"Look, I got it ready for you."
"No, no." Dawn shook her head, hair tumbling down her shoulder. "I can't do it!"
With a sigh Andrew put both of his hands on her shoulder and met her gaze. "Dawnie, you can do it. Just let your inhibitions go. You are-are . . . Wonder Woman. That's who you are." He got a temporarily glazed look at the mention of his favorite super hero.
Dawn shook him off her shoulders, shocking him out of whatever fantasies he was harboring about Wonder Woman. "I can't. Just accept it. I-I'm not ready." She looked down at her hands resting in her lap. "I don't know if I'll ever be ready."
Andrew sat down next to her at the island. "Of course you are. We've been waiting our whole lives for this moment."
"I know. But don't you want it to be special? Maybe we should do this somewhere else," Dawn murmured, looking around for an escape.
"No. Buffy won't let me out of the house, and besides . . . it won't be the same. We want the hardcore stuff, and we can only get it here on this counter."
Dawn glanced at the counter. "Andrew . . ."
"Dawnie, I think I'm a pretty nice guy. I-I mean I never force you to do anything you don't want, and I basically cower at everyone's feet. But this . . ." Andrew pulled her face towards his so their eyes could lock. "This you need to do. We both need it."
Dawn bit her lip. He had made some pretty good points. Everybody else was doing it, after all. And they were ready. She straightened her shoulders as he pulled his hands off her face. "All right, Andrew. I'm ready."
Andrew let out a sigh. "Good," he said, voice back to its normal awkwardness. "I was afraid for a second there that I'd have to go all Jackie Chan on your ass."
"Jackie Chan?" Dawn snorted. "I could so beat Jackie Chan in a fight."
"Please! You couldn't even beat that lameass Rogue from the X-Men movies. And that's saying a lot because all she does is sit around and whine, and she can't even fly!"
"Yeah, yeah. We've been through that one," Dawn grumbled, reminding herself yet again not to ever think renting comic book movies to watch with Andrew would be a good idea. "All right. So . . . where do we start? How do we start?"
"You're right. We should totally get this over with." Andrew grinned at her. "Are you looking forward to it?"
"Well, kinda." Dawn wrinkled her nose. "I mean, I knew this day would come, and I've always been kinda interested . . . but . . . well, I'm just glad you're here for support. You've never done it either, right?"
Andrew quickly did the Boy Scout's honor. "Nope. We're both newbies here."
"Then let's do it together."
"Okay," Andrew agreed.
They both reached for their mugs at the same time and locked eyes yet again. "On the count of three," Dawn said.
"Three," Andrew squeaked out, and they both took huge gulps of the steaming hot liquid.
Dawn gagged and pushed the mug away. "Euk! That was disgusting!"
Andrew pushed his away, too. "Everyone else in America seems to like it."
"Yeah, and they also say not to give in to peer pressure." Dawn licked the back of her hand to get rid of the taste in her mouth. "Gross, gross, gross. What kind was that?"
"I don't know. Just the stuff in the bag by the coffee machine," Andrew said defensively.
"It's even worse than Giles' tea. Did you put sugar in it?"
"Sugar?" Andrew blinked at her. "Why would I do that?"
"Dufas!" Dawn playfully hit the back of his head. "You're s'posed to put sugar and-and cream and stuff in it. Because it tastes like that if you don't!"
"Oh . . ." Andrew blushed. "Sorry. Want to make another pot and try it again?"
"No. I think I'm done with coffee. Forever." Dawn went to the fridge and pulled out a Diet Coke. "I will never stray to another drink again. Why bother when you've got the classics?"
Andrew reached for the Diet Coke she handed him. "Yeah," he agreed, snapping open the can. "Y'know, Diet Coke is a great experience from start to finish. You've got that great hissing noise that just says, 'drink me. I taste good. And no calories either!' Know what I mean?"
Dawn swallowed and nodded quickly. "Oh, totally. And it's got that extra kick that regular Coke doesn't have, y'know. It's like you're getting all kinds of free goodies. Get it: free?" She giggled at her own joke.
"So . . . wanna watch some TV since no one's home?" Andrew asked, nodding towards the living room.
Dawn followed him, and they sat on the couch. She was tempted to get up and go get some chips, but the couch was so inviting. "What's on?"
"Well, it's four o'clock on a weekday, so . . . nothing." Andrew used the remote to flip around the channels. "Anime?"
"Not again!" Dawn looked at him in horror. He'd made her sit through two hours of anime last weekend, and she didn't know if she could ever look at cute little Pokémon the same way again. "Let's try a nice talk show, eh?"
"What, are you Canadian now?" Andrew muttered as if he was insulting her and tossed her the remote.
"Hey! Canada's cool," Dawn protested as she flipped through the channels. "And oooh! Oprah!"
Andrew jerked upwards at attention, seemed to remember he was a guy, and slunk back in his seat. "Oh, darn," he said in an attempt to sound disinterested. "Who watches this crap?"
"Oh, look. She's interviewing Anne Rice. Ever read her?"
"Of course. Lestat was my idol growing up."
"Not much of him rubbed off on you," Dawn said, glancing at him with a smirk.
"I realized a long time ago that nobody can touch Lestat's cool."
"Spike hates Anne Rice," Dawn pointed out, remembering an old conversation they'd had. "He told me that Angel and her met up at a pub one time back in the sixties or seventies or something, and that that was her inspiration to write vampire books."
"Really? That is so cool. How come I don't get to meet Angel?"
"Oh, you wouldn't want to. He's really boring and broody and-and well, he's gained some weight." Dawn shrugged. "I think that's why Spike hates Anne Rice. He always says she needed to meet a real vampire like him."
"Yeah. Spike does have a coolness that none of Anne Rice's characters could compare with," Andrew said, nodding. "Do you think she ever talks about meeting Angel?"
"Pfft! Yeah, right. Famous people don't admit that they ever met vampires. Did you know Billy Idol stole Spike's look?"
"Yeah, way. At least . . . that's what Spike says." Dawn considered that for a moment then realized that Spike had no reason to lie. "I believe him."
They settled into quiet when Oprah came back on and listened as she interviewed the author. A few times they snorted or scoffed at something the author said that was wrong.
"She obviously has no concept of the demon underworld," Andrew decided when there was another commercial break.
"I mean, what is wrong with today's society. Did you ever see the movie Lost Boys? I can't even begin to describe the things wrong with it. Vampires flying. Really!"
Andrew continued to rant, but Dawn stopped listening, just staring at him and marveling at how animated he could get over something as unimportant as an indie vampire movie she'd never heard of. A smile worked its way across her face, and she was surprised to realize that the cause of it was Andrew. This big dork who'd tried to kill her sister last year was making her smile and . . . was that a flip flop in her stomach?
"Oh, it's back on," Andrew said eagerly, turning away in mid-rant to see the program. "Damn. She's not interviewing Anne Rice anymore."
Dawn turned the TV off and ignored his cry of protest. "Andrew . . ."
Andrew stopped glaring when he heard the tone of voice she was using. "Yeah?"
"I'm glad you're here. I mean, I know everybody else is always so mean to you, and I want you to know that . . . I have fun with you." Dawn smiled at the suddenly nervous look on his face.
"Oh, um . . . yeah . . ." Andrew mumbled out a series of one syllable words at this, his cheeks turning red, and avoiding her eyes.
For some reason this amused Dawn rather than annoyed her. Looking back, they spent most of their time in a playful banter that some would consider flirting, but when she just said she liked spending time with him, he suddenly seemed so unsure of himself. "Andrew, relax. It's not a marriage proposal."
Andrew's eyes bugged out. "Wh-what?!"
"I said it's NOT a marriage proposal." Dawn rolled her eyes. "I just . . . mmm, never mind. I guess I shouldn't have-"
"No!" Andrew pushed her back down on the couch when she tried to stand up. "Just, uh . . . is this what I think this is?"
"I don't know. What do you think this is?" Dawn mentally snorted. Like she would tell him that she was telling him that she sorta kinda liked him.
"I-I don't know."
There was a long pause, then Dawn stood up again. "Well, if neither of us know, then I guess I'd better go upstairs to do my homework."
She was disappointed when she got to her room and realized he hadn't followed her. He hadn't even pretended to stop her. She winced and picked her backpack up off the floor. Okay, so that was mistake number one in her life. It was stupid of her to go on instincts anyway; she shouldn't have just blurted it out when she hadn't had very much time to think about it.
Well, now was as good a time as any, right? Dawn sat down with her math textbook and a pencil, chewing thoughtfully on the end. Maybe she liked Andrew in a more-than-hostage-slash-house-guest-polite-friendliness kind of way. First of all, nobody would be accepting. And how hard would it really be to date someone everyone had permission from Buffy to kill? Speaking of killing, he did kill his best friend. Granted Jonathon was a bit on the annoying side . . .
Dawn pulled the pencil out of her mouth when she heard someone starting up the stairs. Figuring it was Andrew, she combed her fingers through her hair, ignored the part of her that made fun of the part of her that made her do it, and tried to look alluring in a totally casual kind of way.
Andrew stood in the doorway with a pained look on his face. They stared at each other for a moment, and she found herself saddened by the loss of friendly companionship they'd shared. And it was all her fault, too. "I, uh, just wanted to see if you might need help with your homework," Andrew murmured, running a hand through his spiky hair.
It took Dawn a second to catch up with what he said, but when her mind was there, her head started bobbing in a too-eager nod. "Yeah. Totally. Math. Bad."
"What?" Andrew squinted at her.
"Yes, I need your help. You know I suck so badly at math." Dawn nodded down at the textbook on her lap. "What do you know about these annoying radicals? And why are there little numbers at the top of the Harry Potter thingy."
"The-the Harry Potter thingy?" Andrew strode forward to see. "That's a radical sign. What does it have to do with Harry Potter?"
"Oh. See, it looks like a lightning bolt." Dawn tapped it with her pencil. "Did I draw it right?"
"Yeah." Andrew grinned at her. "You're the only person I know who can demean math so casually."
"Demean it? Hey, I would kill to be compared to Harry Potter." Dawn frowned, wondering if that made her sound like a transvestite.
Andrew took the pencil from her, and she tried hard to ignore the tingle in her stomach from the contact of his hand while he went about explaining what the three meant. "You know how regular radicals are squares? Well, the three just means that it's a cube. Like, if it was twenty seven in the little box, the answer here would be three because three cubed is twenty seven."
"What does a cube have to do with anything?" Dawn groaned. There were going to be shapes? She hated shapes. They just made things more complicated.
Andrew stared at her as if not sure that she'd actually asked that. Then he suddenly started talking, words coming out so fast they practically were on top of one and other as he explained the concept of cubes.
"Oh. Like exponents?"
"Okay. So . . . like squares, but with exponents?"
"Cool! You know, in a math way, because math isn't exactly worthy of the cool I just gave it . . ." Dawn trailed off and looked back down at her notebook.
"Dawnie . . ."
"I, um . . ." Andrew scratched the back of his head. "Y'see . . . I . . ."
"Spit it out."
"Well, I might like you. In, y'know, the liking sense," Andrew said so inaudibly she almost didn't hear him. Key word: almost.
Dawn perked up. "Go on."
"What more is there to say? You-you're beautiful, and I can talk to you so freely. You don't make fun of me when I say geeky things."
"Well, isn't that just a statement to base a relationship on."
"Hey! You're being entirely unfair here. You could at least say thank you or-or tell me whether or not I'm looking even dorkier than usual." Andrew looked at her shyly. "Am I? Being dorky, I mean. Or . . . am I being all Rhett Butler?"
"In a lame, dorky way, yeah," Dawn teased. When Andrew's face fell, she caught his chin with her hand. "But who said I was interested in Rhett Butler? I think it'd be too hard to turn his head from Scarlett. But you . . ."
"Definitely don't have to turn my head," Andrew agreed quickly. "I'm only looking at you."
Dawn was caught up at the cute-factor of what he'd just said. "Keep saying things like that and I might have to kiss you."
Andrew scrunched his face up. "Damn't. You know that was a once in a lifetime thing. I'm never going to get something in that smooth again."
Dawn giggled and tilted her head towards him. He dropped his eyes to her lips once, twice, then leaned forward and caught them with his lips. She swallowed her giggles quickly because the feel of his soft, soft lips on hers and the sound of her heart thudding in her chest were putting her on a sensory overload. Thinking because such a chore.
After a few tentative seconds of just sliding their lips against each other to see how they could fit, Andrew lifted a hand to cup the back of her head. In return Dawn wrapped her arms loosely around his neck and opened her mouth on pure instinct. Then something was running over her lips, and she had enough of her head left to realize it was Andrew's tongue. Hers flitted out to tentatively stroke his, and they both groaned into each others' mouths.
Andrew pulled away and sucked in a deep breath, his lungs already heaving. "This is okay?" he asked nervously, gesturing between them with his free hand.
Dawn nodded. "Very okay, in fact. Please continue with the okay-ness."
"I'll get right on that." Andrew kissed her again, and that free hand cinched around her waist and tugged her closer. They didn't bother with the pretense of lips but plunged their tongues into the other's mouth.
Dawn's stomach was going wild, and there was this incredible heat that was building in her lower stomach. Desire, she thought offhandedly. Suddenly the crushes she'd had and the short kisses she'd shared seemed so insignificant. Nobody else had created that-that indescribable feeling that was coiling inside her.
Dawn loosened one arm and put it on his chest to push him away. This time she was the one panting, and for good reason. It had to have been a good minute before she'd taken any oxygen into her brain.
"Did I hurt you?" Andrew asked immediately, looking at her worriedly. "I'm sorry. I'm not exactly Don Juan when it comes to girls. Or-or guys for that matter."
"No, it's just . . ." Dawn trailed off, blushing. "I think we should stop before, y'know, we stop thinking clearly."
"I'm thinking very, very clearly." Andrew looked at her lips longingly.
"It's okay, Andrew. We-we're going to do this again. But . . . I mean . . . I don't know about you, but hey! Intense!"
Andrew seemed to catch on to what she was saying, and he nodded understandingly. "So . . . more, but not now."
"Yeah. Exactly." Dawn crossed her arms to keep herself from grabbing at Andrew again. So the kiss had been pretty good. Pretty damn good, actually. But she couldn't go jumping Andrew in her bedroom when they were living with, like, twenty other people. "Moreness as soon as possible." Just not when the temptation to do more was so onhand, like their being alone together in the house for at least another hour. Oh, god. Dawn quickly squashed that thought.
"I'm . . . going to go make some pie," Andrew said quickly, standing up. "You wanna help?"
Dawn stood up and chastely kissed him, resisting the urge to linger and kiss him longer. "Always. What did I tell you before?"
"We're Lois and Clark in the kitchen. But I don't see why I have to be Lois," Andrew whined as they walked out of her room.
Dawn laughed and threw him a look over her shoulder. It turned out sorta kinda dating Andrew was a lot like being friends with Andrew. No extra stress, and lots of yummy side affects. Like kissing Andrew. And the warm bubbly feeling that he'd managed to spread through her just by making out for a few minutes. Dawn wondered what would happen when they got to second base.
"So wanna try coffee again? With sugar?" Andrew asked when he spotted the two full mugs on the counter.
"I'm ready for anything," Dawn said, smiling at him.
Andrew smiled back like he couldn't believe how lucky he was.
* * * * *
Author's Notes: Well. *sighs* I didn't mean for all that to come out. I was just drinking coffee, thinking about how good it was, when I came up with the little innuendo-beginning. But once that got out, Andrew and Dawn insisted on having some kind of plotline. Then things got really cute. So cute in fact, I'm considering using this story to stuff my pillow to make it extra fluffy. Oh, well. There aren't enough Dandrew fics out there. I'm just doing my part to pullute the air a little more.
*Sorry, I had an unedited copy up. This is the one that was supposed to be up. J