Rating: NC-17 overall
A/N: Well, here it is! The next chapter and I'm sorry it took so long. Hopefully, I'll be back to regular updating, but no promises! School's starting up soon, after all. In case you've forgotten the whole thing (and I wouldn't blame you if you had) the preceding chapters can be found HERE
A/N II: Bits of dialogue taken from the BtVS S6 episode "All The Way"
“Thanks again for running over here, “ Xander said to the two girls sitting opposite him. “I can’t believe I…we fell for that old line.”
Willow smiled as she replied, “Well, it is a classic. Besides, Dawn’s safe and sound now, right?”
Xander shook his head, dislodging a few bits of leaves. Safe, yeah. Dawn was safe as she could be, upstairs and alone with one irate vampire. Sound? That might be stretching it.
“She’s pretty shook up,” he explained softly. “She had to stake him and that…it’s never easy, you know?”
Willow simply stared at him, her sweet face a mask of confusion. Xander sighed, running a hand up and over his face. The sigh ended in a groan as the goo coated his fingers.
“Shit,” he swore. “I shouldn’t have used the camo paint. More authentic, but also slightly messy and gross.”
Willow giggled into her hand, and even Tara let out a small whuff of laughter. Xander grinned in return, knowing that he must look pretty ridiculous with green and black make-up smeared across his face. He wiped his hands on his pants, since it wouldn’t stain and at least it matched.
“Why,” Willow said between giggles,” did you dress up as a soldier again?”
Xander shrugged before answering. “In case our costumes took over again. This way, I wouldn’t have a whole new set of memories to deal with.”
Willow snorted, and began giving Tara the abridged version of Halloweens past. Xander’s mind began to wander, replaying the night’s events. The sale at the Magic Box, complete with Willow mumbling angrily about oppressive stereotypes. Dawn happily bailing to spend the night at Janice’s house. A frantic phone call from Janice’s mother, which devolved into Spike calling Mrs. Penshaw a dozy cow who couldn’t find her ass with both hands. Then, the dramatic rescue which was less with the drama and more with the trauma.
“She was making out with a boy,” Xander blurted out. “A honest to goodness real live boy. Well, undead boy but still! She’d just met him and she was locking lips with him!”
Willow and Tara jumped at his small shout, and came over to sit on the floor beside him. Willow laid her head on his lap, patting his knee. Tara, her hand stretched out to interlock with Willow’s, just smiled slightly.
“It’s pretty normal,” Tara said soothingly. “She’s 15. E-experimentation is a part of growing up.”
“Yeah, “ Xander said sadly. “I know. But why does she have to grow up?”
Spike stared down at the forlorn figure on the bed, wondering how the hell he was supposed to deal with this. He’d always been on the other side of this little ménage a trois. Now, instead of being the recipient of a tasty morsel, he was rescuing them. He folded his arms, still unsure of what to say.
“Is this the part where you tell me you’re not angry,” Dawn asked dully, “just disappointed?”
“Yeah,” Spike acknowledged. “Except for that bit about not being angry. What in the bloody hell were you thinking? Going off with some random bloke for a bit of a snog like some two-bit slag. Not to mention the fact that he was a vampire.”
“Oh right,” Dawn snapped back, eyes suddenly flashing. “Pot meet the freaking kettle. How many little girls did you lure away for a bit of snog, Mr. Big Bad? Care to rate Justin’s technique for me, maybe show me how it’s done?”
Spike raised an eyebrow at her tirade. Niblet had teeth and she wasn’t afraid to sink’em in deep. Good for her, he thought. Wasn’t going to help her, but at least she’d lost that whipped puppy look.
“Vampire,” he said coolly. “Evil. Which you knew and besides the point. ‘M not the issue here.”
“Why not?” Dawn countered heatedly. “I can live with a vampire, but I can’t date one? How does that work, Spike? Huh?”
“Not likely to snap your petty neck, pet,” Spike snarled. “Not with this bloody chip in my head, and not since I promised your sis I’d watch over you. Your little toy make you the same promise? Don’t think he did. As I recall it, I caught him with his fangs down.”
Dawn seemed to fold in on herself at that statement, shrinking back onto the bed. Spike saw her fingers creep over to clutch the jacket she’d been wearing. He moved to sit next to her, eyes softening in understanding.
“Wasn’t just a bit of fun, was it?” he asked sympathetically.
Dawn shook her head. She looked at him pleadingly but her chin jutted out in defiance. Bitty Buffy to the core, he smiled to himself and the memory of that look on Buffy’s face didn’t gut him as it had only a month ago.
“He wanted to turn me,” she told him. “He wanted me forever.”
Spike rocked back a little at that announcement. He hadn’t expected that. He’d figured the Niblet had feelings for the boy, but nothing like this. It explained a helluva lot.
“I remember,” Spike began conversationally, “the night Dru found me. Was having a bit of a wallow, ponce that I was. Beatin’ my breast and crying my eyes out over some heartless bint. Seeing Dru’s face, her real one, and knowing that she wanted me…it was incredible, yeah?”
Dawn shrugged her shoulders, still lightly caressing the jacket. Spike caught a flash of movement out of the corner of his eyes. Turning slightly, he saw Xander standing in the doorway. With a nod, he turned back to Dawn.
“Made me feel powerful,” Spike continued. “To be chosen. Meant I was somebody. Important. Special.”
“I wanted that,” Dawn whispered. “I wanted to be special.”
“Oh Dawnie,” Xander rasped, eyes wide. “You are special.”
“No,” Dawn said firmly. “I’m not. I’m a thing. I’m a Key, something to be protected or fought over. But, Justin wanted ME. Not for what I could do or who my sister was, but because I was me and he liked me.”
Xander opened his mouth, but Spike just shook his head. He knew better than to try to talk Dawn around. She’d get through this in her own time.
Spike dropped a kiss onto her forehead and walked out, almost dragging Xander with him. The mulish look on Xander’s face warned him he was in for another long discussion. Bugger! He’d already missed The Great Pumpkin. Maybe if he was lucky there’d be some candy left.