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A Wordsmith's Tale... as Told by a Key

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Summary: Dawn finds herself in the midst of a somewhat familiar tale. (BtVS/A Knight's Tale)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Knight's Tale, AechoFR1314,65017343,73627 Apr 0527 Apr 05Yes
crossing/pairings: BtVS/A Knight's Tale, Dawn/Chaucer, William/Jocelyn
AN: A movie fic-a-thon response for CharlotteB. Character... any save Kennedy, Robin, or Andrew. Emotion... love. Yes, I know Chaucer had a wife in the unedited version of the film. Suspend your belief and pretend he did not.

*~*~*~*~*

Dawn Summers never thought a portal would bring her anything good. In fact, when she'd stumbled down this last one, she was pretty much cursing the gods... and all the deities. She'd been sucked down into a time that was so far differed from her own, there was no hope of normal. And she cared about that here.

Until.

The first time she saw him he was naked. She didn't have to imagine any of it. His pale British arse was shining in the sun that day. She'd thought him a traveling lunatic. They all had. She'd taken up with the merry band of misfits and pretenders to the nobility, despite the men's desire not to have girls along. She told them they'd need girls before this tale was over. Girls didn't solve things with violence like boys did. Well, unless you were Dawn's elder sister. They had to agree to let her come when she blackmailed them though. She knew their secret. She knew their story.

But back to the naked guy.

They'd been traveling along the road to the next tournament when he "trudged" past them on the road to Rouen. Naked as naked ever was. And streaking hadn't become a fad yet, as it was a few centuries before that. He'd owed money, so they taken his clothes. They learned that later. He told them then that he had been robbed. At first Dawn was appalled by him. Here was a person whose addiction had so ruled them, he'd bet the clothes on his back.

But he so had a way with words.

That had won her. He helped the men that had reluctantly taken her in as wayward sister until she could find a way home. Not that she had told them she was from another place and time. Oh no. They'd think her as loony as they had Geoff at first.

He cleaned up well. And Ulrich, er William, er the knight, hired him as his herald. Geoff's charisma won the crowds and Dawn's heart. She didn't know it at first. He tended to be such an ass. Grating on everyone's nerves, especially Wat. But his stereotypical redheaded person's temper might have had something to do with that. Geoff had the sarcasm thing going for him. Big time. In a way, it reminded Dawn of Spike. He could weave the words, and you didn't know you actually liked him until it was way too late. She hadn't been treated to much of it when she had the first rumblins. It was when the Pardoner and the Summoner had said that they'd take the debt from Geoff's flesh that she'd felt something. She didn't know rightly what it was. Care or fear or something. Or perhaps the simple fact that she didn't like the idea of anyone taking a pound of flesh literally from another.

She cared that it would happen to him. She was ever so glad when Will had agreed to save him.

And by the time they met Kate the Farrier, Dawn was truly deep within her crush on Geoff. But also his like of William, er Sir Ulrich, swayed her dramatically. The utter lies in the introduction Geoff gave which later became known as the "Protector of Italian Virginity" speech so captivated her. He was excellent at getting attention with his honeyed words. He'd certainly captured hers.

He'd greatly amused her when he'd been attempting to teach Will to dance... because he was so terrible to Wat that Geoff got a fist to the face for his ribbing. The boys were so bad at the dancing. Dawn was about to offer her services, even though she was not a great dancer herself, when Kate had returned and they'd thought to ask her. Dawn was glad to have another girl on the "team". She had told them they'd need more girls. Kate proved to be just the sort of girl they needed along. Her new armor was a great asset to their jousting cause. And how quickly and easily Dawn had fallen into a frame of mind that did not involve the twenty-first century.

But back to the herald.

Geoff had utterly captured her with his proven wicked side. She had been just joking when she'd suggested to Geoff to use the reflected sunlight from a small mirror to distract Adhemar's herald. Geoff had done it though. With a song in his heart. The man had fumbled and utter that his lord was the defender of his enormous manhood. Dawn had nearly laughed herself to the ground. She adored Geoff for being so mischievous. It was the sort of thing she'd do to annoy someone. A bratty thing. She loved it. She almost couldn't believe he'd done it. Then again, anyone who'd trudge down a road dressed in just his birthday suit and some dirt likely didn't have many things he wouldn't do.

It was hopeless. She would leave this place. The Scoobies would find a way to bring her home. She knew Buffy wouldn't let them stop, knew they themselves would not stop, until they found her. Though every day she spent here, she forgot that a bit more. Especially when the lot of them helped Will write a letter to his Lady Jocelyn to attempt to win her back, and even more so when they'd made the bet with the French that Sir Ulrich would win the tourney in Paris. A foolish bet, all their money, but they had pride. Pride in themselves, pride in their Will.

And the Lady Sunrise, as she was called by some, had pride in her growing affection for a herald of a false knight. A writer, a self-proclaimed observer of the world who failed to observe that she had stars and sometimes hearts in her eyes when she looked upon him now.

After Will's resounding comeback in Paris after losing a'purpose, Dawn had not been able to help herself in following Geoff as he collected their winnings from the bet with the Frenchmen. She did things like this often. Angel had nothing on her watching and lurking from the shadows abilities now. Dawn was about to speak to Geoff when she spotted something as he had... the Lady Jocelyn entering Will's tent.

"Gwenevere comes to Lancelot." Geoff muttered to himself. "Bed him well, milady. Bed him well."

Dawn gasped.

He turned to her then with a smirk. "Ah, my Lady Sunrise, that comment was not for innocent's ears."

"How do you know I'm innocent?"

He chuckled a bit and closed the distance between them. "How could you be anything but?"

Dawn looked away shyly, blushing a bit.

"Now, perhaps you would allow me to escort you to your place of rest for the evening, as something like yourself ought not wander alone."

They walked in silence, Dawn giddy to have Geoff offer her his arm. She enjoyed it so she was very sorry when they arrived at the ten she shared with Kate.... which was next to the one he shared with Wat and Roland. Both of which looked up from the campfire they'd made when Geoff entered their tiny camp with Dawn on his arm. Wat looked incredulous and angry, as if he'd just caught Geoff tossing his little sister's skirts over her head. Roland just scowled as if he didn't like it but would never say so because he felt he had no right to.

Kate walked out of the girls' tent then. She smiled when she saw them. That was why Dawn had wanted more girls about. Kate got it. Kate understood.

"Well, goodnight, sweet maiden. I am after whatever drunken debauchery there is to be had before we hie it to World Championships of London."

Dawn gripped the sleeve of his coat. "Don't."

Geoff raised a brow.

"Don't gamble on anything. I'd hate for you to have to arrive in London naked or in one of mine or Kate's spare dresses."

"I think mine would be a bit short for him." Kate added in her cheery yet sarcastic tones.

Geoff smirked and tweaked Dawn's nose before he hurried off. She sighed in frustration and scowled. She had a good mind to go after to him just to make sure he didn't get himself into any trouble.

"Don't even think about it, girl."

Dawn turned to Roland.

"Where he's off to is no place for a girl like yourself."

Sometimes she hated how 'girl power... no' this place could be. "I can protect myself."

Wat snorted.

"I can. I know how to use a sword. My sister taught me to..." Dawn trailed off then. It was the first time she'd mentioned anything of home to any of them.

"Your sister uses a sword too?" Wat said as be burst into disbelieving giggles.

Roland was more interested in other points of the statement, not his disbelief in a woman using a sword. "I didn't know you had a sister."

"Yes." Dawn said in a clipped tone. "Goodnight, everyone."

She excused herself to the girls' tent.

Kate had said something to the boys before following Dawn. Likely something along the lines of... I'll speak to her.

"They've come to think on you as their own sister, Dawn. I as well."

"And Geoff? How has Geoff come to think of me? Because I sure don't think sisterly thoughts on Geoffrey Chaucer, that's for darn sure."

Kate smiled. "You speak like no one. Like him. Geoff uses interestin' words. The way you arrange them..."

"But what does he think about me?"

"I don't know his mind, Dawn. I don't know any man's mind. I didn't even know my own husband's mind, God rest his soul. But this I do know, if Geoff harmed you or touched you in a way that William thought inappropriate, Will would kill him."

"He wouldn't hurt me."

"Of course he wouldn't, not a'purpose, but he might by accident, and then where would he be? At the tip of William's sword or lance or whatever thing that could be made a weapon that was on hand. For he thinks on you as a sister now too. We all do, Dawn."

Dawn sighed and looked away.

"I know it's not what you'd want from Geoff, but perhaps it's best that all he give you."

She thought about going home. "Yeah. Maybe that's best."

But it didn't feel best to her heart.

They arrived in London on a misty morning just as the sun was deciding to creep above the horizon. They marched in a parade, and Dawn loved that. It was the first time she'd ever been in a parade and not on the sidelines. They all carried banners with Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein of Gelderland's crests and colors on them.

Despite the tendency to rain, Dawn discovered she actually liked this version of London. But it might have been that she liked any city with Geoff in it. With William sneaking off to do who knows what, it left his 'people' to their own devices. Dawn was sad that Geoff snuck off as well, but at the same time happy because she was really getting into a sisterly pattern of talking with Kate. Kate was even teaching her a bit about blacksmithing. Just a bit, but Dawn could now mend and shoe a horse properly.

It was when they were getting William prepared for the joust with Adhemar that they discovered where Will had been... visiting his true father. A thatcher. Dawn discovered that was the same as a roofer, but as the stuff was called thatch, you get thatcher. Made sense. Will was all excited because he'd thought his father dead, but lo and behold, the man was alive still, and very pleased with what Will was doing these days.

Dawn had been wondering where Geoff had gotten off to when he walked into the stables with Lady Jocelyn. Dawn perked up. She became concerned when she noted the looks on their faces.

"Somebody die?" Roland asked.

Dawn was thinking that exact thing herself. Geoff was looking like he may vomit or that he'd just been diagnosed with cancer of the puppy or told Christmas had been canceled indefinitely.

"Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein."

Apparently Adhemar had followed Will when he had visited his father the night before. The royal guards were waiting in the lists to arrest him. Everyone seemed to think Will should run. Dawn didn't think he should. She couldn't say though. Not really. She did, but they were not listening. Will wanted to keep his pride. Dawn wanted him to keep it as well. This was something she understood. Her sister had taught her about facing things. Her sister had pride. Hell, the only time Dawn could ever remember Buffy running at all was during the Glory bit, and that had ended badly, so she was not a fan of running. Dawn looked at him saying he would not run away, and she adored him. From then on, he was brother in her heart because no one save Buffy could have had more pride in who he felt he truly was.

Jocelyn's vote to run was cast, so William turned to the rest of them.

"Roland, you would see me run?"

Roland nodded yes, but looked away as if he knew his answer might hurt Will a bit.

"And you, Geoff?"

"Yes, I wish it too with all the pieces of my heart."

Dawn felt her eyes sting a bit. It was so obvious William was surrounded by those that loved him. It was obvious their wish to have him run was paining him.

"Wat, you and I... we aren't runners."

Wat smiled at him. It seemed he might agree, but the smile turned a bit sad. "Yes... William, today we are."

"Run, William." Kate added.

He looked around at all of them. His eyes settled on her. "Dawn?"

She was trying not to cry now.

"Dawn, what say you?"

"My opinion here doesn't matter, Will."

"It is of importance to me. Now what say you?"

She looked up then with tears streaking her face and whispered but one word. "Fight."

He seemed shocked to hear she did not agree with the group. He nodded at her with eyes shining in pride. Everyone else was shaking their heads no. They wanted him to run.

"No!" He shouted. "I will not run!"

Dawn, fearful for what could happen he was arrested, let out a little sob. But she understood. Some things were not for compromising because if you did, you lost who you truly were.

"I'm a knight."

You could have heard a pin drop in that stable then. They knew he was in earnest. Nothing for it.

"Well, boys, all good things must come to an end." Roland said. "Attend them together."

They marched into that jousting arena like lions. William was promptly arrested, and Dawn had a meltdown. Roland ended up having to carry her back to where they were making camp. She spent most of the day in the girls' tent crying. It wasn't fair. She felt like screeching it to the heavens.

Geoff came in later that night to check on her. She should have been giddy at the prospect, but she was just too heartbroken about how unfair life could be to care much. She was too worried of what fate would befall William. She could not muster much enthusiasm. Not even when Geoff sat next to her pallet and began rubbing comforting circles upon her back.

"You should eat something, milady."

"I'm not a real lady, Geoff, and I already told Kate I wasn't hungry."

"But Roland made rabbit stew."

Damn Roland. His rabbit stew was her favorite. They all knew that. They were trying to draw her out. Dawn rolled over and regarded Geoff. He smiled at her sadly and wiped a stray tear.

"Do not grieve so for it breaks my heart as well. Twofold because I can not stand your suffering upon Will's as well."

The air was a bit charged now. Dawn suddenly became nervous because she was quite alone in a semi-secluded place with Geoff. He seemed to have suddenly realized it too because he stopped caressing her cheek and stood abruptly.

"Please eat something."

With that, he as gone. Dawn rolled over and pounded her fist into the pallet in utter frustration.

It was early the next morning that someone informed them their 'lord' had been placed in the stocks. Dawn had heard how unforgiving a crowd at the stocks could be. When the group decided to go defend their lord, Dawn took a short sword. She concealed it in the folds of her skirt. She wasn't the only one wielding a weapon either. Roland had a club, and Kate was brandishing her blacksmith's tools. They stood their ground around the stocks to keep people from Will.

When the crowd became very rowdy and started tossing spoiled food, Dawn whipped out the sword and did a few choice moves with it. She'd cut them. She would. They came any closer, and she'd make with the hacking of limbs. Roland and Wat gave her a shocked look. Her swordplay even made Geoff pause a bit in his pleading to get the crowd's attention. And it was then that the Black Prince of Wales stepped out. Edward. In a shocking moment, he righted all that seemed wrong. He released then knighted William. Sir William Thatcher. And the joust was back on. Big time.

They so had to ready Will to kick some Adhemar ass. They were giddy leaving, hurrying to ready their lord for his fight. The prince touched Dawn's arm.

"You handle a sword better than some men I know, Lady."

"I had a good teacher."

"Did you?"

"My sister is excellent with a sword."

At that he laughed heartily. "I should like to meet such a sister."

Dawn smiled at him. "I think she'd like you."

He chuckled again and let her catch up to the group.

"And just what was that?" Geoff snapped when she managed to side up to him.

"The prince was just admiring my skill with a sword."

"Are you sure that was all it was?"

"Are you jealous?"

"Never."

Dawn would have pressed the matter, but there were so many things to do just now. Dawn both loved and hated the joust. It was exciting, but jarring to her. She liked the rush. She didn't like watching the hits. She always turned her head away at the last possible second.

So she missed Will actually getting stabbed in the shoulder with the lance. It was so horrible. Adhemar had tipped it. The thing had stabbed right through Will's armor into his shoulder leaving a horrid large splinter in his body. Her sister had stakes smaller than this thing. It hurt Dawn just looking at it. Roland pulled the piece of wood free, and Will said he was ready to ride for round two of the match. Well, he seemed ready until he dropped his lance in the ride. Dawn screamed when Adhemar's lance glanced off of Will's chest, splintering. It did not unseat him though. Dawn grabbed onto Geoff's sleeve and buried her face. He gave her head a comforting pat.

The group rushed to him. Dawn rushed ahead. She and Kate helped Will out of his armor because he was complaining about not being able to breath properly. Dawn was beginning to worry. He looked really hurt. He was putting up a big front, but they all knew him well enough to know Will was in some fierce pain right now.

"As I said... Thatcher, in what world could YOU have ever beaten me? Such a place does not exist."

They all looked up as Adhemar made with the taunts. Why did there always have to be the guy that just had to be an asshole? He was winning currently. Wasn't that enough?

Dawn snapped. "Back off you manky assbag, or I'll fight you myself, and I don't need to tip my lances and be a cheater person to bury you."

Roland pulled her back a bit. "Easy, Dawn."

"Letting women do your fighting now, Sir Ulr... I mean... Sir William?"

Dawn snorted. "He is SO gonna whip your ass! And I'm so gonna laugh when he does!"

"Dawn." Roland gritted. "Remember you are a lady."

Then Geoff rushed up. "She's here, William. And so is your father."

"Change the stars." William whispered to himself before he glared at Adhemar. "Let's dance you and I."

Adhemar started to ride off. Dawn flipped him the bird then blew some very loud raspberries his way. Roland shoved her at Geoff.

"Geoffrey, please do something with Our Lady Tongue."

Geoff looked down at her. "What's this?"

"Cheaters make me mad."

He chuckled and hugged her to his side. "Such a firebrand you are turning out to be."

Dawn was watching William and the others. There seemed to be some sort of trouble. She and Geoff both noticed the match was about to start again, but William seemed to be having Wat tie the lance to his arm. They didn't have enough time.

Dawn looked at Geoff. "Do something."

"What can I do?"

"Stall or something. Anything, Geoff."

He looked about then rushed into the stands... the noble stands. Dawn's eyes bugged. It was a good thing the prince liked the lot of them so well.

"Good people!" He shouted. "I missed my introduction!"

Dawn gave a chuckle at that. She'd never adored anyone more. Dawn rushed over to the others. "Hurry. Oh please hurry. Geoff's stalling."

She listened close but watched Wat tie the lance to Will's arm. She was thinking perhaps that was the best introduction the herald had ever done. She liked it much better than the Italian virginity thing. Soon it was time. Geoff had joined them in the wait. His hand seemed to seek her shaking one. No armor with a lance latched to his arm. It seemed an impossible win. He had to unseat Adhemar.

The tension was almost too much to bear. An impossible win... and then it happened just so.

Dawn screamed and began jumping up and down. Geoff picked her up and spun her about, shouting his joy as well. When he set her back to the ground, he leaned in a pressed a rough kiss to her lips. Dawn stood stunned until Kate grabbed her hand and they all went running towards William, screaming. Dawn was all lightheaded and giddy. A win. A kiss. A whole new world.

They were all hugging and laughing until Lady Jocelyn joined them on the field. Then the knight's people stood back and watched him kiss the lady.

"I think I'm gonna have to write some of this story down." Geoff remarked casually.

Wat perked up. "The part about the prince? And the knights?"

"No, no, no... all of it. All human activity lies within the artist's scope." Geoff paused. "Maybe not yours."

Wat looked like he might be offended for a moment, but then he gave Geoff a very roughhousing hug and laughed. If Wat was finally getting Geoff's humor, there was hope for anything.

Anything at all.

"And that..." Geoff gestured to the still-kissing William and Jocelyn. "Is an excellent idea."

"Wha-"

But Dawn was cut off by him kissing her. Roland and Wat both made disgruntled noises.

"Oh leave them be." Kate snapped.

And they did... which ended in Dawn seeing Geoff without clothes again. So naturally when she awoke on the floor of the main library at the Watcher's Council with everyone standing over her with the air all full of magic and not next to Geoff on the pallet they'd gotten to know one another's bodies rather well on, she was heartbroken. Utterly. Now she knew how Buffy felt at being yanked from heaven.

Dawn walked around in a haze, missing just hearing his voice. She missed Roland and Wat and Kate. She missed William. She wondered if William had married Lady Jocelyn. She wondered if Prince Edward was king yet. She wondered if Roland still sewed. She wondered if others were now commissioning Kate because she fashioned armor for Sir William Thatcher. She wondered if Wat was handling his temper better these days. She just wondered.

She also wondered how she was going to explain her expanding waistline. Pregnant with Geoff's child. It was almost too much. She sort of knew everyone knew, but no one had said a word. How could they not know? She was getting rounded. Being six months along now would do that to a girl.

Dawn let out a sigh as she perused the shelves of her favorite bookstore. Spike was the only one who had come out and said he knew she was pregnant. He had already offered to haul Geoff's 'sorry arse' to her. Dawn had explained that he couldn't. Spike had then understood. He had said he would take care of her. She appreciated that, and she did love Spike, but he wasn't who she wanted. He wasn't who she was in love with. Her fingertips graced the spine of an old copy of Canterbury Tales. Dawn's eyes watered.

"My lady's burden looks heavy. Perhaps she should rest a while."

She gasped and turned. Couldn't be. It could not be. Geoff was standing before her in jeans and a tee shirt.

"Geoff?"

"Good afternoon, milady."

She squealed and threw herself at him. "I never thought I'd see you again. I can't believe it. What are you... how... how are you here?"

He held her close, rubbing her back as he had done before. "You friend the witch with the red hair had something to say about that. Imagine my surprise to be in the future... where I am quite famous as a writer." His hand rubbed her belly. "And going to be a father apparently."

"I can't believe they brought you here." She whispered, touching his face.

Geoff grinned. "Well, they love you. I love you. I was miserable without you. I even stopped picking on Wat in your absence."

"But... you don't belong here."

"Nay, lady, where I do not belong is without you. Those that grow to love you will even defy time to bask in the glory of your light. I defy it all for you. I find I wither out of your light. Let me always feel the warmth of the sun that is you on my face."

"Ever the poet."

"Always."

"So.... what do we do now?"

"Name the baby?"

"How did you feel about Wat?" Dawn joked.

"I'd sooner hot-poker myself in the eye. I was thinking William."

Dawn smiled. "What if it's a girl?"

"Kate or perhaps Jocelyn?"

Dawn thought of her mother. "How do you feel about Joyce?"

Geoff considered. "I like it."

"Ooooo, I can't wait until you meet Buffy."

"Buffy?"

"My sister."

"The one who taught you the sword?"

"That's the one. Just... if she or any of her friends or my friends threaten to beat you with a shovel if you hurt me, don't take it too seriously. I mean, don't laugh or anything, but lots of us have gotten hurt or dumped and no one's ex has gotten the old shovel as of yet."

"A shovel?"

"Mmmm."

"Excellent choice."

Dawn giggled as they left the bookstore. Same old Geoff. Warped sense of humor. She adored that. It amazed her how well he seemed to have adjusted to being here. She knew he couldn't know everything just yet, and it excited her that she would have things to show him, things to teach him about her world. A new world. A whole new world.

And the whole new world awaited.

*~*~*

end

The End

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