“The Next New Year’s”
Title: “The Next New Year’s”
Summary: Dawn, Xander, New Years’ in Times Square, and a demon ritual. Light & fluffy.
Takes place post-series.
Notes: Sequel to “New Year’s Eve,” but can be read by itself.
I wrote this because a few people requested the traditional midnight kiss. (But I have no idea why I made Dawn & Xander wait another year).
This hasn’t been beta-read, so all mistakes are mine.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Mutant Enemy, not me. Neither Dick Clark nor Guy Lombardo is of demon extraction (as far as I know)
* * *
Xander sat in the passenger seat of Dawn’s Mazda Miata and shut the door. “So, where’s this demon?” he asked as he tried to find a comfortable position in the small car. It’s a good thing he only had his carry-on bag—there was barely enough room for himself in the car.
“‘Thanks for picking me up at the airport, Dawn. I know how much you hate the city traffic,’” she joked.
Sheepishly, Xander apologized. “Sorry. And thanks for the ride. Now, about that demon?”
“It’ll be in Times Square—my source tells me he’ll be there until at least midnight tonight,” Dawn replied as she expertly maneuvered around the New York City streets. There are very few people she’d go to Kennedy Airport for; and lucky for Xander, he was one of them.
Xander sighed. “Yeah, well, it’s New Year’s Eve—that doesn’t exactly narrow it down. What species are we looking for--do you have a description?”
“Well, here’s the thing. The guy we’re looking for isn’t all demon, so he can pass for human. So right now, we’re looking for a caucasian man—average height, average weight, and--”
“Let me guess,” Xander interrupted. “He also has average hair and average eyes.”
“Well, there’s no need to get snippy, Mr. Snippy McSnipperson. And he has brown hair and brown eyes.”
Xander turned to Dawn—not an easy task in the confined space. “Sorry, Dawn. But I spent close to 40 hours traveling time to get here. I’ve been on three planes, two trains, an ancient bus, and a donkey cart to get here from Tanzania, and I don’t see why you couldn’t just use one of the Slayers assigned to the area. Why do you need my help to track down this demon?”
Dawn snickered. “A donkey cart?”
Xander turned away and answered. “Yeah. My Land Rover finally bit the dust on the way to the bus depot. Now stop evading and start answering.”
“Well, duh, it’s tradition that we spend New Years Eve together, just the two of us.”
“What? We only spent last New Year’s Eve together.”
She smiled. “Yeah. Well, traditions have to start somewhere. And wasn’t it fun? You looked great in that suit, but you were cranky the whole night. Let’s not let that become a tradition.”
“I think me having jet lag on New Year’s is becoming a tradition,” Xander replied quietly.
“Oh, so that’s why you were so cranky.”
Xander scowled in mock offense. “Just for the record, I wasn’t cranky, I was curmudgeonly. That’s much more manly.”
* * *
Dawn led Xander through the crowd of drunken revelers. Both were dressed in jeans, wool sweaters, and warm coats and boots. “Dawn, don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind spending time with you. But this crowd is insane!”
Dawn side--stepped a puddle of what could be demon ichor, or perhaps vomit—either way, she wasn’t stepping in it. “Got used to the open spaces of the Serengeti Plains, huh?” she asked.
“You have no idea,” he quietly replied. Another reveler bumped into Xander—a common occurrence tonight. “Look, let’s just find this demon, stop the ceremony, and go back to your apartment.”
Dawn stopped and faced Xander. “Actually, we’re here to make sure the demon does perform the ceremony at midnight.”
Xander took a deep breath. “So, this isn’t some kind of apocolypsy, world-ending ritual, then? Like you wrote in your e-mail?”
“It’s possible I overstated the situation just slightly, to make sure you got on the plane. In the four years since we fought the First Evil, you’ve only ever left Africa for apocalypses, except for last New Year’s. And even then, it was because Buffy asked you to baby-sit me!”
“I stay in Africa because I like it there, and I only agreed to ‘baby-sit’ you because Buffy always says ‘no’ whenever I invite the two of you to visit me. And it wasn’t really baby-sitting; she just didn’t want you to be alone. Now, why did you lie?”
Dawn, surprised, said, “I never knew—when did you ask us to visit? Never mind—that’ll just stir up some old arguments between Buffy and me.” Dawn played with her scarf. “I lied because of all the people in the world, you’re the one I want to spend New Year’s with. Please don’t be mad at me.”
“I can’t stay mad at you, Dawn,” Xander replied. “But I don’t like being lied to. So how about making ‘never lie to Xander’ your New Year’s Resolution?”
“Done!” a relieved Dawn agreed. Now, let’s go meet my contact & make sure this ritual goes ahead without a hitch.” She led Xander by the hand, zigzagging through the crowd, occasionally standing on tiptoes to see over the crowd. “There he is!” Dawn said as she pointed her finger.
Xander looked where Dawn indicated. “How can you tell? There are so many people here.”
“Because only Clem wears a yellow, full-length down coat and a hat with ear flaps! Oh, wait, those aren’t part of the hat--those are his ears.”
“Hey Clem! Happy New Year!” Xander and Clem nodded their greetings to each other while Dawn let go of Xander’s hand and gave the demon a bear hug.
“Same to you, Dawnie,” the floppy-eared demon said. Then Clem held Dawn at arms length, as if to inspect her. “Gosh, look at you. I can’t believe I used to baby sit you back in Sunnydale. You’re what, twenty now?” he asked as he let go of Dawn’s hands.
“Twenty-one, actually. I’m a full-fledged adult now, with all the rights and privileges thereto! So, is everything all set for the ceremony?”
“I just have to check on one final detail, but everything looks good. The artifact is in place, and all the magical herbs have been measured. It’s all over but the chanting, really. So, how ‘bout we meet at the ball just before midnight?”
Dawn grinned. “Sounds great! See you there!” Clem waved, and quickly disappeared into the crowd.
Xander, still surprised, said “Twenty-one? When the hell did that happen? You’re my Dawn Patrol, you’re not supposed to be a grown up!”
Dawn rolled her eyes. She loved Xander, but really, he could be so clueless sometimes. “My last birthday. You sent me those CDs by Lady Jaydee and Mr. Nice—much cooler than the Ashlee Simpson and Brittany Spears CDs Buffy gave me. And it’s been years since you called me ‘Dawn Patrol.’”
Xander sighed, and threw an arm around Dawn’s shoulder. “Well, that may be so, but that’s still how I think of you.”
Dawn slid her arm around Xander’s waist. “So, you think of me a lot, do you?” she asked with a smile.
Xander smiled in return. “Of course, why wouldn’t I think of you?” Dawn let her hand go south, which didn’t go unnoticed.
“Ahh! Not like that!” he exclaimed as he quickly moved away.
Dawn smiled mischievously. “We’ll see if I can’t change your mind by the end of the night.”
“Why don’t we see to this ritual instead? Let’s get into position,” Xander countered, suddenly all business.
* * *
“I think this is as close as we’re going to get to the ball.” Xander said. The crowd had become so dense it was almost impossible to get any closer.
“Yeah, but it’s close enough. The ritual is very simple. Dick Clark will make sure the OMP is in place, Clem’s in charge of burning the herbs, and I’ll do the Arashmaharian chant while the rest of the crowd counts down to midnight.”
“OK, three things,” Xander began. “Why ‘America's oldest living teenager?’ OMP? What do you need me for? And what exactly is this ritual for?” he asked as he ticked off each item on his fingers. “Uh, that’s four.”
“The ritual is a blessing on the city—it helps keep the number of supernatural deaths low, considering how many demons live underground in the abandoned subway tunnels---and it must be performed at the beginning of each year. Dick Clark (who succeeded Guy Lombardo in performing the ritual) is one-eighth Brachen, so that enables him to touch the OMP (that’s Object of Mystical Power) and not get killed by it—oh, and also why he looks way younger than 74 years old—and you’re here to help me seal the ritual with a kiss, which is why I wanted you here and not a Slayer, and oh! also where the expression ‘sealed with a kiss’ comes from.”
Xander said, “You’ve been hanging around Willow way too much if you can babble like that and still breathe.”
“And speaking of the kiss. It has to last two-and-a-half minutes, so it can’t be like last year’s kiss.” Which was exactly the chaste kind of kiss that Buffy’s Xander-shaped friend would give his ‘Dawn Patrol.’
Dawn let Xander absorb that last piece of information. Finally, he said “So, I gotta kiss ya at midnight? The sacrifices I make for my job!”
The crowd of celebrants looked up expectantly, then began shouted out:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!”
Xander couldn’t hear Dawn’s chanting, the crowd was so loud. Not that he understood Arashmaharian, or anything. While the crowd watched the ball drop and counted down, Xander watched Dawn. Her lips stopped moving when the crowd reached ‘one,’ and Xander knew it was time for his part in the ceremony. ‘I’m going to kiss Dawn, and she’s going to kiss me back,’ was the last conscious thought he had for the year.
Around them, the celebrators blew noisemakers, threw confetti, and began singing “Auld Lang Syne.” Eventually, they heard Clem say, “Time’s up—you can stop kissing now.”
Both Xander and Dawn turned to Clem, but it was Xander who said “Who said we wanted to stop?” He turned to back to Dawn and said, in a quieter voice, “Just don’t tell me I have to wait another year before I can kiss you again.”
“Not a chance!” she declared before she kissed him again.
* * *
“Tanzania.” From en dot wikipedia dot org
“Dick Clark.” From biography dot com
(Yes, I’m a complete dork).