Title: Hide and Seek

Author: mistymidnight

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: How many times do I have to say it? It's getting really old. Joss owns it. Not me. Joss. Remember that.

Spoilers/Timeline: Season one

Summary: Dawn hides…no one seeks. Plus, Willow and Xander have a battle of the sexes.


            Or maybe I'm just a tad bit obsessive.

            I think GG requested this story: "A game of hide-and-seek where no one finds her." Here ya go.

            Feedback, please! And while you're at it, visit my MsoNormal>            "Where's Dawn?"

            Buffy Summers looked up from her book all too gladly. She was sick of reading about the mating habits of the Grish'narq demon. "Oh, I dunno, around."

            Her best friend Willow wrinkled her forehead in worry. "She left awhile ago, Buffy. Just up and left."

            "No she didn't," Xander piped up. "She said she wanted to play hide and seek, and you gave us the 'humor her' look, Buffy, and then I started counting and she ran away."

            "You never sack...suck…seeked her?" Drat the English language and its rules.

            "I neither sack, sucked, nor seeked her," Xander confirmed, snapping his book shut and taking his feet off the table. "Should I?"

            "Nah, give it a few," Buffy said nonchalantly. "It's been quiet, at least."

            Willow's forehead was still creased. "But aren't you worried about, you know…" she deepened the creases and pointed to them.

            "Premature wrinkles?" Buffy asked. "No that's Cordelia's department."

            "Blond moment much?" Xander asked. "Think wrinkles with a side of fangs."

            "Oh." Buffy thought, then went back to a not-caring state. "Nah, it's not nightfall."

            "Not in the sense that it's nine o' clock at night!" Willow said, stressing the end of her sentence. "As in, after dark. Nightfall, past."

            Buffy sat up. "Vamps don't usually come into the school, do they?" she asked.

            "Don't look at us, you're the one who kills 'em, " Xander pointed out. "You've got the job experience. You tell us."

            Buffy sighed in an aggravated sort of way, then grabbed a stake and marched out of the library. "Dawn!!" Willow jumped up and followed her, along with Xander. "If she gets herself bit, I am so dead," Buffy muttered.

            "Buffy?" Dawn sat in the janitor's closet. "This isn't funny! Unlock the door! I'm hungry!" She rattled the knob and banged on the wood. The first time she had done this, she thought up a little pun about knocking on wood, but the humor was long gone from the situation. Not fun at all.

            "BUFFY! IF YOU DON'T LET ME OUT, I'LL TELL MOM YOU LOCKED ME IN HERE!!!" Dawn paused, then added, "AND I'LL TELL HER YOU SPENT YOUR ALLOWANCE ON SHOES, EVEN WHEN SHE TOLD YOU TO PUT IT IN THE BANK!!!" Dawn was silent, breathless from the effort of yelling so loudly. "I hate you," she muttered, sitting down next to a mop in the closet. "At least I have a light," she muttered. As if on cue, the light bulb flickered rapidly and then fizzled out. "BUFFY!!" Dawn screamed hysterically. Dawn hated the dark. "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!"

            "Where would she go?" Willow asked as she and Buffy crawled on the floor of the bathroom, searching under the stalls.

            "I don't know," Buffy answered, pushing open a stall door. "Where do kids hide when they play hide and seek?"

            "Wherever they can.," Willow said. "The wilder, the better."

            "This is Sunnydale," Buffy sighed. "There are plenty of wild places to hide." She began to look more worried. "She wouldn't leave the school, would she?" she asked.

            "Nah," Xander said, opening the door and entering the bathroom. "I told her not to hide outside the school. It's kind of a hide-and-seek law. You only hide where the seeker says."

            "Next time, tell her to hide in full view of me," Buffy instructed. "And speaking of laws, what are you doing in the girls' bathroom?"

            "It's after hours," Xander said. "I figured, it's in the name of detective work…"

            "Aww, admit it," Willow said. "You wanted to see a girls' bathroom."

            "Well, uh, it's exactly the same, 'cept there's no—"

            "OO-kay!" Buffy interrupted. "Chit chat gets us nowhere. Let's go find my sister, hmm?"

            Xander was reading the writing on the wall. "Hmm, says 'Cordelia Chase is a stuck-up…' Wow. You girls are big with the verbal bullying."

            "And slander," Willow added. "Don't forget slander."

            "It's kind of a girl thing," Buffy said, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a permanent marker, which she used to cross out the writing on the wall. When she got to the little comments about herself, she crossed them out extra vigorously and scrawled, "Not true! Get a life, losers!" next to it. Looking up to see Willow and Xander's stares, she said, "What? As I Slayer I'm entitled to defend me and the rest of the world. Who says I can't accomplish it with a Sharpie instead of a stake?"

            "See, guys are big with the violence," Willow said as Buffy pocketed the marker again and the trio made their way out of the bathroom. "They're all, 'Oh, you wanna start? Meet me here at such-and-such a time and I'll kick your sorry but from here to L.A. But see, girls are, admit it, smarter and therefore don't waste time. They just go straight to the heart of the matter."

            "Ya know," Buffy said, "people'd save a lot of time if they just discussed their problems instead of fighting about them."

            Willow grinned. "Says the girl whose motto is 'There is no problem that cannot be overcome by violence.'

            "Joke," Buffy told her. "Seriously, all that time spent at the principal's office and stuff really outweighs the amount of time it would take for people to just solve their problems."

            "Buff, you're gonna be a guidance counselor someday," Xander said.

            "No way!" Buffy scoffed. "If I wanted pretty people with problems, I'd watch Beverly Hills 90210. Well, more often than I already do."

            Willow smiled and said, "Not that I'm not enjoying this lovely friendship bonding moment, but we have a Dawnie to find."

            "You're right," Buffy said, and they set off.

            Dawn was almost asleep when she heard footsteps in the hallway. "DO they hide in closets?" she heard Buffy ask.

            "BUFFY!! BUFFY, I'M IN HERE!!!" Dawn yelled.

            "Apparently," she heard Xander say dryly, and the footsteps came over to the door. There was a click as the door opened, and Dawn flew at Buffy. "I hate closets and I hate the dark and I hate hide and go seek!"

            "Good thing," Buffy said, recalling her wild goose chase, "because so do I."