Title: Breakfast at Dawn

Author: mistymidnight

Feedback: misty2080@hotmail.com  Please!!

Rating: PG

Timeline: Season one, except, this a memory of Dawn's from that time. I know in "reality" she didn't exist, but anyway…

Spoilers: Nothing…nothing at all.

Disclaimer: Don't worry Joss, here's my cell phone number and I'll have them back by ten. :-P

Dedication: To my sister and Erica, remember those endless breakfasts in bed we served and Popsicle and lemonade stands we founded? And let's not forget the failed Slushy business…

Summary: A nine-year-old Dawn wakes up early to make breakfast for her mom…really early. But not too early to start one of Joyce's 'my-daughter-has-put-me-at-the-end-of-my-rope' days.

Breakfast at Dawn

            Nine-year-old Dawn Summers snuck down the stairs of the silent house to the kitchen. She tiptoed past Mommy's room, where her mom slept, snoring loudly, and past Buffy's room, where her sister was sleeping, as usual, with the door closed. Buffy always slept with the door closed, and she never played with Dawn anymore. Dawn thought that maybe she hated Buffy.

            Dawn stood surveying the kitchen and fiddling with the sleeve of  her Barbie nightshirt. She wasn't allowed to use the stove or the oven unless Mommy or Buffy helped her, and they were both asleep. Dawn was on her own.

            A-ha! The toaster oven! Her eyes fell on the squat machine, sitting on the counter of the kitchen, which was dim with pre-dawn light. She flipped on the light. Mommy had never said not to use the toaster oven. 

Then again, a little voice in her head said, she never said you could, either. Dawn frowned at her own thought. She probably just forgot to tell me it's okay, she assured herself.

They'd just bought the toaster oven a week ago, when Buffy had complained that the pop-up toaster couldn't cook mozzarella sticks, the oven took too long, and they came out soggy in the microwave. Mommy had given in because of Dawn's adventures with a fork and the toaster, which nearly ended in disaster. She had bought the toaster oven and moved the pop-up toaster to the top of the fridge where it was "out of reach and safer for everyone". She and Buffy had shared a look as she said this, relating clearly that "everyone" was synonymous with "Dawn" in this situation.

But Dawn was especially glad now that Mom had bought the toaster oven. It could do much more than just toast…it could 'broil', whatever that meant. Well, it sounded almost like 'boil'…maybe the toaster could boil things, too! But luckily for the toaster, Dawn didn't want to boil anything. She wanted to make her mom an omelet.

She pulled the Microwave-able In Three Seconds! bacon out of the refrigerator and popped it in the microwave for 10 seconds, because she didn't bother reading directions. Her rule of thumb: Microwave for ten second and see what happens.

She had discovered, so far, that the ten-second rule did not apply to marshmallows.

Apparently, it did not apply to microwave bacon, either. Grease spit off the bacon and onto Dawn's bare arm as she opened the microwave door. Plus, the bacon would not come off the paper towel she had cooked it on. Dawn threw away the bacon and the paper towel, read the directions carefully, and put a new batch in the microwave for three seconds. She got the eggs out of the fridge, (dropping only one this time!) and made her way over to the counter, where she cracked one into a bowl and added a little mill. She's watched Buffy and Mom cook omelets enough times to have a pretty good idea of what to do. She then poured the egg into the broiling pan and shoved it into the toaster oven, trying not to let it splash onto the bottom of the toaster. She succeeded, more or less.

She stared at the settings on the toaster, then chose 275° and headed over to the fridge again to search for more breakfast foods.

She wouldn't have noticed when Buffy came in, except she heard when Buffy stopped and said, "Eeww, what is that smell?"

"Mommy's breakfast," Dawn informed her older sister in true defensive little sister form.

"It's not in the toaster is it, by any chance?"

Dawn pouted a little. "Yeah."

Buffy ran over to the toaster and shut it off before cautiously opening the door. "Cooking tip, Dawnie, if it's smoking, it's probably not cooking right." She examined the mess in the broiling pan. "Dawn, what the heck is—or should I say 'was'—this?"

"An omelet," Dawn said, near tears. "I wanted to make Mommy breakfast since she's been working so hard." Dawn finally noticed the condition her sister was in. "Why are you all wet?" she asked suspiciously. "Mommy doesn't want you at all those bad parties with grown-up—"

"I wasn't at a party," Buffy assured her sister quickly. "I was getting the newspaper and the neighbor's sprinklers went off."

Dawn stood on her tiptoes and peered out to window. "The neighbors' sprinklers aren't on."

"No, they turned off. I'm going to take a shower. Don't burn the house down."

"Hey," Dawn realized, "you don't have the newspaper."

"Oh, it wasn't here yet," Buffy said quickly. "Bye. And oh," she called over her shoulder, "if you want to make scrambled eggs, put them in a mug in the microwave for thirty seconds. That's how McDonald's does it."

"I don't need your help!" Dawn griped, but she sighed and put a new egg in  a mug, scrambled it, added a little milk, took out the bacon and put the egg in the microwave, and set the timer for thirty seconds. Meanwhile, she arranged the bacon on a plate and put it on a tray next to the bowl of Rice Krispies she had prepared for her mother. She pulled the egg out of the microwave and eyed it critically. Buffy had actually been right! The egg was the best scrambled egg she'd ever seen! She hoped it tasted as good as it looked. She put it on the tray with a glass of orange juice and tried to lift the tray. No good. Some orange juice sloshed over the edge of the tray, and the flatware all slid to one side. Dawn rearranged the plates and went in search of Buffy.

*            *            *

            She found Buffy headed to her room, toweling off her hair. "Buffy," she whined, "I need your help." She explained her dilemma to her sister.

            "Will I get credit for helping with breakfast?"

            Dawn thought it over, but only for a second. "No."

            Buffy headed for her room. "Then what's in it for me?"

            Dawn grinned slyly. "I won't tell Mommy you were out all night."

            Buffy stared at her sister. She was a pretty smart kid. "Okay, but you have to pinky-swear." For Dawn, a pinky-swear was the ultimate promise. If she broke a pinky-swear, death would be considered too kind.

            "Okay." Ha, Buffy thought. Gotcha.

            This was shaping up to be a rather nice morning.

                                                            *            *            *

            Joyce smiled at her two daughters. "Did you girls do this?"

            "Buffy helped. Not very much, though," Dawn informed her mother, climbing onto the bed. "She carried up the tray. Look, Mommy, I made eggs and Rice Krispies and juice."

            "How sweet of you!" Joyce exclaimed, feeling thankful for her two thoughtful girls. It certainly wasn't their father's genes. "Is the kitchen a mess?" she asked Dawn, a hint of warning in her voice.

            "Buffy helped a lot, actually," Dawn said to her mom. "Buffy's cleaning the kitchen."

            "I am not—" Buffy began, then caught Dawn's look. Apparently, she wasn't just satisfied with pinky-swears any more. "—going to disturb your breakfast," she finished awkwardly, backing out the door. "Have a nice breakfast, Mom." She glared at Dawn.

            "Bye, Mommy!" Dawn said to her Mom. "It's all yummy!" She ran to her room and locked the door before her sister could do anything to her.

            This was going to be a great day.

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Okay, it wasn't so much humor as light-hearted. But I felt the need to categorize it under "humor".

You like? Review!

*mistymidnight*