Strangers In The Night
Disclaimer - This is starting to get tedious. If you didn't realize by now that I don't own anything you recognize, than I feel sorry for you.
Note: Thanks to those who are still with me and reading, it means a lot when you review ... or email me to prod me to continue. I'm sorry this is short, but I've got some idea's, with some help from Jeff, who's like a total muse.
Dawn stretched her arms up over her head as the last bell ran, indicating the end of the school day. She stood up and pulled down the hem of her Billy Idol T-shirt before tugging on her short denim jacket and looping her bag over her shoulder. She wandered down the halls idly. She had learned to ignore the whispers and sudden silences when she came through the halls. Her Aunt had asked her what kind of person, what kind of HERO she wanted to be at this new school. It looked like she wasn't getting to choose. She was one of the Untouchable. Insanely strong power, traumatic past, crazy strong phobia's and a social outcast. It probably didn't help that she was so derisive about the Conclave of Heroes and their rules. She was also pretty. Maybe not the drop dead gorgeous of some of the girls, but she had sultry lips and big bright eyes with a killer figure. When the 'Untouchable' were older, mid-twenties to early thirties, they seemed to settle into themselves, but you never heard about them when they were still in their teens. You never heard stories about their school days. It was probably because the heroes themselves didn't want to relive those days.
The lithe brunette walked out the front door and put her sunglasses on before scouting for her cousin and his peeps. She didn't really feel like part of their little group. They were nice, and she enjoyed flinging scathing remarks back and forth with Magenta, talking science with Ethan, teasing Zack and taunting Warren ... but they weren't hers. Not like they were Wills. She was probably just feeling homesick. She spotted them when Layla called her over to the stairs. They were all planning to head over to the Stronghold residence, so Dawn was the transportation.
"Hey, where were you at lunch?" Layla asked her, worried. Dawn laughed a little. Honestly, she'd eaten on the roof of the school. There was something peaceful about laying down with nothing but the clouds for company. She wasn't sure why she didn't tell everyone about it though. It was a secret she was holding close.
"Meditation lessons," Dawn told them. They all nodded understandingly, but really, she didn't see how they could understand at all. Well, maybe they could a little. Still, none of them would ever go through everything she had. Her eyes caught Warrens as everyone else babbled about some upcoming school activity they were all excited about. Actually, Magenta was mocking them. Warren raised an eyebrow, his mouth drawn a little in worry. Dawn quirked her lips a little and shook her head slightly. He didn't need to worry about her. She had a soft spot in her heart for Warren, even if she wasn't ready to admit as much out loud. He had saved her and the school from her phobia-induced hysterics.
"Hey, you two, quit with the silent talking, it's creepy," Magenta informed them, throwing wadded paper at the two.
"Jealous?" Dawn teased with a grin. Magenta raised an eyebrow and then shook her head.
"I like my men simple," She informed the other brunette, looping her arm through Zachs, he look down at his girlfriend and opened his mouth to say something, but Dawn beat him to it.
"Yeah, they're much easier to lead that way," She nodded solemly. They laughed and Zach huffed with good nature.
"We ready to go?" Will asked, kissing Layla on the cheek. Dawn turned to focus on her portal and to ignore the sweetness between the lovebirds. She scrunched her nose for a moment, she was trying to open the portals without using her hands to show where they would be, but she focused easier with the hand movements. It was funny, because she'd always made fun of heroes who's powers weren't focused through their hands for using their hands to guide something. She understood now though. Portals were easier to open if you gave them something to attach to, so she used an ornamental wall, crossing her arms over her chest to keep her hands still. She cocked her head to the side a little, examining it, thinking of all the math and science she'd gone through to study her power. The portal popped open, but was still black in the center, no outlet yet. A quick flick of her mind and the other end of the portal attached to the pantry door inside the Stronghold House.
"All right troops, move out," She told them with a smile. They gave her impressed congratulations on her control. Something they all knew she was working on. Warren waited until everyone else was through and then paused to look at Dawn.
"Are you sure you're all right? You've been kind of ... " He shrugged instead of trying to come up with a word that might or might not offend her. Dawn smiled sadly.
"I'm not, but I'm working on it," She said, moving toward the portal. He nodded and stepped through as she followed, allowing the vortex to collapse on itself in her wake. She sat down on a chair at the table and smiled widely at her cousin, who was getting snacks out for people. He shook his head in good natured resignation and tossed her an onion bagel, a jar of peanut butter, and a box of lucky charms. The others took much joy making disgusted sounds as she spread the peanut butter and crunched the cereal on top of it. She took happy bites, making loud noises of delight as they all giggled and pretended they were normal kids for a while.
It was 10 o'clock at night and Dawn couldn't go to sleep. It was an ongoing problem with the Strongholds, who didn't seem to understand that years of waiting for Buffy and the other Scoobies to come home safe kept her wired long after her supposed bed time. Not that she was a fan of the fact that they were trying to impose a bed time on her. She was 15 and not a fan of that particular institution. She could hear Josie and Steve downstairs talking, possibly about her, when someone knocked on the door. It wouldn't have been so surprising if it hadn't been so late. Dawn chose to ignore it when she heard her uncle start arguing with someone. The smell of leather and cigarette smoke drifted through her window and Dawn was out of her bed, down the stairs and racing toward the front door in an instant. Josie pulled Steve a step back as Dawn leaped at the blond standing outside the door in full vamp face, hugging him around the neck and bursting into tears.
"What's this now Bit? These people been bad to you?" Spike demanded, his demonic visage fading back to the human. She shook her head and he let her slide down to her feet. She sniffed and wiped away her tears.
"Aunt Josie and Uncle Steve are awesome Spike," She wrapped her arms around her body with a little shiver. It wasn't cold but she was in some very short pajama shorts and a cami.
"Dawn, would you like to introduce us to this ... Spike," Dawn smiled gratefully at her aunt. The woman was trying, even though she recognized a vampire.
"Spike these are my Aunt and Uncle, Josie and Steve. Guys, this is Spike. Remember I told you about him? He used to be bad but then he switched to our side," She didn't mention the Army or the chip. She had told that part to her aunt and uncle, but Spike had said he wanted to earn his soul and she had faith that he would so she didn't bring the subject up once again.
"The dark side might have cookies, but Joyce always had hot cocoa," Spike told them with a cocky grin, holding his hand out to shake. Josie took it first. When it came to be Steve's turn Spike nodded. "You're a tough one," Spike said, clearing his throat. An elbow to the gut from Josie had Steve letting go and Spike shook his hand out and nodded to the man.
"This should be interesting," Dawn muttered to Josie as Steve clapped Spike on the back and led him into the living room to 'chat'.
"Do you think we should move the valuables?" Josie whispered back. The two women glanced at each other and giggle quietly.