I have a name to go with the face. Will can work her keyboard mojo tonight, when my would-be mini-me has gone to bed and can’t catch us snooping on her honey.
I said I’d let her make her own mistakes.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be prepared for them.