Title: It's Cool, B., I'm Five-By-Five

Author: mistymidnight

Rating: PG—as usual.

Disclaimer: Bow to Joss, he owns all.

Spoilers/Timeline: Most definitely season three, pre evil Faith.

Summary: Hanging out with Faith gives Dawn a new attitude…one that happens to irritate her sister to the umpteenth degree.

Author's Notes:  Requested by gidgetgirl and written during the commercial breaks of Tru Calling, so don't expect too much. :-)

            The songs are by Green Day, I have no idea which CD because I don't like Green Day. My friend does, though, and I've been forced to hear it at one point or another.

It's Cool, B., I'm Five-By-Five

"Dawn!" Buffy called, walking into the library. It was past midnight on Friday, her Mom was at an art show in LA, it was night #2 of Oz's werewolf cycle, and on top of it all, Dawn's regular babysitter was out of town. Willow was sick, Xander was no where to be found—probably skipping out on werewolf guard duty—Giles was at an all-week administrative conference in San Francisco—Geez, Snyder couldn't just hold it in LA like normal principals?—Cordelia was out with her Cordettes somewhere, no doubt, and that left Faith with babysitting and guard duty while Buffy patrolled with Angel. The original plan was to drop Dawn over at Angel's, but Angel had refused, making several joyless references to "last time". Buffy was sure he was still embarrassed over the "Louie, Louie" dance Dawn had choreographed for him, although Buffy thought the dance was pretty cute when Dawn performed it for her. And Dawn lacked that whole creature-of-the-night grace, so Angel had to have performed doubly well. Unfortunately for her, Angel refused to show it to her.

"Dawnie? Faith?" She searched the library and made a quick inventory. Books, check. Tranquilizer gun, check. Bodies, no check, a big grateful sigh there. But also in the no check department were Faith and Dawn, which couldn't exactly be called good.

"Yo, B., you're back early." Buffy whirled around at the familiar voice.

"Faith. Dawn. How nice of you to grace me with you presence."

Faith tossed her head in a devil-may-care kind of way. "Lighten up and live a little, B. Your sis sure knows how." She grinned at Dawn. "Tell her, Lil' Sis."

Dawn stuck her chin out at Buffy. "You gotta loosen up, B."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa." Buffy held up her hands. "I'm Buffy. Your sister. Not 'B'."

Dawn gave her a victorious look. "You let Faith call you B."

"That's different."

"No it isn't. B." Dawn gave her sister a defiantly triumphant look. "B. B. B. B. B."

"Give it a rest," Buffy commanded. She turned her attention to Faith. "Teaching by example? Not the way to go with Dawn."

Faith grinned. "Chill, Buffy," she said, greatly exaggerating her use of Buffy's full name. "Sis is just having fun."

"First off, she's my 'sis', and second off, it's not fun for me, it's just annoying."

Dawn shook her head sadly. "It must be awful being a stick in the mud, Buffy. I'm sorry you have to live like that."

Buffy glared. "I am not a stick in the mud."

Dawn thought for a moment. "Are so."

Buffy grabbed her sister by the wrist and all but dragged her from the library. "Night, Faith," she called over her shoulder.

"So long, B. Later, Sis."

Dawn waved her free hand. "See ya, F."

The last thing heard as the Summers girls exited the library was Buffy's puzzled, "Why would you want to be called F.?!"

                                                *            *            *

After Buffy had sent Dawn to bed and locked up the house, she dragged herself up the stairs and headed for her room. She could hardly wait to lie down on her cool, soft pillow and familiarly creaky mattress and pull up the covers…

There was a thud from behind Dawn's closed door.

"Dawn?" There was no answer. "Dawn, what are you doing in there?"

"Nothing."

"What was that noise?"

"Ummm, the house settling?"

Buffy gave Dawn's door a skeptical glance, as if it was somehow responsible for her sister's doubtful reply. "You must think I just fell off the turnip truck."

"Maybe that's what the noise was."

"Dawn, I'm coming in."

"Go ahead. See if I care."

Buffy pushed open Dawn's bedroom door and found her standing in her pajamas, a Walkman in her hand.

"What were you doing?"

"Nothing, I already told you." Dawn gave her sister a hostile look. Well, hostile for Dawn, anyway. "Why don't you just leave me alone?"

Ah, Buffy thought. So this is what it's like to raise a moody pre-teen. Mom really deserves more credit.

"Whatcha listening to, Dawnie?" she asked, crossing the bedroom and picking up the Walkman.

"Don't call me Dawnie," Dawn sulked.

Buffy picked up the CD player and took the disc out. "Green Day? Where'd you…never mind. Faith gave it to you, didn't she?" 

"Lent it to me," Dawn corrected. "Not that it's any of your business."

"Okay, okay," Buffy backed off. "I'm just saying, Mom probably won't be happy if she finds it around the house."

"Just chill."

"When you have a CD with a song called 'Ha, Ha, You're Dead', not many—"

"It's okay, B., I'm five-by-five."

Buffy groaned. "Great, now I have to listen to that twice as much."

She turned on her heel and left for her room, not to be awakened for eight more hours, when Dawn would attempt to crowd surf on her bed, for lack of a crowd. Unfortunately, she'd miss the bed.

                                                *            *            *

By the end of the next day, Buffy was ready to hand in the parenting reins to her mother the second she got back from LA. Why would anyone ever want kids? Of course, not all kids were Dawn. Thank God.

After the crowd-surfing incident, Dawn found other Faith-like ways to amuse herself. She intentionally ripped a brand new pair of jeans with a bread knife. Buffy sent her to her room for using a knife and left the jeans issue for her mother to deal with when she got home. In the meantime, however, Dawn insisted upon wearing the pants, and treated them as though they were a work of art and not just a torn piece of mass production.

After her room sentence was up, she disappeared into the bathroom for a suspiciously long time and came out donning pink and black streaks in her hair, which she accomplished by digging her two years ago's Halloween stuff out of the closet.. She also refused to wash it out, and Buffy saw no way to make her. As far as she was concerned, if Dawn didn't leave the house or answer the door, everything would be fine.

The stick-on nose ring was not mentioned, either.

"You know," Buffy said to Willow on the phone as she watched Dawn attempt to apply eyeliner, "she's not acting like Faith very much at all. Faith's hair is at least a natural color. And I don't think I've ever seen her intentionally rip her clothes."

Dawn must have heard, because she disappeared. A moment later, Buffy heard the shower running. She smiled.

Dawn re-entered, sporting wet hair and black training clothes she'd obviously taken from Buffy's room.

"Don't you think you can go around wearing my stuff," Buffy advised her sister. "You'll be in for a rude awakening."

"Oh, what the h—"

"You better not say what I think you were about to say, Dawn Summers."

Dawn gave her a look that plainly said 'don't care' and announced, "I'm going downstairs to train."

"For what, the Deadhead Convention?"

Dawn fixed her sister with a glare, but underneath it she seemed almost hurt. "There's a reason why I want to be like Faith and not you."

"And that would be?"

"You wouldn't understand, B." Dawn opened the basement door and slammed it behind her.

"Uh, Will, can I call you back?" Buffy said into the phone.

"Of course," her best friend replied.

"Thanks," Buffy said absentmindedly, turning off the phone. She walked over to the basement door, quietly opening it and peering downstairs. All was silent. There were no punching bag sounds, no exercise sounds, not even any angry sounds.

Then she heard it.

At first it sounded like gasping, shallow breathing after someone had held their breath too long. Then it lengthened out into a quiet wail. Buffy felt more than a little disturbed, and quietly shut the basement door again. She wasn't quite ready to face her little sister just yet.

She wandered aimlessly around the house and somehow ended up in Dawn's room, where the Walkman sat on the bed, paused at the beginning of one of the songs on the Green Day CD. Buffy picked it up. Maybe I'll see what the big fuss is all about.

She pushed the play button and a voice sang, "She, she screams in silence…"

Buffy pulled the headphones off, turned off the CD player, and set off for the basement. She wasn't going to let Dawn scream in silence.

                                                *            *            *

"Dawnie?" No response.

"Dawn?" She tried again. "D.?"

Still nothing.

"Look, I'm sorry, it's just…" What was it? Heck if she knew.

"I didn't know you were this upset and I just wanted to…"

"You don't have to," Dawn said tearily. "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

Dawn shrugged. "For being dumb, I guess."

Buffy reached over and hugged her little sister. "You're not dumb, Dawnie. You just got a little carried away."

"Yeah, I guess."

Buffy smiled. "I don't know about you, but I want the old Dawnie back."

Dawn nodded, wiping her eyes. "Me too." She frowned. "I don't like being like Faith. Hair dye smells and the punching bag hurt my hand."

Buffy laughed a little. "Not to break up this touching Full House moment, but you've got eyeliner all over your face."

"That's another thing I hate about being like Faith."

"That's my girl."

*********************************************************************************************

Okay, not the greatest. It was started during the Tru Calling season finale and ended during my full-blown allergy attack. I'm in a sort of writing slump from allergies, but reviews are like Dimetapp! They should make me feel way better! (At this point, though, I'm thinking reviews would be better than Dimetapp, because, ironically, the Dimetapp isn't doing much of anything.) Please be nice when you review, though, I don't want to be sick forever!!!

*mistymidnight*