Title: Fragments of a Teenage Girl's Life
Author: Diva Stardust
Pairing: Various surprise pairings.
Summary: Seventeen drabbles/vignettes about Dawn. These are things that never happened to her, things that might've happened to her, and things that might happen in the future. Titles taken from McSweeney's Lists.
Distribution: Just ask first if you want to archive this somewhere, please. I will most likely say yes!
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, FOX, etc. I'm not making any money off this.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Spikeyvamp for the beta!
Things I Learned About My Spanish Teacher during
Intensive Lessons in Which We Can Only Speak in Spanish
Dawn keeps her eyes on the door, trying to shut out the noise around her. Mrs. Garcia isn't here yet. The rest of the students are running around, throwing paper airplanes, writing obscene notes to each other on the chalkboard but Dawn sits very still. Today is supposed to be her day to be Mrs. Garcia's assistant. She's looking forward to it.
Her Spanish is getting better with Spike's help. Turns out he knows a ton of languages, Spanish being one of them. His help always lasts longer than it should because with every word or sentence that rolls off his tongue there's a story to go along with it. Bar fights in Mexico that he says he always won, of course. Dancing exotic dances with Drusilla under a bed of stars, a rose in her hair. Blood smeared on her lips as lipstick but he always leaves that part out now.
Dawn fidgets in her seat and looks at the clock. Mrs. Garcia is five minutes late. She glances at the empty seat next to her. Katie used to sit there and tease her, call her a freak and a spaz. It doesn't bother her much that she's never coming back to school. Another one of those freak accidents the school called it.
Dawn doesn't want to see the same tiny blurb in the paper about her teacher. She likes her. She's decent as far as teachers go. Fair and funny sometimes even though she makes them speak Spanish all the time. Sometimes she tells them about her non-school life too which seemed weird to Dawn at first. It was hard to wrap her mind around teachers having actual lives outside school. But now she knows she has a dog she takes for walks in the mornings, she likes watching the Home Shopping channel, and she just found out last week she's pregnant with her first child.
Everyone else is still oblivious. Big smiles on their faces while they goof off and Dawn can do nothing but sit there.
The principal comes in and says Mrs. Garcia won't be in today. She's feeling under the weather which Dawn knows is code for they can't find her.
Dawn writes down her teacher's name in her notebook. Her name placed under Katie's and her gym partner's that was missing last week. Tonight she will tell Buffy and she will go out like she does every night and try to find them. When Buffy comes home she will wash the dust off her hands and in the morning there'll be a substitute teacher until a permanent replacement is found.
Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Dawn has never actually seen her father. He's there in her memories but she knows she's never actually seen him. Back before she found out she was the Key she thought about him a lot. When she fought with Buffy she would flop down on her bed, pull her pillow up over her ears, and think about how great it would be to go live with Dad. Sure she'd miss mom but then she wouldn't have to put up with Buffy's bossy attitude anymore, either. Dawn pictured a perfect life where she would get all the attention, all the praise, all the love.
But then her mom died and he wasn't there.
And then Buffy died and he didn't even send a sorry-your-sister-died-to-save-you-and-the-world card.
There's no way to get in contact with him because he's out doing his mid-life crisis, traveling Europe with his twenty-five year old secretary thing. Dawn has stopped caring that he has forgotten about his girls but Buffy hasn't.
When Buffy's twenty-second birthday comes there is no party. There are too many other things to think about this year and Buffy herself says she doesn't want a party because Buffy parties equal badness. But Dawn notices the way Buffy eyes look when she goes through the mail and finds no card.
That night Dawn goes to Buffy's room while the rest of the house is quiet, asleep. Buffy is staring at the wall and doesn't even look at her when she sits down beside her.
Finally Buffy turns her head and there are tears in her eyes. Tears she never lets anyone see. "He forgot my birthday again," she says blankly.
"Doesn't he love us anymore?" And with those words Buffy looks so much younger than her it makes Dawn's chest hurt. She remembers a birthday of Buffy's years ago, watching a candle being lit on a cupcake.
When Dawn gently prods Buffy's head onto her lap, they both cry. But Dawn doesn't let her tears show.
Profile of Two People Who Held My Jobs Before Me
Dawn writes about those who came before her in her journal.
Not so stuffy anymore.
Has a disturbing way of making his voice sound really creepy when he gets mad.
My mentor who is way too old to be looking at Willow the way he does now.
Likes tea and is still really, really British and doesn't let you forget it.
Doesn't like talking about Ethan Rayne and will use his creepy voice on you if you mention him.
Not as old as Giles.
Definitely not as prissy as he used to be.
Doesn't shave much anymore and looks like some woman screwed him up really bad.
Says I'm too young for him even though he never actually says the words.
Sometimes looks at me like he wants to dissect me and find out what I am now.
Kissed me two nights ago and regrets it.
Still looks at me the way Spike used to look at Buffy.
Items Discovered In Boxes of My Grandmother's Things
Dawn goes through the ancient looking chests and picks out a white silk dress to wear. She holds it up with satisfaction, knowing they'll love the way she looks in it. She's their very own doll and sleeps between them in bed, both of them greedy to love and hold her as much as possible.
They're sitting like a king and queen awaiting their princess when she comes out of the bedroom.
"Ooh, Spike, doesn't our dolly look pretty tonight?"
"Pretty as a picture, my sweet." Spike pulls Dawn onto his lap and begins kissing her neck while she sighs with contentment, still feeling warm from the bellboy's blood she drank a half hour ago.
"Does dolly want to play?" Spike murmurs against her skin.
Drusilla claps her hands in glee, getting up from her chair. "There are games we haven't played yet and dolly has been very naughty today." She heads towards her room but pauses when Spike speaks.
"Now, Dru, you already played with Nibblet all day yesterday and I don't know if she's up for your kind of games today, love." He kisses Dawn's forehead and a bastardized version of his old protective look for her covers his features.
"I am so up for it!" Dawn whines. "Jeez, overprotective much?" She wiggles on Spike's lap with indignation until she feels something hard pressing against her.
"Alright then, Bit," Spike says smoothly. A smile curls at his lips. "Go get your toys from your trunk, petal." Dru makes a noise of excitement and heads for her room.
Dawn's face lights up when she remembers the special toys she saw underneath the white dress.
Not Very Scary Movies
It's strange being outside again. Outside reminds Dawn of being strapped somewhere up high while her sister falls to the ground. She hasn't been out much since then. But everyone's saying it's a good idea for her to go out somewhere for a while, just to get out of the house. Get away from the memories. As if she could ever do that. The memories aren't just in the house; they're all over the town.
But she goes with Spike to the movies anyway because that's why people go to movies, to escape. Maybe if she tries real hard and buys a tub of pocorn she'll be able to pretend her heart isn't broken.
As they approach the movie theater Dawn can see Kirsty standing outside trying to look cool. Dawn clutches Spike's hand harder and he doesn't say anything.
"Hey, Dawn. Heard about your sister …"
Dawn tunes the rest of Kirsty's words out. They're all the same. I heard about your sister, I'm so sorry. But they're not sorry. They're just glad it didn't happen to them. Dawn gives her a weak smile even though she really wants to hit her for being all fake nice, pretending that she cares. Dawn's eyelids begin to droop because she hasn't slept in so long but she keeps them propped open somehow, pretending that toothpicks are holding them up.
"So, who's this?" Kirsty stares at their interlocking hands.
A few months ago Dawn would've pretended Spike was her boyfriend. Would've showed him off to everyone while secretly thinking how cool she must look with an older, cool guy hanging out with her, holding her hand. Now she's just tired. She looks at Spike's face and he seems tired too. The only look he can muster on his face is a glare at Kirsty when a few months ago he probably would've growled at her while making idle threats about ripping her lungs out.
"This is Spike. He's my …"
Friend? Former crush? Protector? Stalker of my sister turned trustworthy ally? The guy that's helping me not fall apart right now because he's holding my hand?
"He's my … he's my Spike."
Kirsty looks like she just ate some bad Mexican food. "Uh … yeah."
Spike gives Dawn's hand a squeeze while Kirsty continues on. "Well, see you inside."
Kirsty leaves and Dawn breathes a sigh of relief. "Annoying little chit, isn't she?" Spike says.
Dawn laughs for the first time since that night but it's a hollow laugh. They make their way inside and sit way in the back. The movie is one of those big budget, crappy, the world is about to be destroyed summer action films.
Dawn sleeps through the whole thing, her head pillowed against Spike's shoulder. When the movie is over he carries her home where everyone's thankful she's gotten some rest. No one asks about the movie.
Nicknames for the Various Manners in Which A Shirt May Be Worn
There is a hole in Tara's shirt. Dawn notices this after about five minutes of sitting in the corner, curled up into a ball. Her shirt has risen up a little bit and she can see the whiteness of her tummy. She used to place her head on that stomach during the summer and listen to it make noises. Then she would tease Tara about how it sounded like she was purring like a kitten and Tara would give her one of those slow, sleepy smiles of hers. Dawn loved cuddling with Tara.
She won't be doing that ever again.
There's blood by the hole. Dawn wishes she could escape blood. It's always about the blood but she wishes just once it could be about something else. Something fun that doesn't involve death. Maybe something involving Disneyland.
Now there's only a body and it makes Dawn feel like screaming because she's thinking about Tara like that. Just like when she touched mom and Buffy said she wasn't in there. Empty.
Tara's eyes are closed and Dawn realizes that the last person who cared about her is dead. Everyone else is busy with their own problems and the one person who still made time for everyone is dead. Dawn doesn't understand this.
She doesn't understand a lot of things but she sits in the corner and stays with Tara. Tara never left her alone and now she won't leave her alone, either.
Like A Fox
Dawn knows she's sneaky and sly like a fox. She has to be or why else would no one notice what she's been doing for a year?
Opening her jewelry box all the little things she has stolen from everyone sparkle back at her. Something from everyone and every little trinket is a reminder of not being noticed. She imagines that's she in the box too, a tiny key that is of no use anymore so it's been shoved to the very back, forgotten.
One day they'll have to notice their things are missing. One day maybe they won't look at her like she's just a burden.
Dawn closes her jewelry box and hopes today is the day she gets caught.
Early Drafts of Surprise Endings
Amanda isn't really dead and will come running towards the bus any minute just like Buffy did. She'll get in beside me and we'll laugh at what a hard ass Vi's being and tease Andrew just for being Andrew like we always do.
Anya isn't really dead and will come running towards the bus any minute just like Buffy did. She'll say something like, "God, Harris, you're such a sissy! Stop your blubbering, I'm here! Now come kiss me so we can have inappropriate sex in the back of the bus." Then Xander won't have to pretend he's asleep while he quietly cries beside me.
Spike isn't really dead and will come running towards the bus any minute just like Buffy did. He'll make some joke about saving the world and we'll hug and make up somehow like we should've done a long time ago. Everything won't be like before but it'll be a start.
Everything wouldn't be perfect but they'd be here like they're supposed to be.
Strippers Who Care
Buffy ran away from home once and became a waitress.
Dawn looks at her outfit that's barely a scrap of material and sequins and knows she's always been the black sheep of the family.
A runaway at age fifteen and it's such a stupid after school special cliché that it's hard to believe it's really happening. No one's coming to her rescue this time. Buffy won't be swooping in out of nowhere with her superpowers, quipping and kicking the bad guys butts. Spike won't be growling at the leering guys outside to stop looking at his Bit.
Hard to believe it's only been a few months since she left. She'll be sixteen tomorrow and the guy who runs this strip joint out on the highway didn't even blink at how fake her fake I.D. looked.
There's another stripper next to her getting ready. She's older than her, like at least eighteen and looks a little bit like Buffy.
"Let me give you some advice, honey. Don't go home with any of the men here no matter how much money they promise you. The girl you're replacing did that last week and we found what's left of her in the dumpster."
"Okay, thanks for the heads up," Dawn says, changing into her outfit.
As Dawn makes her way to the stage she thinks maybe this place isn't too different from Sunnydale after all.
Bad Things That Will Happen When You Masturbate
There is a gift wrapped box on her bed and Dawn opens it with excitement, wondering what it could be since it's not her birthday.
When she opens the box she blushes a million shades of red and shoves it under her bed. Last week Willow forgot to knock on her door and walked in on a private moment Dawn was trying to have. Or at least that's what the Sex Ed. teacher called them at school, private moments.
She sighs and flops back down on her bed, some of her stuffed animals falling off. Willow and Tara have been trying to act like they're her parents ever since Buffy died and they'll probably be coming up here any minute to have some sort of birds and bees talk. In fact, she thinks with horror, they probably had a whole Scooby meeting about what Willow caught her doing.
Hey gang? I think we need to have a talk with Dawnie. Last night I caught her doing something …
Doing what? Does the Dawnster have some sort of double life we don't know about?
No … she was touching herself and …
Whoa! Hold it! Too much information. Don't want to know anymore.
What's the matter with that, Xander? You don't mind when I do it! In fact just last night you were …
Excuse me, but can we please get back to the Rantoff demon we were discussing before Willow interrupted me?
So, Nibblet's discovered all her female bits that make her feel good. What's the problem? Natural thing, innit?
But we should help her …
Stop right there! There's not enough water in the world to wash off all the slime and ick I'm feeling right now.
Would you be quiet, Xander? I'm just saying we should get something for her. Some kind of congratulations you're a woman present.
How about a vibrator? I have a whole catalog that sells an assortment of them in a variety of different colors, shapes, and themes.
Dawn sighs and thinks about the present under her bed.
Sometimes she really wishes she didn't have such a supportive family.
Things I Would Often Think About While At Church
Dawn steps inside the confessional.
"Um … I have a friend who's like, done some bad stuff in the past … a LOT of bad stuff."
"Has he confessed his sins?"
"No … I don't think so. But he's really sorry, you know? He's went through some big … um, life changes recently and is sort of depressed right now. I want to help him but I don't know how."
"Perhaps if you bring him to our services on Sunday …"
"I don't know if he'd come. He's sort of hard to talk to right now. Not all there or something."
"Is he mentally unstable?"
"Yeah, I guess you could say that. He talks to invisible things which *really* weirds me out but then other times he seems to know who I am. But that's even worse because then he just starts crying about what a bad man he is and how am I supposed to help him if he can't even stand to look at me?"
"Has he accepted Jesus Christ into his life as his Lord and savior?"
"What kind of question is that? I don't know. He talks about God a lot. Mostly about how God hates him because he's a thing. I found him in a little church one night where he was doing some sort of Jesus Christ Superstar impersonation. He was burned pretty bad and I said something earlier about setting him on fire but I didn't want him to do that ... to hurt himself. I didn't want that, I swear!"
"Burned from what? He didn't vandalize a church did he, young lady?"
"Nevermind, I gotta go. Thanks for your help."
I Am a Big Fan of the Following Westerns, and No, They Aren't Porn
Dawn wakes up to the sound of the TV coupled with Xander and Spike's voices arguing. She can hear cowboys and Indians, horses stampeding, and guns being fired. She vaguely remembers a Western being the only type of movie they both agreed on before her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep. Now Dawn pretends she is still asleep on the couch but she cracks her eyes open and watches the two of them argue.
They're much more fun to watch than the movie. Spike's jaw keeps clenching up real tight and it looks like a vein is going to pop in his forehead. Xander keeps bouncing up from his chair and making animated movements with his arms.
First the argument is about Buffy. About who loved her and then about who loved her more. Then about who cares the most for Dawn and who should be the one looking after her. They get in each other's faces and it looks like Spike is going to bite Xander's face off. Xander's breathing heavy like he just got done running a marathon.
Dawn's eyes open fully when she sees them lunge at each other. Not with their arms, or legs, or fangs or anything like that, but with their mouths. They're kissing like the world's about to end and she's tempted to check her stomach and make sure she's not bleeding again just in case.
It's a really strange thing to see your two former crushes kissing each other. A really, really strange thing, and it might make her a little bit jealous if she wasn't *so* over both of them. Now they're like her two big brothers who won't leave her side even when she has to go pee because they're worried she's going to go off the deep end or something.
They're still not done kissing.
It reminds Dawn of Gone with the Wind which she used to watch with mom and Buffy every year it was on TV. How Rhett and Scarlett acted like they hated each other so much but secretly wanted to kiss all the time, they just didn't want to admit it. Looking at Xander and Spike she can't quite figure out which one's Scarlett and which one's Rhett.
Suddenly the kiss stops while they look over at Dawn and she snaps her eyes back shut, pretending to be asleep. Their voices are soft and she can't tell whether they're making plans to go to Spike's crypt once Willow and Tara come home or if they're arguing again. Maybe they're doing both.
The movie is still playing and Dawn wonders if all cowboys were gay because there are hardly any women in these movies. Tomorrow she decides she'll ask Spike if there were any vampires in the old West.
Bad Sums That Equal Danger
Buffy wants Spike to be dangerous again.
Dawn heard her tell him this and saw him come back with the demon. Ever since then the fire has been back in his eyes. Ever since then he hasn't stopped looking at Dawn.
In the morning he watches her in the kitchen. Spike watches her mouth as she eats her cereal, following the spoon. He ignores the other girls who fill the room with chatter. Follows Buffy like a zombie when she tells him where to go but gives Dawn a look before he leaves the room. His eyes making some sort of promise she can't decipher. It doesn't matter how many languages she knows how to read nowadays, Dawn can't figure out that look.
At night he stands in the corner of the living room and watches Dawn do research. Nothing escapes his notice. Every times she turns the page of another old, musty book. Every time her hair falls in front of her face. Spike catches it all. When she looks up his eyes connect with hers and his hand wanders down to his waist, to his belt buckle. It travels lower until she'd fidgeting in her chair and he announces to the room that he has to go kill something. No one ever pays attention.
Bringing him blood makes Dawn feel as though she's walking into the lion's den. Her feet echo in the basement as she goes down the stairs and he's naked except for a sheet that covers him as he sits on his cot. When she hands him the mug some ash from his cigarette falls onto her hand. Tiny red sparks on her skin and Spike grabs her hand quickly and kisses it, licks it until the embers die.
"Did I burn you, Bit?"
"Yes," she says, her voice shaky.
Spike shifts slightly, the sheet moving along with him and she can tell he's hard.
When Spike pulls her down onto his lap Dawn doesn't know whether he's going to kiss her or kill her.
What to Say When Pretending You Grew Up Middle-Class and Not in a Housing Project in Brooklyn
My sister teaches self-defense classes. My sister trains teenage girls who kill monsters with pieces of wood.
When I was fourteen I had a crush on this older guy with an accent. He died saving the world and I never got to make amends with him.
My first kiss was pretty awkward. I killed the first guy I kissed because he was a vampire who wanted to turn me into a vampire too.
I grew up in a small town. I lived right above hell and half the kids in my school turned into monsters my sister had to kill.
I don't go back there much. I go once a year and throw flowers into a crater where my home once was.
I had a pretty normal childhood. My childhood was created by monks.
My teenage years were pretty angsty. My blood opened a portal that almost killed you. My sister closed it because we have the same blood.
I'm a pretty private person. If I told you everything about my life you'd never speak to me again because you wouldn't be able to deal with it. When you'd see me you'd look away and go back to pretending that monsters don't exist and that pretty girls aren't the only things keeping you alive.
Nicknames I've Been Called by My Family
The thing Dawn loves best about Amanda is that she doesn't have any nicknames for her. That, and the way she kisses.
All her life she's been called anything but Dawn. Sometimes she thinks everyone in the world has a meeting once a week and votes on a new nickname for her. Nibblet, Pumpkinbelly, Bit, Dawnie, Platelet, Dawnster, brat, pigeon, Buffy's little sister, the Key.
To Amanda she's just Dawn.
When everything gets too crazy in the house with all the other potentials whining about how they're going to die, and with Andrew complaining about how no one appreciates the cake he just made, that's when Dawn catches Amanda's eye across the room. No one ever notices when they leave together and go outside.
They kiss behind Spike's old stalking tree. Dawn used to spy on him spying on Buffy and wish she was kissing him by that tree. Now she knows she never wants to feel anyone's lips on hers but Amanda's. They make plans for the future. How if Amanda becomes the next Slayer Dawn will be her Watcher and they'll become the most famous team to fight evil ever. Like the Powerpuff Girls only without them being cartoons and without Dawn doing any of the actual fighting.
And they won't need some stupid name for themselves like the Scooby Gang, either. They'll just be Dawn and Amanda.
They figure if Amanda doesn't become a Slayer they'll get as far away from Sunnydale as they can. Get an apartment together, maybe in New York or Paris or someplace exciting like that. No one will ever know they were the freaks of their school and everyone will be so jealous of how totally in love they are.
The bark digs into Amanda's back and she says Dawn's name while trying to catch her breath. Dawn kisses her again before she can say anything else.
Ineffective Ways To Subdue A Jaguar
Dawn sways her hips to the sound of the radio and a shiver goes through her. It feels like ice being rubbed on the back of her neck. She turns around and finds Spike in also in the kitchen, staring at her. Her body relaxes and she gets comfortable until she remembers she still hates him and he's a fuckingrapistjerk.
"Buffy's not here," she says, arms folded across her chest. Keeps her words short and simple, strictly about Buffy because that has to be the only reason he's here.
But Spike just keeps staring at her and there's something wrong with his eyes but Dawn can't put her finger on it. He moves toward her and one minute he's slumped down low, almost hiding within himself and shuffling and then the next minute he's transformed. Sleek and predatory like an animal, moving towards her with determination and purpose. Dawn backs up into the counter.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing? Get away from me!" she squeals when he presses himself against her, moving her hair out of the way. Dawn really wishes she had Buffy's weapons that she was playing with earlier. Or a functioning brain because right now she can't remember any of the things Buffy taught her about fighting a vampire.
Spike gives her neck a kiss like he's marking a spot and Dawn closes her eyes tightly. "You don't want to do this," she whimpers, still trying to push him away.
When he presses his fangs into her all Dawn can think about is the note Buffy left about her and Willow being out late. She wonders how late is *late* and she panics thinking about how they're going to find her body and Buffy had to find mom's body and Willow will probably go all black magic evil again and she can feel the life being drained out of her. It's like when Doc cut her with the knife but with everything being sped up. And instead of Spike falling, falling, falling he's holding onto her so she won't fall and it's all so fucked up and wrong that it almost makes her want to laugh.
Everything is hazy when Spike pulls back from her neck. Dawn feels weak like a newborn kitten and can't believe she's still alive. She slumps down to the cold kitchen floor when Spike takes his hands away. Maybe everything will be okay now. Maybe Spike stopped himself because he realized Buffy is going to kick his ass up and down the street when she finds out what he did. But then Spike's crouching down low beside her and pulling her onto his lap and Dawn realizes nothing is ever going to be okay again.
Spike cuts his wrist but she refuses to open her mouth. When his eyes come into focus she realizes what's wrong with them. No one's home. Someone else is driving and that scares her more than anything.
"Spike …" she opens her mouth, trying to find him but instead he uses that opportunity to press his wrist against her mouth. "Help me," she mumbles weakly against his wrist. Still hoping she can reach him somehow.
"Be a good girl for me now," he whispers. Dawn swallows the blood that fills her mouth and he smiles a little. "There now, much better. Early one morning," he sings happily.
Once she's taken enough Spike gives her a kiss, letting his lips and tongue taste his own blood before picking her up to bury with the others.
Comments Overheard In English Class Last Week
"Well, I heard from Kim that she's sleeping with some older biker guy with tattoos."
"He doesn't have tattoos! He just wears a lot of leather. I see them all the time hanging out in the cemetery, it's really creepy."
"Have you seen him naked?"
"Then how do you know he doesn't have tattoos? He probably has really gross ones up and down his arms that proclaim his undying love for her or something."
"You guys are all full of shit. She's always hanging out in that store; you know one of those occult stores for freaks who think all that Harry Potter bullshit is real? There's this majorly old guy that runs the place; I bet she's sleeping with him."
"She's probably banging both of them."
"I heard she lives with like, a houseful of lesbians."
"No wonder she's out fucking old guys."
"I think her family's cursed."
"I'm serious. Her mom dies and then like, not even a month later her sister's dead too. Talk about spooky."
"The girl had serious issues before that. Remember when she cut herself? What the hell was that about?
"She probably got a pimple on her oh so perfect skin and couldn't bear to have anyone see her like that!"
"I bet it's because her mom found out she was fucking that biker guy and told her she couldn't see him anymore. So she figured she'd rather go out like Juliet than have their perfect, undying love torn apart."
"Will you give this undying love crap a rest?"
"Fuck off, okay? He even picks her up from school sometimes. Haven't you guys seen his car before? It's some kind of Adams Family deathmobile with black painted windows. I bet she's a devil worshipper."
"They shouldn't even let freaks like her in the building."