Summery: Dawn, sent to LA to her father's ends up with an old couple and in Buffy's old school (where she burnt down the gymnasium) where more trouble than expected stumbles in the way of peace and quite. Dawn/Connor

Dawn had her arms crossed, a scowl on her fair face, sitting on her bed.

"Dawn..." Buffy called out softly opening Dawn's bedroom door.

Her little sister didn't answer and pretended to be more interested in the floor. Everything had gone horribly wrong.

Buffy sighed and went to sit down next to Dawn, wrapping her arm around her shoulders. "Please Dawn, I sorry it had to be this way..."

"Oh! You're sorry," Dawn snapped back, jumping up from her bed. "Then why didn't you do something! I don't want to go Dad's in LA!"

The Social Worker had come to the door this morning, so Buffy said. Dawn could imagine the exchange: "Dawn would be better with a stable financial position.... Bla bla bla...." Then it'd come the time for the small plump lady to open her small suitcase and take some papers out. "Dawn should... Dawn could... Dawn must..." Dawn gritted her teeth. Her father, she would be sent to her father's. And where had HE been most of HER life!

"I don't want to go..." Dawn repeated helplessly.

Buffy reached out, grabbed both of Dawn's hands in hers, and looked up into her little sister's face. "It doesn't really matter if you don't want to go. I really can't afford the house anymore. And Dad can get you anything you want. He adores spending money to show he loves someone."

Dawn managed a weak smile then went back to scowling. "You're going to sell the house?"

"I don't have the choice! Remember? I work in a fast food!" Buffy called out. "I don't know how Mum used to manage it..."

An uncomfortable silence fell on the two sisters, thinking of Joyce was always painful, but comforting. Dawn would see her brilliant smile and shining eyes, and replay in her mind all the wonderful moments they'd shared. Baking cakes, going shopping, and when Joyce came to kiss her goodnight and tell a story. Dawn bit her lip, but most of those memories, weren't hers.

She suddenly felt frustrated. "You don't want me!" she cried out. "I'm a burden, I've always been a burden on your shoulders!" She stepped back from Buffy hold and turned around, crossing her arms stubbornly. "Go ahead! Send me away!"

"Dawn, you know it's not like that..."

"If you really love me, you'd do anything to keep me!"

Dawn knew she was being selfish and a capricious little snot, but she was hoping that if she screamed her head off, had an almighty tantrum, stamp her feet, Buffy would try and contact her social worker again, and maybe, just maybe, she would be able to stay. But she knew it wouldn't work out that way and dissolved into to tears in Buffy's arms.

"Who's going to protect me?" she mumbled in Buffy's hair.

"I'll give you Angel's number, if there's any trouble at all, suspicions, promise me you'll phone him," Buffy said and then waited for Dawn's response.

Dawn muttered a shy yes.


And so things were settled for Dawn to move to LA. Hank Summers was in Tokyo at the moment with his "new" girlfriend, arrangements had been done over the phone, and it had been decided that she'd live with a host family until he returned, two weeks later.

There were having a supper all together before Dawn would take the bus tomorrow morning. Willow and Giles were missing, the old Observer and the witch had left for England. He had assured Buffy that Willow would follow a special therapy over there, and he'd be visit Willow as much as possible.

Xander and Anya tried to pretend they were cross against each other, not saying a word to each other. Buffy was talking about all the great places that Dawn should go in LA, but had been told not to go alone.

Who Dawn really wanted to see before leaving was Spike, but he had left and to her knowledge hadn't returned yet, if he would ever return.

She felt sad, she had really wanted to know Andrew better, and she be leaving her best friend behind.

Thinking about friends came to the painful subject of wich scoll she would be going to. Dawn had groaned when she discovered she would be at Hemery, Buffy's old school. She'd have a superb reputation as The Sister Of The Mad Girl Who Burned Down The Gymnasium. She'd already complained to Buffy, but she'd said it was the closest school to "Farmer Summers House". The joke hadn't affected Dawn and it only made scowl more, getting the attention of the Ex Avenger Demon (that was now Demon again).

"You really should stop glaring, sweetie," Anya had told her. "I have friend of mine, " -Xander looked at her way worriedly- "who doesn't have as deep wrinkles as you."

She then took Dawn's hand and slipped something else but failed miserably to discreetly whisper in her ear to throw the contents on a boy if he annoyed her too much. This finally brought out a grin on Dawn's face. She usually disliked Anya, but she recognised that she could be very cool at times.

Nearly everything was already packed upstairs in her room, and Buffy would then send more things to their father's house.

Dawn looked at each occupant of the table: Xander and Anya, still trying to ignore each other, Buffy with her perpetual sad expression. Maybe moving on was a good thing.


The bus journey had been long and boring, she'd already listened to four CDs, and already looking threw her pack for another one when she saw from her window tall buildings at a distance, then it struck her, there were on a very large motorway. She put back her CDs in her bag and waited for the near end of the trip.

It was still quite long; Los Angeles IS the biggest city in the United States, if it wasn't the largest in the world. They finally took a branch off the motorway and in to a bus stop.

When she was out, she looked about to see if the elderly couple were about. Mr and Mrs Elderberry were meant to be in their seventies. Dawn wondered if they were an eccentric couple with pink pants or a Hawaiian shirt with a lot of lack of taste. Seeing they hadn't arrived yet (the bus had been a quarter of an hour early) she went to get her rather large bag and then waited. People were embracing each other, patting backs, and kisses on the cheeks...

Dawn turned around and saw a couple walking towards the bus station. She tried to get a better look by shading her eyes from the sun. They seemed to be dressed in old fashioned clothes, from the thirties? They both had white hair (the elderly man having more or less the lack of it, the woman had hers in a bun covered by some kind of net.) They seemed to be arguing. The was holding a piece of cardboard, but it seemed he'd turned it the wrong way around for there was no name showing.

The woman had brilliant red lipstick that seemed to been sloshed on. Dawn advanced towards them, deciding to not waist time.

When she got near them they stopped arguing and looked down at her.

"Yes, dear," the woman said with a smooth voice.

"Excuse me, are you Mr and Mrs Elderberry?"

"Ain't you sweet... Yes we are," she answered with a large smile showing all her yellow teeth.

"I'm Dawn Summers..." Dawn said with a small voice, the woman must have put a lot of perfume and it was making her feel quite giddy.

"Oh!!!!!" she exclaimed. "You're so cute. Please call me Elisabeth..."

Before Dawn could say anything, she had her hand being shaken quite violently by "Elisabeth".

"And this is..." she turned to her husband.

"Mr Elderberry for you," he answered with a strict tone. He glared at her. Dawn felt uncomfortable.


First chapter. Yes, there is no Connor, yet, he comes in progressively, sorry, but it's to make the story nearly stand up straight! Why don't you REVIEW? Or get to the Next chapter (yoah! I've put up two chapters in a go!)

Guess what's wrong with the Elderberrys

by the way, thanks Claire Starling for alerting me of the symbol problem