Dawn the Vampire Slayer?
vampire hunter D and Lady Starlight - May 16 2002
Dawn stood at the closed door, listening as hard as she could. She hadn’t heard anything for what seemed like forever. She eased the door open and darted across the hall. She held her breath as she quietly opened the door to Buffy’s room.
She stood still for a moment to get her bearings. Things looked different with the lights off, and she didn’t want to trip over anything. She moved slowly to the bed and sat down on the edge. She patted one hand across the bed until she found the object she was looking for. Pulling it to her chest, she eased herself down until she was lying on the bed.
“Hi Buffy,” she whispered into the darkness. “Remember when I’d want to play with Mr. Gordo and you’d always get mad? I hope you don’t mind, at least this time I don’t want to feed him mud pies.”
“I miss you.” The half-laugh, half-sob sounded very loud in the dark room. “Bet you never thought you’d hear me say that, huh? Everything’s different now. Spike’s all ‘let’s play cards and don’t even THINK about going outside’. He owes me like a jillion dollars, but I think he’s cheating to make me feel better, ‘cause honestly, I can’t win at poker all the time. Tara feeds me. A lot. She makes pancakes for breakfast. And not from the freezer, either.”
She swiped at the tears trickling down her cheeks. “I have to go to summer school. Which really sucks, ‘cause I think Giles was going to let me work in the shop over the summer. I heard him and Anya arguing over wages; she didn’t think I was worth more than a dollar an hour. He had to explain to her about minimum wage and stuff like that. You would’ve liked it; she got all mad and stuff. Said that she got paid a turnip a day for her first job so I should be happy with actual money.”
Dawn absently stroked the plush on Mr. Gordo’s tummy. “I can’t talk to anyone about this next part. They’d just feel bad and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” She took a deep breath. “It was my fault you died. If those stupid monks hadn’t made me, you’d still be here. Why didn’t they turn me into a, a book or something. Dumb monks.”
“But I’m being brave for you. I really am. I get up every morning and I go to stupid school and I come home and I let Tara feed me and Spike play cards with me and the only thing I want to do is stay in my room and never come out. You’d be proud, I think.” Her voice trailed off into soft sobs and she clutched Mr. Gordo even closer to her.
Tara moved quietly back into her room. Willow was sitting up in bed, looking very worried. Tara smiled at her. “I think she’s going to go to sleep now.”
“How can you be so calm about this! Buffy’s gone, Dawn’s in her old room talking to thin air, and I had to figure out a way to impersonate Buffy for Dawn’s Nazi of a counselor!”
“It’s going to be all right, sweetie.” Tara slipped under the covers and pulled Willow into a loose embrace. “I think it’s good that Dawn’s talking. After my mom died, I used to go outside and talk to her. It’s a way of staying close to the person. It’s what she needs now, it’s a good thing, really.”
“Yes, really.” They cuddled close together. Tara was almost asleep when Willow sat straight up in bed. “Goddess! I almost forgot! I still have to…”
Tara sighed softly and tugged gently on Willow’s pajama top until she was lying down again. “Sleep now, worry later. All right?”
Dawn tapped her pencil against the corner of her History textbook. She let her teacher’s voice wash over her, only half-listening to the words.
“Now, can anyone tell me what happened in 1785? Jessie?”
You know, she thought. Being kidnapped by a Hell-God should be a good excuse for missing finals. Especially in Sunnydale. She looked out the window and sighed. Giving in to the boredom that crashed over her, she raised her hand.
Dawn leaned against the thick wooden doors of the girls’ room. A part of her mind wondered absently what the builder had thought about putting in 2-inch thick steel core doors. She giggled to herself softly. Like he’d ask any questions. She pushed herself away from the door and walked over to the sinks. As she brushed her hair, she made faces at herself in the mirror, stopping only when a girl she vaguely knew stumbled into the washroom.
“Um, Claire, right? Are you okay?”
Claire raised her head and smiled weakly. “I’m fine. No worries here. Go on about your business.”
“Oh-kay.” Dawn turned back to the mirror, keeping one eye on Claire as she fumbled in her backpack and finally brought out a bottle of prescription pills. The long sleeve of her shirt almost dropped into the sink as Claire cupped some water in her palm and gulped down two of the pills. She sagged against the counter for a minute, then straightened up. She caught Dawn’s eye in the mirror and smiled. “That was a bad one.”
“What’s wrong? If, um, you don’t mind me asking.”
“Nah, it’s not a huge deal. My doctor says I’ve got anemia. He’s got me on a strict diet of hamburgers.” She held up the bottle. “These iron pills help too, but I’ve got to remember to take them and I woke up late this morning, so….”
“Glad it’s nothing too serious.” Dawn looked at her watch and stifled a yelp. “Oh, crap. Mrs. Callahan’s going to kill me.” She stuffed her brush back into her backpack and was at the door in one bound. She pulled open the heavy door, hesitated, and looked back at Claire. “Are you sure you’re going to be all right?”
Claire waved a hand at her. “Go, go. I had Callahan this year. If you take too long in the can, you get an essay to write.”
Dawn just managed to make it back to her seat before Mrs. Callahan’s internal deadline. She tried to pick up the thread of the debate, before she could be asked a question she couldn’t answer. Finally, the bell rang and she braced herself for the walk home.
The garish colours of a 7-11 sign beckoned to her, promising air-conditioned coolness and Slurpees to boot. She rummaged in the pocket of her shorts and pulled out a dollar bill. From the slightly fuzzy look to it, it had been through the laundry a couple of times. She remembered Buffy’s consternation the first time she’d been faced with doing her own laundry and had accidentally put a tube of Cherry Surprise lip gloss through the dryer. She smiled as she rubbed the dollar bill between her fingers.
Dawn was just topping off her Slurpee when she noticed a familiar voice. She jammed the lid on her cup and grabbed a straw. She slipped around the coffee station just as Kirstie and her cronies sauntered up to the Slurpee machine.
“So, Kirstie, d’ja see Claire’s arm today?”
“Yeah, and all I can say is euwww. I’d never let anyone give me hickeys like that!”
“Not even Jason?”
“Well, okay, but, god, not on my arm! Hasn’t this guy she’s seeing ever heard of ergonomic zones? Pick up a Cosmo sometime. Gawd!”
“She was sitting beside me in class today and I saw what looked like a bite mark on her arm!”
“Oh my god! That’s just gross. Hey, who’s got a buck they can lend me?” Dawn took advantage of the monetary diversion to make her way to the cashier and hand over her money.
She started for home again, still shaking her head over ‘ergonomic zones’.
“How was school?” Tara poked her head out from the kitchen.
“Good, I guess.” Dawn slung her backpack as far as she could up the stairs.
“Hey! Watch the woodwork. Not like it grows on, uh, I guess technically it does grow on trees. Never mind.”
Dawn stifled a giggle at the expression on Xander’s face.
“Right. Woodwork, trees. Got it. But couldn’t you get us a um, discount from work if anything broke?”
“All right. Who’s been letting her hang out with the larcenous vampire again? And, no, I couldn’t. Not unless you find breaking and entering amusing. Also, running with long pieces of wood? Not so much fun.”
“Okay, okay. I got it. Mental note: do not attempt to steal from building sites.”
She took in the pile of books on the coffee table. “So, what’s up for tonight?”
“Not too much. I thought I saw a big, icky demon last night on patrol, but it could’ve been a football player, I guess.” Willow was thoughtful for a minute.
“I’ve always thought that they were one and the same, Will.”
The amicable bickering followed Dawn up the stairs. She was pulling her books out in preparation for finishing her homework before dinner when a thought hit her. Why was Claire wearing long sleeves? The conversation she’d overheard in the 7-11 came back to her. Hickeys. Lots of hickeys and long sleeves. Oh crap. I bet she’s ‘dating’ a vampire. She dropped her books on the bed and flung herself at her desk. She rifled quickly through the piles of material in her bottom drawer.
“Yearbook, yearbook, where the hell did I put…ah, there you are.” She held up the brightly colored book in triumph. Flicking quickly through the pages, she found Claire’s picture. Noting the last name, she pulled her phone towards her and just barely managed to snag the directory before it fell off her bedside table.
“Rand, Rogers, ah-hah. Rolland.” She jotted down Claire’s address on a scrap of paper and shoved it into the front pocket of her shorts. That mission accomplished, she pulled her History text towards her and forced her mind back to the Revolutionary War.
Dawn held her breath as the trellis creaked slightly under her weight. Must’ve gained a couple pounds since Buffy’s birthday, I guess.
Once she was safely on the ground, she trotted quickly towards Iris Place. The last of the sunlight cast a reddish glow on the parked cars she passed. She checked her back pocket to make sure the stake hadn’t fallen out during the climb down.
She slipped behind a tarp-covered object in Claire’s driveway, prepared to wait as long as she had to. Much to her surprise, Claire opened the front door after only a couple of minute’s wait. “Bye, Mom. I’ll be home before 10, I promise.”
Dawn let her get halfway down the block before she duck-walked out from behind her cover. She stood up, wincing a little at the tingling in her feet and walked slowly after Claire. It was fairly easy to keep Claire in sight, even allowing for the half-block that she tried to keep between them.
Claire paused briefly at the gate of Eternal Rest Cemetery. She glanced quickly up and down the street, then slipped through the gate. Dawn broke into a run, not wanting to lose Claire before she could get into the cemetery.
She crossed into the cemetery and stopped, searching for Claire. A glimpse of movement caught her eye and she saw Claire pulling open the door to a large crypt. She ran over to the crypt, swerving to avoid a large flower arrangement still bravely blooming on a fresh grave. She circled the crypt, looking for a window. If there’s one thing I learned from listening in on the Scoobies, she thought, it’s that unless you’re super-strong, you need to check out the situation first.
Dawn gave up on the window idea after checking each wall of the crypt twice. She pulled her stake out of her jeans and crept towards the door of the crypt. It was open just wide enough for her to get through. She adjusted her grip on her stake and went inside. She froze. She was no more than a couple of feet away from the cause of Claire’s ‘anemia’.
She raised her stake, but before she could do anything, the vampire looked up at her and smiled. “Two for the price of one. I knew I liked Sunnydale for a reason.” He dropped Claire and made a grab for Dawn’s arm. She managed to evade his hand and half-stumbled against a statue of an angel. “The ladies here are so…gullible. Would you believe she actually bought the ‘Oh, I’m so tortured’ act?”
He took a step towards her. “I’m Colin, sweetcakes. And you are?”
“In really big trouble.” She dodged behind the statue.
He jumped to one side of the statue, forcing her out into the open. “Can’t argue with that. But I think I’ll call you dessert. If you don’t mind?”
She planted her feet firmly on the floor and swung the stake, hoping to connect with his chest. He batted her hand away. “Ah-ah. No playing rough, now. I’m nice to my girls.”
She kicked at his knee, remembering what Spike had said once about guys and their crotches. “I’m not your girl.” To her surprise, she actually connected. Ow. Big ow. No wonder Buffy doesn’t wear sneakers when she’s patrolling. She hopped awkwardly away from him, scanning the crypt for something she could hit him with. Her foot hit something hard and she looked down.
She swung the piece of rebar at his head, blessing her mom for letting her enroll in T-Ball when she was younger. He ducked away, but she managed to clip his shoulder a good one. The rebar was still vibrating when she yelped and dropped it, shaking her hands to try and work the tingles out.
Colin snarled and grabbed at his shoulder. “Playtime’s over.” He rushed towards her, hands outstretched. She screamed then and tried to run for the door. He caught her before she could take a step and spun her around. She felt the brush of his hair against her ear and closed her eyes.
“Still picking on little girls, I see.”
Dawn’s spirits rose at the familiar voice from behind them. The fangs drew away from her throat as he answered. “Spike. Didn’t know you were in good old Sunnydale.” They pivoted to face him. Colin tightened his hold on Dawn.
“Well, it’s like take-out. Or is it potato chips? Can’t eat just one. Besides, less chance of being staked this way.” He jiggled Dawn suggestively. “Now she might get staked….” His voice trailed off at the look of fury that settled on Spike’s face.
Spike stalked towards them. “Here’s the plan. You let her go and then I kill you. Simple, innit?” His hand shot out and he tugged roughly on her wrist.
“Now, come on, Spike. We can share. No need to get huffy.”
Dawn held her hand out at waist level. They’d practiced this move, although Spike had thought she’d need it on dates. His eyes flickered quickly down to her upraised finger, and he nodded slightly. She counted off in her head, “two, three.” On three, she drove her head back against Colin’s shoulder, startling him enough so that his grip loosened. Spike’s hand tightened on her arm and he yanked her out of harm’s way, spinning her against the wall of the crypt. She tripped over Claire’s legs and stifled a yelp of pain as she scraped her hands against the floor.
Spike drove his fist into Colin’s face, forcing him back a step. “Nobody picks on the Niblet but me. Got it?” He launched a kick at Colin’s throat, but Colin ducked the kick and grabbed Spike’s ankle, bracing his other hand behind Spike’s knee. Colin grinned as he twisted, spinning Spike in mid-air. “See, that’s your problem. You get too possessive of your food.”
Spike landed hard on the ground and lay still for a second. He reached an arm out and managed to sweep Colin off his feet. He laughed softly when Colin’s head bounced off one of the steps. “Not food, you pillock.” He rolled to his knees and pulled a stake from his duster. He knelt on Colin’s arms, pinning him to the ground. As he raised the stake over his head, he said, “Friend.”
Colin bucked upward, grabbing Spike’s ankles and twisting slightly as he did so, spilling Spike off to one side. The stake clattered off into the dark interior of the crypt. Colin grabbed a marble urn and smashed it across the small of Spike’s back. “A human friend? How the Big Bad has fallen. I remember Prague. And Rouen. You used to bathe in rivers of blood, and now you call one of them ‘friend’?” He looked around the crypt. “That’ll do.”
He walked over to a splintered coffin and wrenched a piece off. He walked back to where Spike was writhing in pain and knelt beside him, pulling his arm back for the lethal strike. His hand had just started its downward descent when pain shot through his body. He had just enough time to look down at the point of the stake protruding from his chest before he exploded into dust.
Dawn coughed a couple of times before sinking to her knees and putting her hand on Spike’s shoulder. “Ar, are you okay?”
“Course, bit. Takes more than a piece of marble to the kidneys to keep old Spikey down.” He rolled over onto his back and winced. “Let’s just…regroup for a minute, shall we?”
After a few minutes, he gingerly sat up. “What the bloody hell do you think you were doing! I’m minding my own business, then Red and Tara come bustin’ into my crypt, both of ‘em bawling their eyes out and howlin’ like bleedin’ banshees. How’s your friend?”
“Okay, I think. She’s breathing, anyways.”
He pulled his cigarettes and lighter out of a pocket and lit one. “Why didn’t you tell someone? We’dve listened to you. You’re not usually this stupid.” He blew a cloud of smoke out angrily from his nose and glared at her. Seeing her obvious distress, his voice softened a little. “You did good. Tryin’ to save your friend and all. But if you ever pull a stunt like this again, I’ll, I’ll…” His voice trailed off as he tried to think of a suitable threat.
She looked away from him. “Buffy wouldn’tve screwed up like that.”
A strong hand forced her chin around to look at him. “Maybe not. But your friend’s still kickin’, isn’t she? Chalk another one up for the white hats.” He smiled at her, then winced in pain again. “Be a love and help me up, wouldja?”
She scrambled to her feet and pulled on his outstretched hand. “Ooff. You’re heavier than you look.”
“If you’re finished making remarks about my remarkably tight, yet well-muscled body, let’s get out of here.”
They managed to maneuver Claire’s limp body out of the crypt with a minimum of cursing. Spike finished stuffing her into the back of his DeSoto and collapsed on the passenger seat with a groan of pain. He tossed the keys to Dawn, who just managed to catch them. “Guess what? Not only d’ya get the fun of fighting, you get a driving lesson too.”
He rolled his eyes over to Dawn as she started the car. “Just please tell me you’re better at this than Buffy.”
“Okay. I’m better at this than Buffy.” She hit the gas and barely managed to steer around the tombstone that jumped in front of her.
“Bloody hell! Watch the paint, Bit!”
Claire moaned weakly in the back seat. Dawn slowed to a stop under a streetlight and turned to look at her.
“What happened? Where’s Colin?” She put a hand to her throat and frowned when she saw the blood on it. “I remember now. He bit me!”
“It’s Sunnydale, Claire. You’ll fit right in.” Dawn and Spike started laughing as she steered down the dark street.
Back in the crypt, the ashes on the ground began to billow and rise up. And when Colin was whole again, he smiled and said, “Huh, it worked. So that night I spent pouring vodka down Vlad’s throat wasn’t a waste...” his voice trailed off as he caught a flicker of movement in the shadows of the crypt.
“Who are you?” He asked the figure stepping out of the shadows.
“My name is no concern of yours,” the vampire said. “You will know me as your Lord, seeing as you will soon be serving me.”
“I don’t think so,” Colin replied scornfully. “I don’t serve anybody but myself.”
“I need someone to watch this town for me. There are powers in motion, and I’m sure the Hellmouth will soon become a focus of their attention.” The vampire then grabbed Colin and slammed him against the wall. With his other hand, he withdrew an object from his pocket, saying, “You will do as you are told. What you want is irrelevant.” The vampire pressed the talisman against Colin’s chest, smiling at Colin’s howls of pain and terror.
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