Disclaimer: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is owned by UPN and/or Mutant Enemy and/or Fox and/or Joss Whedon. "Smallville" is owned by DC Comics and/or the WB and/or Millar & Gough and/or Tollin & Robbins. "Superman" was invented by Shuster & Siegel. I don't own any of the characters. I'm just fooling around. Please don't sue.
"H-hey, Dawn! Wait a minute!"
Dawn Summers stopped and wiped the foolish grin off her face before turning around. "Play it cool, Dawnie," she told herself.
"What's up, Clark?"
Clark Kent was turning adorably red. She'd never known anyone before who blushed. Unfortunately, he also had steps to navigate in order to catch up to her. Which would be less cool? Go running down to him like a doof, or stand here calmly and maybe let him fall on his face? While Dawn tried to decide....
"Whoops!" Clark crashed to the ground, books and papers flying all over. Two nearby sophomore girls applauded politely. Dawn cringed for him, but Clark kept smiling, and he didn't get any redder....She hurried down the steps to help him gather his stuff.
"Sorry about that," Clark fumbled as the two picked up his supplies.
"Don't know what you're apologizing for, but I'll forgive you if you want," Dawn gave him a nice friendly smile and a stack of books. "There you go. What did you want to say?"
"Um. Would you like to go out with me Saturday night?"
"Finally!" Dawn thought. She grinned brightly at Clark. "I'd love to!"
Clark grinned back. "That's great!"
Dawn's face scrunched up. "Oh, no! I can't, Clark."
Clark's smile was gone as if it had never been. His eyes were huge as he asked, "You can't?"
"I'm so sorry! My sister's coming into town. She hardly ever gets any time off, and I haven't seen her all year. With the summer research project I've got, I won't even get home this summer, and I need to see her. I'm really sorry, Clark. How about the next weekend?"
"As soon as finals are over, I have to get home. Summer's the busy season on a farm, you know."
Both freshmen wished they'd managed to get a date arranged earlier in the school year. Dawn was berating herself for not asking the boy out herself, even though the books say that's not cool. Clark was cudgeling his brain to come up with a way, now that he'd finally worked up the nerve to ask.
"Couldn't your sister come, too? We could, uh, maybe we could double date! I have a friend who's a little older...."
"My sister's six years older than me, and I'm sure she'd hate to be set up...."
"Six years is perfect! And it's not so much a set-up, just a nice, you know, a nice evening out. With you and me, and your sister, and Lex....It'll be neat!"
"He is so damn cute!" Dawn thought. "Okay. I'll talk her into it, and we'll see you on Saturday! Thanks, Clark!"
"I don't know, Dawnie," Buffy said dubiously. "I've had terrible luck with grad students."
Dawn forcibly restrained herself from pointing out that Buffy had had terrible luck with everyone. "I don't think Lex is a grad student, actually. I think Clark knows him from not-school. Besides, it's not like he's giving us livestock in return for a bride. It's just one date."
"I was kind of looking forward to spending a little time with just you."
"We'll be spending the whole week together. This is just one evening, one date. One date with the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen, who's been hemming and hawing and working himself up to asking me out for months! Me, Dawn Summers! Boys are never like that with me. And he's spending the summer home on the farm, with the farm girls, and if I don't go out with him this Saturday, he'll never ask me out again, and he'll meet some big blonde at a 4-H mixer and by this time next year he'll be married and, and the father of twins!"
Buffy stared at her.
"Okay, that was a little over the top. But it is just one evening, and you would be doing me a huge favor if you would just come along and have a nice time and keep Clark's friend occupied so I can have a nice date with Clark. Pleeease?"
Buffy rolled her eyes at her tall sister. "Okay. Where are we going, anyway?"
"Let me get this straight, Clark." Lex was fuming inside, but his voice was as cool as anything. "You want me to give up our Saturday trip to the museum, which I arranged with you LAST MONTH to see the Gorevanor Meteorite, which I have never seen, which will be in Kansas this weekend only ever, so that you can, what? Fix me up with a girl named Buffy?"
"No, Lex, that's not it at all." Clark's voice over the scratchy connection was annoyingly patient. "I want you to come out with me on Saturday to something which is not the museum, because you know I don't really care for meteorites and we've both had like our lifetime's requirement of meteorites in Smallville anyway, with me and a girl who I really really like and want to get to know better, and her sister who she hasn't seen all year and won't get to spend time with during the summer, because you are my friend and I am asking you a favor. I am not in any way attempting to fix you up. But yes, Dawn's sister is named Buffy."
Lex wanted to whine, but Luthors don't. So he sighed instead. "Fine. So what's she like? This Buffy you're not fixing me up with."
"She's twenty-five, blonde, and Dawn's sister. She almost never gets any time off work, and she's a California Girl born and bred. That's all I know."
"Terrific." Lex didn't sound enthusiastic.
"So you'll do it?"
"Thank you thank you thank you, Lex! I promise you'll have a great time, and you won't regret this!"
Even though Lex was absurdly fond of Clark, it was awfully hard to bite back the appropriate response to that.
"Hey, Dawnie, give me a hand with this."
"Buffy! You can NOT wear a SWORD out to dinner and dancing!"
"I can if you'll just help me with this buckle here."
Dawn raised her eyebrows and crossed her arms. "Who's helping you buckle your back sheath at home these days?"
Buffy was struggling to reach the fastening herself. "At home -- uh -- I don't have to WEAR the back sheath -- huh! -- because everybody in TOWN -- uff! -- is USED to me carrying a SWORD around! Dawn!"
"Fine," Dawn huffed. She moved over to help he sister with the straps. "But you really don't need to carry weapons here. It's not Sunnydale."
"A Slayer must always reach for her weapon. It's good to have one close enough to grab."
"We don't have a Hellmouth. We don't have monsters. And we have Superman."
"Please. Like I'm going to rely on some costumed flying freak when I own a perfectly good sword. And monsters can be anywhere." Buffy sheathed her sword, put on her jacket, and adjusted her hair. "There. How do I look?"
"I'm not sure. Twirl around."
Buffy glared at her, and Dawn giggled. "You look fine. You can't see the hilt at all. How about me?"
Buffy ran her eyes up and down her sister, and her face softened. "My God, Dawn, you're so grown up. You look beautiful."
Dawn smiled. "Thanks. You, too." She sniffled a little. "You know, I have missed you so much."
"Hey!" Buffy got mock-stern with her. "No crying! We have boys to impress! Now, let's go."
"I still don't know how I let you talk me into this."
"Lighten up, Lex. It'll be fun."
"How late are they going to be, anyway?"
Clark cleared his throat nervously. "Well, actually..."
Lex turned a cold annoyed eye on his young friend. "Actually what?"
Clark blushed and blurted out, "Actually I told you half an hour early because I figured you'd be delayed at work."
Lex was in no mood to admit that he actually had arrived at the restaurant fifteen minutes later than Clark had asked him to. "So now you're blatantly manipulating me, as well as fixing me up on blind dates with random blondes and..."
Clark's big warm hand on his sleeve stopped him. Did Clark know that he couldn't really breathe when he touched him like that? Did he do it on purpose to shut him up?
"Lex, shh. They're here." Clark stood up and gestured towards the door. He easily caught the eye of the girl who must be Dawn, and she smiled and waved at him. She looked a lot like Lana, actually, all long dark shiny hair and bright eyes, just taller and -- livelier. Lex dismissed her out of hand. The sister, though.
She looked different.
She was blonde and pale and small, but she didn't look delicate or ethereal or any of the typical qualities that go along with those attributes. She was desperately thin, her low cut blouse revealing not cleavage but sharply defined collarbones and upper ribs. Lex knew anorexic thin, and strung-out thin, and chronic-illness thin, but this was something else entirely. She looked -- honed, like a blade worn thin with sharpening. Bright, and sharp, and deadly, and not likely to last much longer. He shivered, and realized he was sitting and staring rudely, and stood to greet the ladies.
Dawn waved excitedly at the tall boy in the restaurant. "There he is, Buffy! Isn't he cute?"
"As a bug's lunchbox."
Dawn recognized the snark in Buffy's voice. "What?" she demanded.
Buffy refused to laugh out loud. "Tall, dark, and loomy. Oh my God, Dawn. Does he brood? Does he help the helpless?"
"What!" Dawn turned a furious startled look on her sister. "He is NOTHING like Angel!" she hissed.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, Dawn. If you had to do this Oedipal thing, couldn't you have picked a handsome Brit with glasses and a guitar?"
"Shut up! And behave yourself! And you only ever had less than one year of Psych 101, and that was taught by a mad scientist who tried to kill you!"
"Might wanna keep it down. We're almost to the table." Buffy gestured with her chin, and Dawn pulled herself together, shooting her sister one last angry glare when she whispered, "At least he's nothing like Hank."
Clark was a little confused by the mad scientist comments he'd overheard, but he decided to keep it to himself. Eavesdropping isn't nice. "Dawn, I'm so glad to see you." Her little hand in his huge one was so cozy he just wanted to keep it, but instead he shook the other woman's hand when she extended it. "This must be Buffy. I'm pleased to meet you. Buffy, Dawn, this is my friend Lex Luthor." Lex looked a little rattled, and he kept staring at Dawn's sister in a way Clark didn't really understand, but he was perfectly polite as usual.
Introductions completed, the four sat down again for their meal. After everyone had ordered and the menus had been taken away, Clark and Dawn started chattering away about school. Lex noticed Buffy's attention straying, and good manners dictated he draw her into the conversation. So during a lull he asked, "So, Buffy, what do you do?"
"Hmm?" She returned to the here-and-now with a start. "Oh! Well, I work in the office at Sunnydale High Monday through Thursday for pay-the-mortgage money, and Friday through Sunday I sell shoes for food-and-transportation money. Thank God Dawnie got a full scholarship somewhere." She favored the bald billionaire with a brilliant smile and a little head bob. "What do you do?"
She'd really never heard of him? "I'm president and CEO of Lexcorp Industries."
"That's cool. How'd you meet Clark?"
"He saved my life." Lex was intrigued by the knowing glance Buffy shot Dawn, and the younger woman's look of fury. "Interesting," he thought, and started telling Savior of Smallville stories. There were enough of them to last all through dinner. Clark got red, Buffy could barely conceal her laughter behind her napkin, and Dawn got more and more exasperated as the meal wore on.
As soon as the plates were cleared away, Clark grabbed Dawn by the hand and burst out with, "Let's go dance!" Dawn hurried to the dance floor with her date, grateful to escape from her sister's smirking. Lex politely inquired if Buffy would like to join them on the floor, but she declined.
The older couple sat and sipped coffee quietly. An awkward silence was broken by Buffy gesturing to Clark and Dawn and admitting ruefully, "It's a long time since I've danced like that."
Lex's eyes were glued to Clark. "I'm not sure I've ever danced like that. They're so young. Just kids."
"Except they've each got a half-foot on us."
Lex tore his eyes away from his farmboy and smiled at the woman next to him. "Height has nothing to do with it, and you know it perfectly well."
She smiled back and dipped her head. "I really do. So, if you don't dance, why this place? I'm pretty sure you picked it instead of Clark."
"Oh, I dance. I just don't dance like Clark. And I picked the place for a few reasons. One, dancing. People like it. Two, the food. I like it. And three, because Clark owes me to be able to take him somewhere since he didn't let me take him to the museum today."
"Okay that makes a kind of sense that's not. Clark owes you that you take him somewhere?"
"I told you about the first time he saved my life. Well, I tried to give him a truck, as a thank-you present, and his dad made him return it. There's this whole Kents-don't-accept-things-from-the-evil-Luthors philosophy that's been a thorn in my side for years."
"Jeepers. I wish somebody'd give me something for saving their life. Most people don't even say thanks."
Lex didn't notice the oddness of his date's comment. "So one of the very few ways I've ever been able to give presents to Clark is to take him to museums or concerts or whatever. Apparently, cultural activities don't count as gifts in Jonathan Kent's twisted worldview. So Clark and I were going to go to the grand opening of the new wing of the Metropolis Museum today. I was going to show him all the museum behind-the-scenes -- things the general public doesn't ordinarily get to see. I'm on the Board, and I have my own key. We were able to get the Traveling Gorevanor Meteorite Exhibit to stop here for the weekend, even though Kansas is not on the...."
Buffy cut him off. "Gorevanor! Did you say Gorevanor Meteorite?"
Lex was confused. "Yes. Why?"
"In the museum? And you have a key?"
"Yes. Why?" Lex repeated.
"Stay right there," Buffy ordered, as she raced off to get her sister. "Dawn!"
Lex drove the entire party to the museum. Buffy and Dawn sat together in the tiny backseat of the sportscar. They were keeping their voices low, but they didn't know Clark could hear them easily.
"Buffy, this is crazy. Why would the Last Moon of Gorevanor be in Kansas?" Dawn sounded a little frantic.
"Even if it's crazy, I have to check it out, Dawn. It's what I do." Buffy's voice was low and calm.
"That Gorevanor Prophecy was end-of-the-world stuff."
"We'll stop it."
"It said nothing on this earth could stop it."
"It also said it would have happened last February. I think we're allowed to assume there were errors in the Prophecy. Plus, it actually said nothing OF this earth could stop it. I'm the Slayer, and I've been dead twice. I think I'm fairly unearthly."
"And if you're not unearthly enough?"
"You're asking ME to have a backup plan? Fine. It's a museum full of meteorites. They're not from this earth, right? I'll just whack the Gorevanor Demon with 'em until it cries Uncle."
"Now you're just being facetious," Dawn huffed. She sounded a lot less nervous.
Clark wondered what the heck was going on.
"We're here," Lex announced. The four piled out of the car.
The front door to the museum hung crookedly off a broken hinge. Inside the body of a guard could be seen, unconscious or dead.
"I'll go get help," Clark said, and ran off.
"That was weird," Lex thought. "Clark Kent doesn't usually just disappear when there's trouble." He reached for his cell phone to call 911.
Dawn stopped him with one quiet hand on his wrist. "Don't," she said. He looked at her in disbelief. Who wouldn't call the police in this situation? Dawn's face was serious -- lips compressed, eyes cold. She was looking at the guard and at Buffy, who kneeled beside him, tilting his head sideways and exposing his neck. There were two large punctures over the artery, but no blood. "The cops aren't much use against vampires," Dawn sadly told Lex.
Buffy started looking all around as if she heard something. She effortlessly rose from the floor and produced a big sword out of nowhere. Dawn got a pointed piece of wood out of her little evening purse, and she was looking all around, too.
Everything was silent. Suddenly there was a big guy right in front of Lex. Lex drew his gun, and said, "Let's just all be very reasonable here, shall we?" At the edge of his attention, he could tell that the girls were facing off with thugs as well. The guy just grinned at him. Suddenly the grin had all kinds of extra teeth, and the guy's forehead shifted to something monstrous. Lex eeped and fired. He hit the guy right in the chest, but it hardly fazed him. The guy grabbed Lex and snarled at him as he pulled Lex into some sort of embrace. He was insanely strong, and Lex's struggles were useless. Suddenly the resistance Lex was fighting against was gone, and so was the goon -- gone in a puff of dust. "What?" Lex asked unsteadily.
"Guns are no good against vampires. Put it away. You can have this." Buffy handed him a wooden stake. "Which way to the Gorevanor?"
Lex pointed. He didn't trust himself to speak. There was a lot of dust around, and all three...vampires? were gone.
"Dawn, you and Lex watch each other's backs, and follow as quick as you can." Buffy ran off, a lot faster than she should have been able to.
Dawn tugged at Lex's arm, and the two followed the Slayer. "Vampires are real," Dawn whispered as they ran. "You kill them by stabbing them through the heart with something wooden, or cutting off their heads, or setting them on fire. Sunlight's good if it's daytime. You can knock them out with electricity sometimes, but it's temporary."
"And a dead vampire turns to dust?" Lex didn't believe he was having this conversation.
"Exactly," Dawn replied.
Soon they could hear chanting in an unknown language, and the sounds of fighting. They turned a corner and skidded to a halt. The new wing was a huge space with geological and planetary science exhibits ranged down both sides, and reproductions of satellites and spacecraft suspended from the high ceiling. The central floor area had been kept clear for the grand opening festivities, and the travelling Gorevanor Meteorite Exhibit was at the far end of the hall. The room was full of what were apparently vampires, to judge by the facial deformities. Buffy had gotten there considerably before Lex and Dawn.
She was dancing.
It was a dance of kicks and punches, severed heads and dust. Lex watched her fight her way towards the ritual around the Gorevanor Exhibit and thought of ancient battle maidens, Valkyries, Maenades. Then suddenly he and Dawn were noticed by the throng.
"Back to back!" Dawn yelled, as she staked a vampire. "We need to help Buffy get to the Gorevanor!"
"Are you nuts?" Lex exclaimed. His years of fencing experience were keeping him alive, but it was such a different weapon that he was having a hard time hitting the heart. He finally dusted one, but he didn't have time to gloat. "How the hell are we supposed to wade through that?"
"If she doesn't stop them raising the Gorevanor, the world will end! Back to back, and let's work our way up along the side!" Dawn seemed to be pretty good at this. Lex momentarily wondered why, then figured he'd ask later if they survived. She no longer reminded him of Lana.
While Lex and Dawn struggled to move close enough to help the Slayer, Buffy was whipping through the mob as fast as she could. She could see her target, the vampire who was performing the chant. She didn't understand the language he was using, but she had experience enough with the cadences of spells to tell that he was almost done. She didn't dare stop to block the attacks his minions and acolytes launched against her. Dodging as best as she could, beheading whenever it wouldn't take too long, accepting the damage when she couldn't avoid a blow, Buffy finally got to the spellcaster and whirled her blade. His head didn't even bounce before it turned to dust. Unfortunately, she was a beat too late.
Everything stood still as a green mist rose up from the Gorevanor Meteorite. It coalesced into an enormous blobby demon with a thousand eyes and a hundred tentacles. Before it could gather its wits to speak or its strength to attack, Buffy launched herself at its thick slimy neck. Her aim was perfect. Her sword sliced through its neck like a warm wire through butter. Unfortunately the analogy was perfect. The neck healed itself up immediately behind the blade, and the demon seemed none the worse.
Buffy landed and whirled to see the Gorevanor Demon's attention fixed on her. "Oh, crap," she muttered, and dashed for the nearest display case of extraterrestrial rocks. "Time for Plan B."
While Buffy gathered ammunition to put her backup plan into action, the Gorevanor began its ritual feeding. It had a dozen slavering toothy mouths to fill, and it began by grabbing the nearest surviving vampires with its tentacles and stuffing them into the hungry maws. As the nearest acolytes were depleted, and some of the less-fanatical vampires figured out what was happening and began to flee, it had to reach farther and farther away to grab its prey. Lex and Dawn were too busy fighting the nearest vampires to notice when the circle of destruction started to reach them. Without warning Dawn was grabbed around the ankle and jerked off her feet. Lex dusted a vampire and then noticed the girl was gone. He dived for the tentacle and managed to stab it with his stake, but then another tentacle grabbed him, and Dawn and Lex were both being dragged towards the monster.
Meanwhile, Buffy was discovering that the feeding tentacles could be detached from the creature, at least temporarily. She had shattered a meteorite display case with her pommel and was throwing meteor rocks at the Gorevanor Demon. They seemed to hurt it a little, but she kept having to stop what she was doing to slice up the tentacles the monster was slinging her way. "This is too damn slow!" she exclaimed. Then she saw that Dawn and Lex had been caught. "Dawn! Heads up!" she yelled, and tossed her sister the sword. Grabbing a head-sized meteorite in both hands, she waded in to start clobbering.
Suddenly, Superman appeared in the display hall. (Clark had FINALLY found a place to change into his superhero disguise!) Vampires were knocked right and left as he sped towards the giant extraterrestrial demon. It snatched at him with its tentacles, but he burnt them up with his sizzling eye-beams. It snapped at him with its toothy mouths, but he punched its teeth down its throats. Finally Superman tore the demon apart, and it died.
Buffy helped Lex and Dawn to their feet. The few surviving vampires fled into the night. Buffy turned to look at Superman, standing triumphantly before the quivering pile of green space goo that had only moments before been a demon with the power to destroy the world.
"Jeepers, Clark, nice outfit," she said.
"Clark? Where?" Lex asked. He looked all around.
Dawn looked at her sister, then at Superman, then at Buffy again.
"Toldja he's a help-the-helpless guy, Dawnie."
Dawn's mouth dropped open.
Lex was still looking for Clark. Finally he looked at Superman, and noticed that the Man of Steel was blushing. "Clark?" he asked. The blush got worse. Superman was Clark Kent. Lex's face became cold and closed-off. He turned on his heel without another word and left.
Superman pursued him. "Lex, please! I can explain!"
The girls could just hear the squeal of a sportscar accelerating away fast out on the street.
Buffy went to recover her sword. She cleaned the Gorevanor Demon goo from it with her coattail, since she was pretty sure already that this was another jacket sacrificed on the altar of world-saveage. "I've had worse dates."
"I haven't," Dawn whined.
"You probably will."
Buffy re-sheathed her sword as the two women walked out of the museum. "Monks, shmonks, Dawn. You are SO a Summers girl."