The characters used in this story do not belong to me. I make no money from this.
A week after Buffy's death morale in the scooby gang was low. People were snapping at each other, too busy with their own grief to take much notice of anyone else. So no one noticed when Dawn started shutting herself in her room several hours a day. Or if they noticed, they didn't much care.
This gave Dawn a brilliant opportunity she had been waiting for for quite a while. One afternoon, much like many other afternoons since Buffy passed away, she was locked in her room. Willow and Tara took no notice of this, quite used to it by now. This was a decision they would come to regret quite deeply, as Dawn was at that very moment hoisting herself out the window with a bag full of clothes.
They wouldn't see her again for quite some time.
Dawn ran to the bus station, where she got on the next bus out of Sunnyhell. She hated that town and everything in it. Since coming there she had had no friends, no life, and as of last week, no family.
She'd never really gotten along with her sister, but she'd loved her. Buffy had been her last tie to the world, and now she was gone. She never made any friends there, as everyone had heard of Buffy the freak, and didn't want to hang around with her sister. She couldn't do anything fun, as everything happened after nightfall, and she was never allowed out then. The scoobies had tried, but they made Dawn feel both stupid and young, never quite fitting in.
So she left, never considering the danger she was putting herself in. She was, after all, 15 now,
and quite able to take care of herself, thank you very much.
Some hours later she found herself lost in Colorado. After getting off the bus she'd headed north (or what she though was north, anyway), and was now sitting in a diner which could be in lollipop land for all she knew. She'd bought a cup of coffee with some of the money she'd taken from the hidden cache under the cutlery where mom kept the emergency cash.
As she sipped her coffee she wondered what she was going to do. She'd need to get a job, and to do that she'd need a fake ID. Which meant she had to find the bad part of town. But first, coffee.
As she sauntered down the street, doing her best to look dangerous, she tried to figure out who would be a good prospect. Someone who looked shady, but honest. Despite the slight oxymoron, she soon found what she had been looking for. A guy who looked to be in his twenties looked up from his conversation with a girl in her teens as Dawn walked up.
"Hi," said Dawn nervously, "I was wondering if you could help me find someone."
The guy looked at her doubtfully.
"I don't think you know any of my friends," he told her.
"Well," she thought furiously, trying to think of a good way to approach the subject, "I don't, really. But I would like to. You see, I seem to have lost my ID, and I need to replace it."
Mystery man stopped looking doubtful, and started looking interested.
"Is there a specific reason you can't go to the proper authorities?"
"I need my ID to say I'm a certain age, and I don't think they could help me with that," Dawn explained, feeling more out of her depth by the minute. Mystery man smiled, and waved for her to follow him as he headed down the street.
"I think I have just what you need," he told her smugly, as they walked into a tacky looking shop. He approached the counter, and the girl manning it gave him an interested look as she looked from him to Dawn.
"You got me a customer, Bobby?"
"I sure do," the man, Bobby, told her. "This here is...?" He looked at her questioningly.
"Dawn," she told him. "Dawn Chase."
Five weeks later she was working as a waitress in a restaurant called O'Malley's Bar and Grill. Bobby had been a big help to her, getting her a great ID and helping her get set up in an apartment. They still talked occasionally, and he kept her informed of the various happenings as they related to her. If there was a bad element in town, someone she had to avoid, she knew about it. For a price of course. But it was worth it.
She'd settled into her new life quite nicely, hardly ever thinking about the people she'd left behind. She missed Spike occassionally, but she could manage.
The restaurant she was working at was a regular hangout for the soldiers from the base on the mountain. She didn't really like them much, Buffy's stories had made her quite wary of anything having to do with the army. They made her nervous.
R&R, people. I've never done this before, and I could use some help.