Rating: PG-13 for a smidge of language.
Summary: Dawn goes to W&H to escape from the Scoobies, and makes a startling discovery.
Disclaimer: Characters? Yeah, not mine. :: forlorn sigh ::
A/N: post-season seven for Buffy, AU for Angel… the last episodes of the last season were too depressing for a tender heart such as myself to handle, so I don’t even exactly know
what happened, so here’s what I’ve done – Angel & Co. are at Wolfram and Hart, Cordelia died soon after the whole Jasmine fiasco, Wesley is still alive and kicking, as is Fred. I think that’s all you need to know. (The Fred bit isn’t even important, but I just love her too much to leave her the way the show did…)
Thanks to dragon_fly_1_23, my beta, who so totally rocks.
Dawn took a deep breath and pushed open the doors to Wolfram and Hart, Los Angeles division. It had been kinda freaky when she went to the Hyperion Hotel and found it empty and collapsing, but it hadn’t been freaky enough to stop her mission. Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies had been skeptical of her when she’d announced she was going to work for Angel in LA, thus proving she wasn’t only a tag-along. She was eighteen, for pete’s sake, but everyone still seemed to think of her as the pretty little fifteen year old Key. ‘I’ll show them,’
Dawn thought, gathering all her stubborn will and determination as she approached the desk in the center of the floor. Before she got there, however, she bumped into something tall, scraggly, and British.
"Wes!" she squealed, wrapping her arms around him in a tight hug. She hadn’t seen her sister’s former Watcher in… well, ever if you were going technically, but it’d been a long time in her mind.
"Um, hello, ah, Dawn," Wesley managed, awkwardly patting her on the back. "Buffy mentioned you might be stopping by."
Dawn released him abruptly and took a step back. "She did?"
Wesley chucked. "It appears you aren’t as stealthy as you think you are, Dawn. She called soon after you left, saying this was probably your destination."
"Augh!" Dawn yelled, throwing her fists in the air in frustration. Wesley raised an eyebrow and took a step back, not interested in getting assaulted because of a temper tantrum. "She still treats me like a baby!
I’m eighteen, Wes! Can’t she see
Wesley cleared his throat. "Ah, apparently not." Dawn glared at him and crossed her arms over her chest, and he chose not to mention that she looked like a six-year-old child throwing a fit. "But, now that you’re here, what can I do for you?"
"I thought I’d maybe stay with Cordy for awhile," she said, missing the pained look that crossed his face. "I remember she always liked me, and she taught me make-up and stuff, and she was like my cool
big sister, and why are you looking at me like that?"
Wesley looked decidedly awkward. "Um. Cordelia, she’s… she’s gone, Dawn."
Dawn knew by the tone of his voice that he didn’t mean out for shopping. She staggered back a few steps, wishing there was a chair for her to fall back on, but there wasn’t so she sat on her suitcase instead. "Gone?" she repeated.
Wesley nodded. "I thought for sure Buffy would have told you."
Dawn shook her head, silent tears falling down her cheeks. "She never tells me anything," she whispered. She closed her eyes and rested her head on her knees, so Wesley wouldn’t see her crying. After a few moments, she took a deep breath and raised her head. "Was there… was there a funeral or something? Some sort of…"
"No," Wesley said, shaking his head in remorse. He thought he’d moved past this, but seeing the fresh emotion on Dawn’s face had brought it all rushing back to him. "She–"
He stopped abruptly as a strangled high-pitched sound came out of the teen. He looked down at her in shock, and saw that her face was white as a sheet, her eyes were wide, and her mouth was open. "Um, Dawn?" he asked gently, turning around to see what she was looking at so frighteningly.
It was Spike. The bleached blonde vampire had been descending the stairs into the main entrance when Dawn had seen him, and he stood, frozen to the spot, staring at her much like she was staring at him.
"No," she whispered. "No, no, no. You’re dead. It’s not real. He’s dead. This isn’t real." She had gotten up and scrambled back, stumbling over her suitcase, trying to back away from what she was seeing. It couldn’t be real; Buffy had said… Buffy told her he’d died.
"Bit?" Spike called uncertainly. He looked at Wesley, who took a step back and shook his head. The former Watcher wasn’t going to get involved this time. "Dawn?"
"Spike," Dawn breathed, covering her mouth with her hand. She glanced at Wesley, who didn’t seem surprised by the supposedly-dusted vampire, thus determining that Spike must, in fact, be alive… ish.
Which meant that Buffy had lied to her again, because there was no way her sister hadn’t known about this interesting turn of events.
"Spike," she repeated, rushing towards him with a grin on her face. He grinned back at her and opened his arms to receive her when she got closer, but instead she drew back a fist and punched him square in the nose.
"Ow!" he screeched, falling down ungracefully onto the stairs and holding his nose. "Bloody hell
that hurt! What the fuck did you do that for?"
"Why didn’t you tell me you weren’t dead?" Dawn demanded, hands on her hips. "Why the hell did you let us wallow in grief because we thought you were dust?"
Spike smirked up at her, blood dripping down from his nose onto his lips. "You lot were wallowing in grief?"
"I’ll punch you again," Dawn warned, and Spike stopped smirking. She glared at him for a minute, then remembered what was more important and sank down beside him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. "I missed you so much, you big jerk," she murmured into his shirt, a tear escaping and landing on his arm.
"Now, that’s more like it," Spike muttered, then leaned his head on hers. "I missed you, too, Nibblet. More than I can rightly explain."
Dawn looked up at him, a wounded expression on her face. "Then why didn’t you tell
us? Why didn’t you tell me
and let me know that my favorite vampire was still swaggering around?"
"I told Buffy," Spike said, shocked. It was the sort of information that was bloody vital to pass on! Especially to those ‘wallowing in grief’. He grinned, but hid it in her hair when she put her head back on his shoulder. It was good to be missed.
"God, I’m so uninformed!" Dawn said. "Nobody tells me shit!"
"Language," he chided, and she lifted her head and stuck her tongue out at him.
"I can swear whenever the hell I want," she retorted. "Besides, you taught me how."
"And who taught you to hit like that? Bloody hell, girl, you have some arm on you. When did that happen?"
"Faith," Dawn told him proudly. "I’ve been training with her. And helping with the new Slayers, too. There’s hundreds now, remember that spell? The one that Willow did? Right before you…" She trailed off and snuggled her head against him.
"I know," Spike said, nodding. "Buffy told me."
Dawn jerked back and the sudden vacant spot caused Spike’s head to hit his shoulder sharply. "How much do you guys talk? I mean, like, is it an ‘Oh-my-God’ phone bill? Nightly conversations? Weekly chats? Monthly letters? What?"
Spike chuckled. "You seem somewhat over-curious, pet."
"I just don’t understand why you can talk to Buffy whenever the mood strikes you, but you can’t bring yourself to tell me
you’re alive? It makes no fucking sense
, Spike! Weren’t you thinking about anyone else? Or was it just Buffy on the brain and everyone else can go to hell?"
"Dawn," Spike said in a warning tone, but deep inside his heart was breaking. How could his Little Bit think that he didn’t care about her? "It wasn’t like that. Not in the least."
you’d say that," Dawn hissed, an angry tear slipping down her cheek. "Nobody would ever tell me to my face
that I’m not important! Not even Andrew
was that stupid!"
"Hey, now," the vampire interrupted. "Don’t go saying rot like that. You are
important. Bloody important, to us all."
"Bullshit," Dawn snapped, turning from him and making to stomp down the stairs and sulk her way to somewhere that had never heard of any member of the Scooby Gang, past or present. Spike grabbed her arm before she’d taken one step, and he whipped her around to face him.
"Don’t you run out on me," he said. "Not until I’ve had a chance to explain."
?" Dawn demanded. "Explain that you didn’t care enough to tell me that you were alive? Explain that I was betrayed by the two people who mean the most to me? Explain that the man I love doesn’t even notice
me, and plays lapdog to my sister
instead?" She yelled in frustration and took advantage of his shock to wrench her arm from his grasp. "I don’t even care
anymore," she snarled, then stormed down the stairs.
Spike’s superhuman speed allowed him to beat her to the main floor, and she stopped abruptly as he suddenly appeared before her. "What?" he asked, brow furrowed in confusion. "What did you just say to me?"
"Nothing," Dawn muttered, quickly replaying her rant in her mind so she could figure out what she had
said. She remembered her accidental confession of feelings and her eyes widened. "Oh, God, nothing. Just let me go
"You love me?" Spike repeated, taking hold of her upper arms and keeping her in place. "Is that what you said? Dawn, is that what you said?"
"No," she whispered, but it had no conviction. Shit, shit, shit,
she panicked. Now she had wrecked a perfectly good rant and angry exit by telling the stupid vampire that she loved him. This changed everything, and she’d already had enough life-changing revelations for one day.
"Look at me, pet," Spike said gently, ducking his head to meet her eyes. She reluctantly looked up, and was taken aback by what she saw.
He loved her, too. She could see it in his eyes. Dawn frowned in confusion. "What about Buffy?" she asked, feeling thirteen and insecure again.
"That’s been over and done with for years, love," he assured her, and before she had a chance to register what was happening, he leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips.
It was everything she’d imagined since she’d developed her first crush on the blonde vampire. His lips were cool, just as she’d expected them to be, but the feel of them pressed against hers was so intense that she couldn’t even describe it. He pulled away before she wanted him too, and he grinned at her. "Believe me now, Nibblet?"
Dawn nodded, completely dumbfounded.
Angel smiled and inhaled the pungent scent of his lunch. He didn’t eat often, but today was just one of those days, and he’d had Harmony send up a raw steak. He’d locked the door to his office to keep everyone out, because nobody seemed to understand that when it was just closed, that meant to knock
before entering. He shook his head as he remembered all the times his friends had come bursting in with completely unimportant things to tell him.
He picked up the saltshaker and gently shook it over his meat – it was a science to get just the right amount, and he didn’t want to spoil the best-looking steak he’d ever seen. Unfortunately, as soon as he tipped it, the silver top came off and his meat was covered in a layer of salt 2 inches deep.
"Spike!" Angel roared, jumping up from his desk and storming out of his office in search of his grandchilde.
Dawn giggled as the tall vampire thundered past her office, anger rolling off of him in waves. "Now, Spike, look what you’ve done," she admonished. "You’ve put the great pouf in a bad mood."
Spike chuckled and leaned over to nuzzle his girlfriend’s neck. "Me," he murmured. "You’re the one who unscrewed the lid to the bloody salt. He’s going to regret the day he gave you the office next to his."
"He doesn’t even know about the secret passageway," Dawn whispered, then gasped as Spike’s lips traveled lower. "Thank God the door is locked," she moaned softly.